No. 2 seeds have won 10 straight meetings with No. 7 seeds, and after opening scares, the Villanova Wildcats and Connecticut Huskies renew their former Big East rivalry in an East Region matchup.
After both teams covered the point spreads in their opening games, Villanova is on a 9-3 run against the point spread as the favorite, while Connecticut has covered six of eight in tourney play.
The Wildcats have also dominated the spread against UConn over the years. And then there is the unmistakable handicapping angle of No. 2 seeds always beating No. 7 seeds (10 straight).
Spread and total points scored betting line
The Wildcats opened as 6.5-point favorites, but it was bet quickly down to 3.5. The total climbed quickly to 132.5 from 126.5. (Compare lines and consensus on the Odds Shark matchup report.)
Odds Shark computer pick
Why pick Connecticut to cover the spread
Despite the Wildcats’ against-the-spread run in this series, the Huskies closed out the annual Big East rivalry on a 4-1 run against Villanova in conference play, with those wins coming by an average of five points.
The No. 7 Huskies arrive in this round with an 11-5-1 win streak against the betting line.
Why pick Villanova to cover the spread
In Villanova’s 73-53 win over Milwaukee, the Wildcats out-rebounded the Panthers 46-37. That kind of prowess in the paint could be trouble for a Connecticut team that has struggled on the boards all year.
The Huskies rank 146th in the nation, and their leading rebounder is 6'1" Shabazz Napier. JayVaughn Pinkston averages 14.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game for the second-seeded ‘Cats and will play a major role for ‘Nova, which is on an 8-2-2 against-the-spread run in this series.
A strange trend that also favors the Wildcats is the 10-0 streak that is enjoyed by No. 2 seeds when facing No. 7 seeds.
Smart betting pick
In the end, Villanova’s advantage in the frontcourt will prove too much for UConn to handle.
The Wildcats average 11.3 offensive rebounds per game and should exceed that against the outmanned Huskies. Connecticut has lost the battle of second-chance points in seven of its eight losses this season.
Villanova will control the paint and cover the betting line to advance to the Sweet 16.
Connecticut Huskies: No. 190
Villanova Wildcats: No. 10 (per Odds Shark power ranks)
Villanova vs. UConn betting trends
- No. 2 seeds have won 10 straight vs. No. 7 seeds.
- Under is 13-2 in the past 15 UConn games.
- UConn is 2-8-2 against the spread in the past 12 games vs. Villanova.
- Villanova is 9-3 against the spread in the past 12 games as a favorite.
- UConn is 6-2 against the spread in the past eight tournament games.