Besides Gonzaga, who jumped back into the No. 1 spot in the AP top 25 poll for the third time this season, the other winners were Kentucky, who is now No. 4 behind Auburn and Arizona and has a shot at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, and Providence with the Big East leaders jumping to No. 8.
Both will be tested tonight and are actually underdogs. We take a look at both matchups and more in our NCAAB best bets for tonight in men’s college basketball.
(10) Villanova Wildcats vs. (8) Providence Friars
The Bet: Providence +4
Providence almost stumbled over the weekend, falling behind at home to DePaul before forcing overtime and winning 76-73 in the extra session for their eighth-straight victory. Villanova has won three in a row and eight of 10 after a six-point win over Seton Hall at home on Saturday.
The Friars (21-2, 11-1 Big East), who are 14-0 at home and 17-2 against teams over .500, can open up a commanding three-game lead over the Wildcats in the conference with a win. Jared Bynum, Providence’s sixth-man extraordinaire, had 25 points in the win over DePaul–after scoring 32 over Georgetown and 19 at St. John’s in his two previous efforts.
The Friars have won and covered in two of the last three meetings between the teams, including their last game against each other last March in the Big East tournament. In addition, Providence is an incredible 7-0 straight up as underdogs this year. Nova is 18-3 straight up as a favorite but is 5-6-1 against the spread on the road.
Providence’s record in games decided by 5 points or fewer is stellar, going 9-0 in that circumstance, which means that luck is bound to turn around, but with a four-point cushion tonight, even if they are on the other end of close game, they should cover the spread. And the more that they play in close games like that and keep winning, it gives them more experience to keep winning those games. The luck bubble may burst on the Friars, but we’re sticking with them until it does.
(4) Kentucky Wildcats vs. (16) Tennessee Volunteers
The Bet: Tennessee -1
Kentucky has won six-straight games, but the health of freshman TyTy Washington is in question after hobbling off the course in a 78-57 win over Florida on Saturday, and UK–as many teams do–have struggled in league games on the road in hostile environments.
The Wildcats (21-4, 10-2 SEC) lost at LSU and Auburn earlier this year, but they do own a tremendous non-conference road win at Kansas–and an 18-point win in Lawrence, at that. Oscar Tshiebwe had 27 points and 19 rebounds against the Gators. UK also won the last meeting between the teams 107-79 at Rupp Arena last month.
But Tennessee (18-6, 9-3 SEC) is a tough team to beat at home (just ask Arizona), as no team has been able to do so yet this season. In addition, the Vols–one-point favorites here–are 18-1 as the betting favorite this season. Kentucky is 2-3 as underdogs and 3-5 against the spread on the road.
While it wouldn’t shock us to see the Wildcats stay hot and fend off this challenge, this is a game where it would be no shame to lose to the home team, especially if Washington is unavailable or limited.
(22) Wyoming Cowboys vs. New Mexico Lobos
The Bet: Wyoming -6
Wyoming entered the AP top 25 at No. 22, becoming ranked for the first time since 2015. The Cowboys (21-3, 10-1 Mountain West) are on a six-game winning streak and lead the conference by a half game over Boise State and one game over Colorado State. Wyoming’s only losses are to Arizona and Stanford out of the conference and at Boise State in MWC play. They own a two-point win at home over the Lobos earlier this year.
New Mexico is on a two-game winning streak but is struggling overall this year, going 10-14 and 2-8 in league play. The Lobos covered the earlier game this year between the teams, but the Cowboys are on a 4-0-1 run against the spread in their last five games. The Cowboys are 8-2 on the road and a perfect 14-0 as the betting favorite, so they are not as prone to an upset as you might think. In addition, Wyoming is 8-2 against the spread on the road this season.
The Lobos have also been good against the spread, putting up an 8-2-1 ATS record in their last 11 games. But they are just 2-11 in their last 13 conference games, and while the two teams are both scoring 76 points per game, the Cowboys have the better defense, allowing 65 points per game compared to New Mexico’s 76. Wyoming is coming off road wins at San Jose State and Fresno State in their last three games, and we see the trend continuing here.
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