Tuesday's Big East Action
December 30, 2013
By David Schwab
The end of the year on the calendar marks the start of conference play in men's college basketball. As millions of people get ready for a New Year's Eve celebration, anyone who loves wagering on the sport is getting ready for a full day of action involving a number of conference openers. This Tuesday's betting tip sheet decided to focus on a pair of key opening matchups in the new look Big East.
No. 11 Villanova Wildcats vs. Butler Bulldogs (7:30 p.m. FOX Sports 1)
After a couple of less than stellar seasons, the Wildcats have quickly established themselves as the toast of the new look Big East by reeling off 11 straight victories before falling to No. 2 Syracuse 78-62 this past Saturday as four-point road underdogs. They are now 8-2 against the spread this season and the total has gone OVER in five of the nine games.
Villanova is led by a trio of players scoring in double figures. James Bell is averaging 16.2 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds while JayVaughn Pinkston is adding another 15.3 points and five rebounds. Rounding out the group is Darrun Hilliard with an average of 13.6 points a night.
Butler kicks off its first season in the Big East with a solid 10-2 straight-up start in nonconference play. The Bulldogs have covered in six of their last seven games with a posted line to improve to 7-3 ATS on the year. The total has stayed UNDER in five of their last six outings.
Kellen Dunham and Khyle Marshall have accounted almost half of Butler's points this season with a combined 35.1 points a game. Dunham is shooting just 42 percent from the field but he has converted on 79.7 percent of his shots from the free throw line. Marshall is hitting 58.2 percent of his shots from the floor and pulling down 6.7 rebounds a game.
The Wildcats have been opened as slight 2 ½-point road favorites for Tuesday's Big East season opener.
This will be the first meeting between these two teams, but the Wildcats come in with a 19-7 record ATS in their last 26 games against a team with a SU winning record. The Bulldogs are 18-7-2 ATS in their last 27 home games against a team with a SU winning record on the road.
Marquette Golden Eagles vs. Creighton Bluejays (10 p.m. FOX Sports 1)
Marquette is another holdover from the original Big East and it brings last year's 14-4 SU record in conference play into this season's debut. The Golden Eagles have won eight of 12 nonconference games SU while covering in six of 11 contests with a posted line. The total has gone OVER in three previous road games this season.
Davante Gardner leads the team in scoring with 13.5 points a game and he is pulling down a team high 6.2 rebounds. Jamil Wilson is the only other Golden Eagle scoring in double figures with 11.7 points and Todd Mayo remains the biggest scoring threat from outside; hitting 36 percent of his shots from three-point range. Wilson remains questionable for Tuesday night with a knee injury.
Creighton makes its debut in the Big East after an impressive 10-2 SU run outside the conference this year. The Bluejays are a profitable 7-3 ATS with a 4-1 ATS mark in five previous home games. The total has stayed UNDER in four of those five home games and in seven of 10 games overall.
The Bluejays' lineup boasts one of the top players in the nation in Doug McDermott. He has carried this team so far with an average of 24.8 points and 7.3 rebounds a game while shooting 49 percent from the field and 42.3 percent from beyond the arc. Ethan Wragge is chipping in another 12.4 points and 4.1 rebounds to help the cause.
Creighton will open play in the Big East as an eight-point home favorite over the Golden Eagles.
These two last met in 1998 with Marquette winning 80-68 as a 6 ½-point home favorite. Recent trends have the Golden Eagles going 2-5-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss. Creighton is 4-0 ATS in its last four games following an ATS win. The total has gone OVER in six of Marquette's last seven games on the road.
Big East Bonus Games:
-- A few other Big East games on Tuesday's slate start off with a High Noon tip between St. John's and Xavier (-5). The Red Storm are 9-3 SU with a costly 3-7 record ATS while the Musketeers are 10-3 SU on the year with a respectable 7-4 record ATS.
-- Later in the afternoon, Seton Hall squares off against Providence (-6 ½) in a 2:30 tip. The Pirates open their Big East season with nine SU victories in 13 nonconference games and they are 5-7 ATS. The Friars are a solid 10-2 SU in their first 12 games, but just 4-6-1 ATS.
-- The third game of interest in the conference pits the DePaul Blue Demons on the road against Georgetown (-13 ½) in a 5 p.m. start. DePaul is 8-5 SU heading into Big East play with a 5-6-1 record ATS while the Hoyas have gotten off to an 8-3 SU start with an even 5-5 mark ATS.
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