Winthrop vs. Villanova Betting Predictions NCAA Basketball

Villanova vs Winthrop NCAA Tournament
Winthrop vs. Villanova Betting Predictions NCAA Basketball

12th seeded Winthrop takes on the No. 5 seed Villanova Friday night at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in what should be an exciting first round battle. Villanova will be without starting guard Collin Gillespie, but I expect them to get the win against a tough Winthrop squad.

Winthrop vs. Villanova Betting Odds

Villanova enters Friday’s game 16-6, having finished the regular season ranked No.18. The Wildcats lost senior guard Collin Gillespie to a sprained MCL in a March 3rd win over Creighton. Gillespie was a key part of the Wildcats offense, averaging 14.0 points and 6 assists per game this season. Gillespie has been the Wildcats starting guard for three seasons, and was a reserve on their 2018 team that won a National Championship.

Losing Gillespie was a blow for the Wildcats, greatly diminishing their chances to make a deep run in the tournament. Adding to their woes, guard Justin Moore suffered a severely sprained ankle in a 3/6 loss to Providence three days after Gillespie’s injury. Moore returned to play 27 minutes against Georgetown on 3/11 and should be a go for the tournament, though it will be tough to say if he’s at full strength.

Despite their injury issues, the Wildcats do have other players that can carry the offense. Caleb Daniels (39.6%), Cole Slider (38.0%), and Jermaine Samuels (40.3%) are all threats from 3-point range. Forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl leads the team in scoring at 15.7ppg.

Their defense has struggled this season and is vulnerable against physical teams in the paint. In 15 Big East games, they rank last in effective field goal percentage allowed, and teams are shooting 35.3% against them from 3.

Winthrop is an exciting team, entering the tournament having won seven straight and 23 of 24 overall, their lone loss of the season coming in January against NC-Asheville. Guard Chandler Vaudring can do it all for the Eagles, leading the team in points (12.2) rebounds (7.2) assists (6.9) and steals (1.3). Winthrop finished 1st in the Big South Conference and averaged 79.5 points per game this season.

The potential for an upset here is real. Winthrop is entering the tournament hot, and Villanova is battling injuries and inconsistency, finishing 5-5 in their last 10 games. I still like the Wildcats in this game, however, due to strength of schedule. Winthrop did not beat a ranked team this season and plays in a much weaker conference. Villanova coach Jay Wright has been here before (the Wildcats are making their eighth straight tournament appearance with him at the helm and won National Championships in 2016 and 2018). Winthrop has not had much success in the NCAAs. They enter Friday’s game 1-10 in tournament play and last made an appearance in 2017, losing in the first round.

The legal betting sites in New Jersey (Sugar House) have Villanova listed at -6. This doesn’t surprise me considering they are not at full strength. The total is listed at 143.5 (Sugar House), and I’d feel most comfortable taking the Over at -110 odds, with both teams putting up strong offensive performances.

Winthrop Villanova
888Sport
+210 -278
Sugar House
+235 -286
FanDuel
+220 -270

My Prediction

Villanova -6.5
Winthrop will ride their great regular-season momentum into the tournament and play the Wildcats close, but ultimately Villanova comes out on top.

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Conor Allen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he roots passionately for the 49ers, Warriors and the UC Berkeley Golden Bear football team. After previously spending several years in the Boston area he is also not ashamed to root for the Patriots. Conor currently writes about college basketball for UsaLegalBetting and blogs about a variety of sports, including the NFL at https://herecomestheblitz8.blogspot.com. He enjoys performing improv comedy and trail running in his spare time.

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