Villanova forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (24) shoots in front of in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
- The Creighton Bluejays seek a second straight Big East crown as they visit the Villanova Wildcats
- Both the Bluejays and Wildcats are coming off upset losses this past weekend
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends ahead of Wednesday night’s matchup at Finneran Pavilion
The battle for the top of the Big East conference standings heats up on Wednesday as the Creighton Bluejays visit the Villanova Wildcats as 3.5-point underdogs.
The Bluejays are coming off a 77-69 road loss to Xavier, but still control their own postseason destiny in the wake of Villanova’s stunning 73-61 upset loss to Butler this past Sunday.
Here’s a look at all the odds, trends, and clinching scenarios ahead of this crucial Big East matchup, set for 8:30pm ET on Wednesday night at Finneran Pavilion.
Creighton vs Villanova Odds
|Creighton Bluejays||+3.5 (-110)||+135||O 148 (-110)|
|Villanova Wildcats||-3.5 (-110)||-175||U 148 (-110)|
*Odds taken at FoxBet on 03/02/2021.
Bluejays Control Destiny
The No. 14 Creighton Bluejays’ bid to finish atop the conference standings appeared to be dashed with Saturday’s loss to the Musketeers. The loss as 4-point road favorites snapped a four-game win streak, and opened the door for Villanova to gain a clear edge in the race for first place.
The Big East standings heading into the final week of the regular season.
— Jon Nyatawa (@JonNyatawa) March 1, 2021
However, the Butler Bulldogs had other plans, rising to the occasion in Sunday’s date with the Wildcats to tally a decisive 73-61 win as 12-point home underdogs. That win tilted the scales back in favor of the Bluejays. Creighton can now clinch a second straight Big East regular season title by posting wins in Wednesday’s date with the Wildcats and Saturday’s matchup with the Bulldogs, while a victory by the Wildcats will lock up top spot for Villanova.
Creighton Enjoying Road Success
Despite this past weekend’s loss to Xavier, the Bluejays have been largely steady producers on the road this season. Creighton tallied victories in four straight away victories prior to last weekend, and sport a 7-3 record on the road this season. That success extends to road dates while pegged as underdogs.
Creighton travels to Philadelphia and ends #8 Villanova’s seven-game winning streak, 76-61. BlueJays should be back in the top 25 next week.
Denzel Mahoney: 21 PTS, 3 REB
— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) February 1, 2020
The Jays dropped a narrow 73-72 decision to Kansas in their only outing this season as road underdogs, but covered in that contest as 3.5-point dogs. That lifted the team to 6-1-1 ATS in their past eight as road underdogs, a run that has featured five outright victories, including last season’s 76-61 rout of Villanova.
Stingy D Complementing Offense
While this past weekend’s loss to Xavier is a setback, the Bluejays have otherwise played stingy defense of late. The team limited opponents to an average of less than 60 points during their recent 4-0 run, with each of those victories coming by double-digit margins.
— SportsBettingDime (@SBD) February 14, 2021
The squad has also been getting offensive contributions from across the lineup, with four Bluejays shooters reaching double-digits vs Xavier. Junior guard Marcus Zegarowski led the attack, recording his second double-double of the season.
Now pegged at No. 12 in adjusted offensive efficiency at Kenpom, Creighton also ran up the score in last month’s 86-70 road win over Villanova. Once again, it was Zegarowski leading the way with a game-high 25 points, while Christian Bishop and Damien Jefferson each tallied double-doubles.
Wildcats Aim to Bounce Back from Recent Road Woes
Now faced with the daunting task of ending their first two-game slide vs Creighton in seven years, the Wildcats return home also looking to avoid losing two in a row for the first time since February of last year. With this past weekend’s loss to Butler, No. 10 Villanova now finds itself mired in a worrisome three-game losing streak on the road.
Butler upsets (8) Villanova 73-61.
The Wildcats went 2-27 from 3-point range, posting the program’s worst 3-point FG pct (7.4%) in the Jay Wright era (since 2001-02). pic.twitter.com/AzYuseUrxw
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 28, 2021
However, the Wildcats have been dominant on home hardwood this season, compiling a perfect 8-0 record, and have covered in four of their past five. The club also sports a steady 4-1 SU and ATS record in their past five at home while favored by four or fewer points.
Robinson-Earl Key to Nova’s Success
The challenge for the Wildcats is to overcome their recent uneven performance at the sportsbooks. Fueled by the team’s three recent road losses, Villanova has now covered in just six of 12 contests, including a 4-3 ATS mark on home court, and has also gone just 2-4 ATS in six dates with Creighton.
Villanova plays with great spacing, and spacing IS offense. When Villanova shot fakes and drives, they space. When they jump stop and pivot, they cut. And, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is the best overall defender I’ve seen this season. pic.twitter.com/LTxfXuaqwA
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) February 13, 2021
One positive note has been the continued strong play of Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. The sophomore big man continues to lead the team in points per game, rebounds, steals, and blocks, and has recorded double-doubles in two of his past three outings. However, Robinson-Earl was largely contained by the Bluejays in last month’s road loss to Creighton, picking up just eight points, and has averaged just seven points and 4.3 rebounds in three all-time meetings with the Bluejays.
The Picks: Bluejays +3.5 (-110); UNDER 148 (-110)
Daniel has been writing about sports and sports betting for over 23 years. The seasoned pro has contributed to the likes of Sports Illustrated, Sportsnet, NESN, Bleacher Report, OddsShark, the Globe and Mail, and The Nation magazine.