Free Picks: Villanova Wildcats vs St. John’s Red Storm

Villanova vs St. John's NCAAB
Villanova Wildcats vs St. John’s Red Storm, NCAA, Finneran Pavilion

The No. 10 Villanova Wildcats (14-3, 9-2 Big East) haven’t lost at home. They haven’t lost much at all, frankly. But a trip to Jamaica, New York, earlier this month to face the St. John’s Red Storm (14-9, 8-8 Big East) did not end in the Wildcats’ favor. Both teams have a chance to beef up their NCAA tournament resumes — something St. John’s needs to do — in a very compelling Big East matchup on Tuesday.

What would it take for another Red Storm upset over the Wildcats?

St. John’s can confidently enter its upcoming matchup against No. 10 Villanova with one thought: we’ve beaten them before, which means we can beat them again.

Of course, that doesn’t mean the Red Storm will beat the much stronger Wildcats again, but at least there is a real reason for hope. In their Feb. 3 matchup, St. John’s earned an impressive home victory, 70-59, over a stunned Villanova squad. Now they’ll try to do it again on the road  as underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds.

Though our BetPicks prediction cannot include the exact line because it is not available at the time of publication, we figure Villanova will be favored by something in the range of 8-13 points. The Wildcats were nine-point favorites when these teams met up last time.

So, what went wrong in that game for Villanova? They fired 30 threes, which is normal for them. What isn’t normal, however, is that only eight (26.7 percent) went in. They’re accustomed to a 3-pt. clip of 37.4 percent (33rd in NCAA Division I), which would’ve nearly made up the 11-point margin they lost by.

Another anomaly is that Villanova committed 17 turnovers (24.6 percent of possessions), which far exceeds their normal turnover rate (13.4 percent, second in D-I). Is it feasible that the Wildcats will go cold with their deep shooting again, or that they’ll have another rough day on the turnover margin? Sure, but they’re too good to be expected to do both. Oh, and Villanova hasn’t lost at home since Feb. 29 of last season.

In saying that, St. John’s is not a viable play on the money line. But against the spread is a different story. Any point spread of at least 10 points is worth a stab for bettors, especially since St. John’s has covered in eight of their past 10 — including five of their past six games as the underdogs. They play fast and have a solid offense. This one should be fun.

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  • Villanova is 4-5-1 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The OVER has cashed in seven of the Wildcats’ past 10 games
  • St. John’s is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The OVER has cashed in six of the Red Storm’s past nine games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).