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Last Updated Dec 22, 2021, 15:37 PM

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 12, 2021
Thom Cunningham
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

Sunday college hoops action sees a huge matchup between the Villanova Wildcats and the Baylor Bears. Opening tip is set for 3:00 p.m. ET and will air on ABC from the Ferrell Center in Waco, Texas.

Score Prediction

Baylor 73, Villanova 67

Best Bets

Baylor -4.5 (-110) at Westgate SuperBook

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Predictions

It's difficult to bet against Baylor is this game, with the advantage in betting and basketball numbers. Although Villanova is above .500 with a 5-4 ATS record this season, the Wildcats are just 3-3 on the road while failing to cover as the underdog this season (0-2). Villanova has covered two in a row, but so has Baylor who is playing at home with a slightly better team in terms of talent.

Baylor has covered five of eight games this season, which is just okay but still a slight edge when playing at home. Some books have also opened the line a -5-points for the Bears, so taking the -4.5 with the Vegas book is a smart bet while it lasts. Baylor has covered four of five games inside Ferrell Center as well, so the home court advantage is the big difference here.

Looking at basketball data, the points allowed from both teams might warrant an UNDER bet here. The team's combine for a slight UNDER advantage at 8-9, hardly grounds to warrant a bet with conviction. With that said, Villanova allows the 61st-fewest points per game in the country while Baylor allows the eighth-fewest. 138 is a bit murky for me, but if it climbs into 140 territory then an UNDER play is worth the take (can look at alternate lines for a comfortable price tag).

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Betting Odds

Odds Provided by Westgate SuperBook - Subject to Change

  • Villanova +4.5 (-110)
  • Baylor -4.5 (-110)
  • Over 138.5 (-110)
  • Under 138.5 (-110)

More Odds | Futures Odds

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big East vs. Big 12
  • Date: Sunday, December 12, 2021
  • Venue: Ferrell Center
  • Location: Waco, Texas
  • TV-Time: ABC - 3:00 p.m. ET

Villanova Wildcats Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-2
  • ATS: 5-4
  • O/U: 4-5

It's nice to see Collin Gillespie back and playing well for Villanova, a team riddled with experience. Gillespie is one of four Wildcats who average a double-digit point total, and Villanova's top seven scorers are all upperclassmen. Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels and Brandon Slater round out a solid core of four elite players that are largely responsible for Villanova's offensive efficiency rating that ranks sixth in the nation.

Eric Dixon also contributes on the glass, while Caleb Daniels provides buckets as well. Make no mistake, the Big East still goes through Villanova, despite Seton Hall's solid play to begin the season. The Wildcats are an elite scoring club, ranking 21st nationally in three-point percentage at 39.2%. They make 11.9 three-pointers per game, which ranks seventh in the country while attempting the 10th-most three-pointers at 30.3 per game. Bombs away when facing the Wildcats.

The two losses for Villanova came against Purdue and UCLA in overtime, so one could argue the +4.5-point spread is a bit favorable for Villanova. The Wildcats weakness, which isn't terrible but a definite setback for being an elite team in March, is the defense. The points allowed ranks 61st, so it's not terrible - but the team has given up 80 or more points to both Purdue and UCLA which is a concern if Villanova should make a theoretical run in March.

Villanova doesn't block shots, get steals or dominate the glass. They can rebound, but they're not elite in that department. The lack of blocks and forced steals also hurts turnovers, so when facing elite offensive players they tend to lose the battle. Make no mistake, Baylor is an elite offensive team - so the 6.6 steals per game that ranks 209th and the 1.7 blocks per game that ranks an atrocious 346th has to improve, especially on the road against an elite offense.

Baylor Bears Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-0
  • ATS: 5-2-1
  • O/U: 4-4

Baylor is a contender for a repeat this season, although they won't have a 'Davion Mitchell' to lean on in March. However, the statistical data is quite impressive as the Bears have a solid offense-to-defense efficiency ratio - a highly vauled stat for me when picking a National Championship contender.

Baylor scores 84 points per game while only allowed 56.4, resulting in the 15th-highest offensive efficiency rating in the country along with the third-highest on defense. Only Arizona and Houston have a higher ratio. LJ Cryer leads the team with 15.4 points per game, while Matthew Mayer is a solid shooter and rebounder for the Bears.

Rebounding belongs to Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua who averages a near double-double, while Jeremy Sochan also sees 6.1 boards per game. Four players see 4.9 boards or more per game, so second chance points will be key for Baylor to win this game as the better rebounding club. They rank 15th in offensive rebounds per game and 26th in total.

Baylor's weakness is that its guard-heavy, but that won't matter against Villanova who lacks size and rebounding. Two players to watch include James Akinjo and Kendall Brown. If either get going then Baylor is tough to beat, as Brown averages 13.4 points per game while Akinjo adds 9.9 along with 6.1 assists per game too.

Akinjo is a main reason why Baylor ranks sixth-nationally in assists per game (18.9), and leads the team in steals with 18 this season. Baylor feasts on steals, seeing 11.5 per game which ranks fourth in the nation. Five players have 10 steals already, so the defense is just as elite as the offense (high efficiency ratio).

Inside the Stats - Villanova Wildcats

  • Record: 7-2
  • VI Ranking: 6
  • PS/G: 78.2 (70th)
  • PA/G: 62 (61st)
  • ORtg: 118.7 (6th)
  • DRtg: 94.1 (131st)

Inside the Stats - Baylor Bears

  • Record: 8-0
  • VI Ranking: 2
  • PS/G: 84 (13th)
  • PA/G: 56.4 (8th)
  • ORtg: 115.9 (16th)
  • DRtg: 77.8 (3rd)

Key Players to Watch

  • NOVA: Collin Gillespie - G (17.3 ppg)
  • NOVA: Justin Moore - G (15.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
  • BAY: LJ Cryer - G (15.4 ppg)
  • BAY: Kendall Brown - G (13.4 ppg)

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Betting Conclusion

Baylor's numbers are quite impressive, and now playing at home against a weak defensive club bodes well for Baylor bettors. Villanova is more than capable of catching fire however, as the team hitting the seventh-most three-pointers per game is no mistake. Still, in a tight battle I expect Baylor to pull away with an overlooked defense that is ranked eighth-nationally in points allowed per game.

Villanova Wildcats vs. Baylor Bears Betting Trends

  • Baylor has covered the spread in four of its last five home games.
  • Villanova has failed to cover the spread in two straight games when playing as the underdog.
  • Baylor has won eight straight games.
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