Thursday, December 08, 2022

Big East Tournament championship game: Villanova vs. Creighton betting odds and picks

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The 2022 Big East Tournament wraps up on Saturday with a championship matchup between Villanova and Creighton. The action gets underway at 6:30 pm ET at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Villanova comes in as a 6.5-point favorite with a 129.5 over/under for the game.

The No. 2 seed Wildcats survived Friday night’s semifinal battle with UConn after barely beating St. John’s in the quarterfinals. No. 4 seed Creighton, meanwhile, continued its surprising run to the title game with a 27-point shellacking of Providence last night. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup and see which side we should back. Odds are via DraftKings Sportsbook at the time of this writing.

Creighton +6.5

The Big East Tournament has been underdog central and we’re going right back to the well tonight. This conference featured plenty of tight matchups all season and the trend has continued in the Garden this past week. Underdogs are 6-3 against-the-spread (ATS) in the nine conference tournament games, and three favorites have lost outright already.

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Creighton, in particular, has been at the forefront of the underdogs covering spreads. The Bluejays won both the quarterfinal and semifinal matchups as ‘dogs’ and even earned double-digit victories in both, as well. Creighton is now 5-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games as the underdog and 4-2 ATS in the last six overall.

Vegas and the betting public continue to overlook the Bluejays, and Villanova may do the same. Even though Creighton is playing without injured starting point guard Ryan Nembhard, the rest of the roster is stepping up in his absence. One of the main strategies deployed by head coach Greg McDermott to combat Nembhard’s injury is a faster-paced offense. It has resulted in 74 and 85 points in the last two games, and the uptempo attack proved to be way too much for Providence to handle on Friday. Plus, Creighton still boasts the most efficient defense in the Big East this season and that strength has aided upset wins.

On the other side, Villanova has barely gotten by its first two opponents in this tournament and easily could have lost either game. The Wildcats needed to erase a 17-point deficit on Thursday just to beat St. John’s, and then played just good enough to earn a three-point win over UConn last night. Although they covered as favorites on Friday, the Wildcats are only 5-10 ATS in the last 15 games and 2-4 ATS in the last six.

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With arguably the best defense in the Big East and riding an offensive hot streak, Creighton should make this title game competitive throughout. Back the Bluejays to cover as the underdog trend continues.

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