Villanova vs Baylor Prediction
On Saturday March 27th at 5:15pm the Baylor Bears will be taking on the Villanova Wildcats in a Sweet 16 matchup. In this game the Baylor Bears are the #1 seed and they will be taking on the #5 seed in the Villanova Wildcats. Currently the Bears are the big favorite as the current point spread sits at +/- 7. Can Villanova recreate their past years success and make it back to the Elite Eight, but more importantly can they do enough to keep this game close and cover the spread? Keep reading our Villanova vs Baylor prediction below to see how we think each team stacks up in this game.
The #1 seed Baylor Bears enter this game Sweet Sixteen game against Villanova as (-7) point favorites after betting Hartford and Wisconsin. Those two teams weren't exactly the biggest tests for the #1 seed Baylor Bears, but this weekend they will have a real challenger in Villanova. Throughout this season Baylor has dominated until the last month of the season where they dropped a game to Kansas and lost to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 tournament. Looking at how Kansas and Oklahoma State performed in the NCAA Tournament this year you have to be a bit nervous about how the Bears will play in this game. Even zooming out to look at the Big 12 as a whole they have had a pretty rough go so far in the tournament. Baylor is the crown jewel of the Big 12 but there were moments in that Wisconsin game where it felt like they may have been in store for an upset. Ultimately it was Baylor's three point shooting that put them over the edge and extended the game further than arms reach for the Badgers. With two minutes left in the first half and Baylor leading by 10, they hit three, three pointers in a row to extend their lead to 13 and keep Wisconsin at bay and provide their team with a ton of momentum going into halftime. Baylor hit 8 three pointers in total but where they absolutely feasted was the free throw line, drawing 18 fouls and hitting 18 out 23 free throws.
In their next game against Villanova, Baylor will be facing a team that plays in a similar style as the Bears that will look to execute on their threes and get to the free throw line. We haven't seen anything notable yet from Baylor's defense but they will have to come prepared to stop a Villanova team that plays a very appealing style of college basketball. Baylor will have their hands full though because they will be trying to stop one of the most effective offenses in college basketball. Baylor's defense isn't poor in any sense but they may not be able to force as many turnovers as they are used to against the Wildcats. In their two NCAA tournament games so far Baylor has feasted on turnovers, creating 14 turnovers against Wisconsin, and 23 against Hartford. Villanova is #1 in the country at limiting turnovers and their ball security combined with their slow pace could give Baylor fits. The Bears will have to do their best to control the pace of this game and play above average perimeter defense if they hope to win, let alone cover a (-7) point spread.
In terms of the point spread in this game being a (-7) point favorite for Baylor this is a comfortable spot for them, as they were (-8) last weekend against Wisconsin and easily covered. The only issue for Bears bettors will be that Villanova is almost guaranteed to score more than the Badgers did. Wisconsin was able to put up 63 points on Baylor, where Villanova averages 75 points per game. No matter what this should be a great game but scroll down below to read the full Villanova vs. Baylor prediction and find out which way we recommend betting this game.
The #5 seed Villanova Wildcats enter this game and as huge underdogs for their Sweet Sixteen matchup against Baylor. Villanova will actually be an underdog for the first time this season when they tip off against Baylor, and they are quiet the underdog getting (+7) against the spread. Although Villanova wasn't an underdog in their first two games in the NCAA Tournament they certainly were not the consensus pick for either game. One of the most popular upset picks in brackets around the country was Winthrop to upset Villanova in the first round. Villanova was (-6) in that game and easily took care of business against Winthrop covering the spread and winning the game by 10 points. In the game against Winthrop, Villanova stuck to the game plan and hit their threes at an effective rate, got to the free throw line, and didn't commit costly turnovers. In their second game they faced another popular upset pick in North Texas. Although the public betting came around and realized Villanova wasn't as injured as the media made them out to be a large contingent of the public betting still sided with North Texas. The Mean Green stood no shot against Villanova's three point barrage and the game was never in doubt with Villanova covering the (-6) point spread and winning the game by 23 points. Villanova showed in their game against North Texas that if you are not going to guard them at the three point line they will make you pay. The Wildcats sunk 15 threes in that game and shot them at a 50% rate. Baylor will surely put up more of a fight than both Winthrop and North Texas, but this Bears team that thrives on their explosive offense is about to go head-to-head with an offense that is equally as powerful as theirs.
This game may be the highlight of the Sweet Sixteen weekend because these two teams play such a similar style of basketball. They are both looking to hit their threes at an effective rate, get to the free throw line, and continuously score to put the game out of reach, rather than running the clock out. Although Villanova vs Baylor will feature two teams that have a similar play style the main difference in these teams is their pace of play. Both Villanova and Baylor have some of the most efficient offensive games in the country but Villanova tends to hold onto the ball a bit longer. The Wildcats will often pass the ball around to find the open shooter and on average hold the ball for 18 seconds per possession. One of the biggest questions we have going into this game is if Villanova will get the luxury to pass the ball around as much as they do. Baylor has one of the highest steal rates in the country, but Villanova has some of the best ball security in the country. We have a feeling this will be a very exciting game and we can't wait for this to tip off.
As we mentioned earlier Villanova will be an underdog for the first time this season. We haven't heard much from the main stream media around this Villanova team other than their high profile injuries late in the year. The injuries haven't hurt the Wildcats yet this season, but a game against Baylor may be where the Wildcat's depth is exposed. With the spread sitting at (+7) currently for Villanova it is hard not to recommend taking the points in this game. Baylor just played a somewhat close game against a Wisconsin team that isn't very well known for their offensive prowess and this weekend in the Sweet Sixteen they will be facing one of the highest powered offenses in college basketball. We also expect the pace to be controlled by Villanova and a slower paced game means lower scoring. In an NCAA Tournament that has been dominated by underdogs and under bets, it is hard for us not to recommend backing the Wildcats in this game. Keep reading below to see our full Baylor vs Villanova prediction and find out which way our gut is telling us where to wager our money, and which way our college basketball model is betting.
Full Game Prediction
This Baylor vs. Villanova prediction is a very hard one to make as we will get to see two of the best and most efficient offenses go at in the Sweet Sixteen. Baylor has been a darling all year long and will look to keep their campaign alive against a prestigious Villanova program that hasn't gotten much love from the media or the betting public so far this year. After watching the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament we feel like Villanova has been criminally underrated, they may be without one of their best players, but their above average coaching makes them a juicy underdog to bet at (+7). Baylor on the other hand has been an absolute powerhouse all season reigning down threes and consistently getting to the free throw line. Both these teams have a similar style so we can confidently say who ever hits their threes at a higher percentage will most likely win this game. We have also seen some early line movement in this game as the point spread climbed from Baylor (-6.5) now up to Baylor (-7), which to us shows the public is piling on Baylor. Villanova has been disrespected by the public and the experts for the past week but we have faith in the Wildcats. We have a feeling this will be a close game and for that reason we are leaning towards Villanova (+7) here. Villanova may not be able to win this game outright on the moneyline, but we have faith they will do their part and keep it close enough so the Wildcats can cover the spread.