Providence Friars vs. UConn Huskies Picks, Predictions, Odds

Dec. 18, 2021
Dave Schwab
VI Betting Expert

Early conference action in the Big East this Saturday afternoon sends the Providence Friars on the road to open their schedule against the No. 20 Connecticut Huskies. The 5:00 p.m. ET tip at the XL Center in Hartford will be covered nationally by FOX.

Score Prediction

Connecticut 75, Providence 71

Best Bets

Providence +6.5 (-110) at BetMGM

Providence Friars vs. UConn Huskies Predictions

The Friars bring a solid 10-1 straight-up record into their Big East opener. They have won their last five games, including a big upset over Texas Tech as underdogs. The only loss of the season came against Virginia closing as two-point favorites. Other quality wins on the non-conference resume came against Big Ten foes Wisconsin and Northwestern as underdogs.

Connecticut has caught some national attention with its SU 9-2 record in non-conference play. Its two losses were against Michigan State and West Virginia. The Huskies just beat St. Bonaventure by 10 points closing as four-point favorites. Earlier in the year, they knocked off Auburn and VCU as two more quality wins.

Past history between these two teams leans towards the home team with a SU 8-1 record over the last nine meetings. While I do like Connecticut at home this time around, I am not overly confident the Huskies will cover. What I do look for is a higher scoring game than the total line suggests. The excitement of opening day for both Big East teams should help to drive up the final score.

Providence Friars vs. UConn Huskies Betting Odds

  • Providence +240
  • UConn -300
  • Providence +6.5 (-110)
  • UConn -6.5 (-110)
  • Over 136.5 (-110)
  • Under 136.5 (-110)

More Odds | Futures Odds

Providence Friars vs. UConn Huskies Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Big East
  • Date: Saturday, December 18, 2021
  • Venue: XL Center
  • Location: Hartford, Connecticut
  • TV-Time: FOX - 5:00 p.m. ET

Providence Friars Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 10-1
  • ATS: 7-4
  • O/U: 5-6

Providence has been able to win its last three games with a much stronger defensive effort against teams it was expected to beat. However, to get past the rival Huskies, it is going to have to ramp things up on offense. A perfect example is the 72 points scored to upset Texas Tech earlier in the month.

Overall, the Friars are averaging 70.9 points per game. They have four players scoring at least 10 points a game led by center Nate Watson with an average of 15.3. He is averaging 5.5 rebounds a game which is second after forward Noah Horchler with 8.2.

There is some concern on offense with guards’ Al Durham and Jared Bynum listed on a recent injury report. Bynum has missed playing time and Durham was nicked up in last Saturday’s win over Central Connecticut.

As a team, the Friars are shooting 45% from the field and 32.2% from three-point range. Their shooting percentage from the free throw line is 72.5%. Averaging 36.3 rebounds a game, almost 10 a game have been on offense. Providence is giving up an average of 62.3 PPG.

UConn Huskies Betting Analysis

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

  • SU: 9-2
  • ATS: 5-6
  • O/U: 7-4

Connecticut has matched its SU 9-2 start with a costly 5-6 record ATS for bettors. The stronger play has been on the total line with six of its last eight games going OVER the closing number. While the Huskies only managed to score 53 points in their three-point loss to West Virginia, that has been the exception and not the norm on a team averaging 81.8 PPG.

Guard RJ Cole has led the way on offense with 16 PPG. He is shooting 39.4% from the field while also leading the team in assists with 4.2 a game.

Injury concerns for the Huskies include forward Adama Sanogo and guard Tyrese Martin. Sanogo is the team’s second-leading scorer with 15.6 points a game. He is suffering from an abdominal injury. Averaging 12.9 points and 7.7 rebounds, Martin remains out of the lineup indefinitely with a wrist injury.

Fortunately, team depth is one of Connecticut’s strong suits with five other players averaging a combined 40 PPG. The Huskies are shooting 44.5% from the field and 35% from three-point range. They should have the edge under the boards with 42.9 rebounds a game. Defensively, Connecticut has been holding opposing teams to 62.1 PPG.

UConn has gone OVER the point total in four of its last five games. (AP)

Inside the Stats - Providence Friars

  • Record: 10-1
  • VI Ranking: 29
  • PS/G: 70.9 (206th)
  • PA/G: 62.3 (64th)
  • ORtg: 107.4 (94th)
  • DRtg: 94.4 (131st)

Inside the Stats - UConn Huskies

  • Record: 9-2
  • VI Ranking: 27
  • PS/G: 81.8 (22nd)
  • PA/G: 62.1 (62nd)
  • ORtg: 111.5 (47th)
  • DRtg: 84.6 (16th)

Key Players to Watch

  • PROV: Nate Watson - C (15.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
  • PROV: Aljami Durham - G (13.5 ppg)
  • CONN: R.J. Cole - G (16 ppg, 4.2 apg)
  • CONN: Adama Sanogo - F (15.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg)

Providence Friars vs. UConn Huskies Betting Conclusion

This should be a fun game to watch as the conference opener for both teams. Providence has the talent to keep things close deep into the second half and a SU upset is not out of the question. However, even with two key starters banged up, I would still take the Huskies in a SU money line bet.

Banking on a higher score than expected, I still see the OVER as a high value bet. The total was split last season in Connecticut’s return to the Big East with the home team winning both games SU and ATS. Going deeper back into this series, the total has gone OVER in three of the last five meetings.

Providence Friars vs. UConn Huskies Betting Trends

  • UConn has gone OVER the point total in four of its last five games.
  • Providence has covered the spread in two of its last three games away from Providence.
  • Providence has covered the spread in three straight games when playing as the underdog.
  • Providence has covered the spread in seven of its last 11 games.