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Villanova’s on a nice roll at the moment, winning nine of its last 10 games outright, eight of those by double digits, and going 7-3 against the spread.
West Virginia is also playing good money ball as of late, going 7-2 SU and 6-3 ATS over its last nine contests.
In what should be an entertaining Sweet 16 bout, the Wildcats meet the Mountaineers on Friday night in Boston.
March Madness point spread: The Wildcats opened as 4.5-point favorites; the total is at 152.5, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
March Madness betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 81.4-70.0, Wildcats (March Madness picks on every game)
Why West Virginia can cover the spread
The Mountaineers are back in the Sweet 16 for the second straight year after disposing of Murray State in the first round of this NCAA tournament 85-68 and Marshall in the second round 94-71. West Virginia covered a 10-point spread against the Racers and a 13-point spread against the Thundering Herd.
The Mountaineers trailed Marshall by seven points early but used a 19-0 run to take a 17-point lead into halftime. They later pushed that advantage to 31 and breezed home from there.
West Virginia shot 50 percent from the floor against the Herd while holding Marshall to just 39.3 percent shooting. Two days before that, the Mountaineers shot 51.6 percent against Murray State while holding the Racers to 41.2 percent shooting. West Virginia also forced 34 turnovers in those two games combined.
The Mountaineers are now 12-8 both SU and ATS this season against teams that made the NCAA tournament.
Why Villanova can cover the spread
The Wildcats, who missed the Sweet 16 last year, are back after bumping off Radford in the first round 87-61 and Alabama in the second round 81-58. Villanova covered a 22-point spread against the Highlanders and an 11-point spread against the Crimson Tide.
The Wildcats only led what was a hot Alabama outfit 32-27 at halftime but used a 24-4 run out of the locker room to take control. They later pushed that lead to 31 points on their way to the easy victory and cover.
Villanova only shot 39.7 percent from the floor against the Tide but hit 17 of 41 shots from three-point land. Two days earlier, the Wildcats hit 14 of 27 from beyond the arc against Radford. And while Villanova is known for its ability to put the ball in the hole, it’s also held each of its last 11 opponents under 50 percent shooting.
The Wildcats are now 14-3 SU and 12-5 ATS this season against teams that made the Big Dance.
Smart betting pick
Villanova shoots the three-ball like few other teams in the country, both in efficiency and volume. Meanwhile, West Virginia may play full-court defense, but it’s a bit weak at stopping the three-pointer. Smart money here bets the Wildcats.
March Madness betting trends
The total has gone under in eight of Villanova’s last 10 games against the Big 12.
Villanova is 5-1 ATS in its last six games.
West Virginia is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games against the Big East.
All college basketball odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.