The 6-seed Villanova Wildcats (17-16) face the 3-seed Liberty Flames (26-8) Tuesday in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament. Tip from Liberty Arena in Lynchburg, Va., is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET (ESPN2). Below, we analyze Tipico Sportsbook’s lines around the Villanova vs. Liberty odds, and make our expert college basketball picks, predictions and bets.
It was an up-and-down season for Villanova in the 1st season under the leadership of coach Kyle Neptune. However, the new coach had this team playing hard down the stretch, and Villanova really jelled as a group.
The Wildcats head on the road for this NIT game, but could easily be favored. It won its final 2 road games outright, and Villanova is a solid 7-4 ATS in the last 11 games overall.
Liberty was stunned by Kennesaw State Owls in the final seconds of the Atlantic Sun Championship. The Flames and Owls saw 9 lead changes, and 10 times the teams were tied in the title game. With just 0.7 seconds left, a shooting foul was called on Liberty’s Isiah Warfield, and the Owls took advantage with a successful free throw to snuff out the Flames.
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Villanova at Liberty odds
Provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated Monday at 11:15 p.m. ET.
- Moneyline (ML): Villanova +130 (bet $100 to win $130) | Liberty -165 (bet $165 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Villanova +3.5 (-115) | Liberty -3.5 (-105)
- Over/Under (O/U): 137.5 (O: -110 | U: -110)
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Villanova at Liberty picks and predictions
Villanova 75, Liberty 71
VILLANOVA (+130) heads down to Lynchburg looking to keep its season alive. The Wildcats won’t be fazed by a road game in front of a raucous crowd, as this team just played at Madison Square Garden in the Big East Tournament, and have been on the road in difficult environments all season.
In fact, Villanova has won its past 2 true road games, including at Xavier as a 4.5-point underdog on Feb. 21 at Cintas Center.
Liberty (-165) lost both of its games against top-flight conference teams this season by double digits, including a 36-point loss at Alabama, and a 14-point loss t Northwestern on a neutral floor.
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VILLANOVA +3.5 (-115) has managed a 5-2 ATS mark in 7 road games as an underdog this season, including the outright win at Xavier, and a near-miss earlier in the season against Michigan State. Again, ‘Nova won’t be fazed by playing at Liberty.
The Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 games after a straight-up (SU) loss, and a non-cover, too.
Liberty -3.5 (-110) is an impressive 14-2 ATS in the last 16 at home. On the other hand, the Flames are a dismal 1-6 ATS in the last 7 games against teams with a winning overall record.
OVER 137.5 (-110) is worth playing lightly.
The Over is 6-2 in the last 8 games overall for the Flames, while cashing at a 16-7 clip in the last 23 road games for the Wildcats against teams with a winning home record.
One thing to really like about Villanova if you play the Over, it is a great free-throw shooting team. During the regular season, according to covers.com, this team led the nation at 82.3%. The ‘Cats don’t leave free points on the floor.
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