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Villanova Pittsburgh Betting – Panthers Send Seniors Out On A High Against Wildcats

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 2:04:38 AM

Sports betting players are watching the last week of the regular season, and with that, comes a round of “Senior Day” games in which there is usually a ceremony for the players who are making their final home appearance. This usually sparks the home team, and you can expect that to happen with Pittsburgh welcomes Villanova to town on Saturday in a Big East clash.

  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Saturday, March 5th, 4:00 PM ET
  • Where: Petersen Events Center, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Pick: Pitt Panthers

Why Bet On Villanova (21-9, 9-8 Big East as of Wednesday)

The Wildcats, ranked 19th in the top 25, aren’t coming into their regular-season finale with any momentum as they’ve lost three in a row, including a 21-point blowout loss at Notre Dame in their last game. Villanova is a guard-oriented group led by the senior duo of Corey Fisher (15.7 points, 5.0 assists) and Corey Stokes (14.9 points, 3.3 rebounds), along with sophomore Maalik Wayns (13.2 points, 4.7 assists). They’re usually better defending the three-point line (16th in the country) than they showed at Notre Dame, where they gave up 20 treys, and their field-goal defense (28th in the nation) is also usually better than that for Villanova.

The biggest problem for Villanova is a defense that has gotten worse over this recent three-game skid, and that’s the thing they need to improve before heading into the Big East tournament, or it’s going to end quickly for them. Their lack of a post presence outside of senior forward Antonio Pena (10.1 points, 7.4 rebounds) is coming back to haunt them. Villanova is still a very good team, but a lack of confidence, particularly on defense, may be their downfall.

Why Bet On Pitt (25-4, 13-3 Big East as of Wednesday)

The No.4 Panthers will hope to get through Wednesday’s visit to South Florida unscathed, and by winning their last two games, Pitt can win the regular-season outright for the first time since 2004. From top to bottom, you may not find a more solid team in the country than Pitt, who ranked 26th in points scored, 44th in points allowed, 25th in both field-goal percentage and field-goal defense, they’re second in rebound margin, third in assists and fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio. They were even missing junior guard Ashton Gibbs (16.3 points, 2.8 assists) for a couple games and never missed a beat. The Panthers can either go outside with Gibbs, senior guard Brad Wanamaker (12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists) or senior swingman Gilbert Brown (11.1 points, 4.4 rebounds), or they can go down low with senior center Gary McGhee (7.1 points, 7.8 boards) or junior forward Nasir Robinson (8.6 points, 5.1 rebounds).

Like a lot of teams this year, the Panthers are a poor free-throw shooting team (265th in the country) and it bit them in a 62-59 overtime loss at Louisville, as they were 11-of-20. The Panthers shot badly from the foul line in each of their four losses, and that seems to be the only thing that can stop Pitt. Also, a win over the Wildcats would do a lot for their confidence as the Panthers have dropped two of their three heading into the South Florida game.

How The Game Will Play Out

The Panthers should be the NCAA basketball betting favorites in this Big East showdown, and they’re 6-7 ATS at “The Pete” this season, while the Wildcats are 3-7 ATS away from home. Pitt has dominated Villanova at home, winning their last seven meetings SU and ATS, and the Wildcats would love to snap that streak after the Panthers became the first team to win in Philadelphia since 2007 with a 57-54 victory on February 12th. The Wildcats actually dominated that game on the glass with a 33-21 edge, but the Panthers held them to 36% from the floor and managed to score enough points without Gibbs, who will be back in the lineup for Pitt’s Senior Day. This will be the last home game for players like Brown, Wanamaker and McGhee, and we expect the Panthers to come out with plenty of emotion against the Wildcats, who seem to be in freefall. This could get ugly if the Wildcats don’t tighten up on defense, so take Pitt in your online betting picks.

Villanova Pitt Betting Pick: Pitt Panthers

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