Villanova – Houston: How to Bet Elite 8 March Madness 2022 – For The Win

The Elite 8 is here and we have ourselves a couple of familiar faces that are making an appearance this Saturday. Kelvin Sampson’s No. 5 seed Houston Cougars are back for the second straight year and Jay Wright’s No. 2 seed Villanova Wildcats are making an appearance for the third time since the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
So what should we expect when the two squads get together on Saturday in San Antonio for their Elite 8 matchup? Which team should you bet on making a trip to New Orleans to participate in the Final Four?
Let’s talk about it.
All odds courtesy of Tipico Sportsbook.
(Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
Houston is the favorite to win this game. It’s somewhat surprising when you factor in who its opponent is, but I can’t say that the Cougars aren’t worthy of the expectation. They quite arguably have the best defense in the nation (ask Arizona and Illinois) and have one of the best winning percentages of any team in men’s college basketball this season.
As far as the spread goes, Houston’s +16.6 average point differential is better than any team’s but Gonzaga, who was eliminated from the tournament in the Sweet 16. Basically, when the Cougars win, they win big.
Take the Cougars to cover, if you’re one who believes they’ll win. But I’m not one of those bettors who thinks Houston will advance to the Final Four (more below).
(Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
When these two teams take the court on Saturday they’ll have a lot in common — toughness, elite coaching and top-tier defenses, just to name a few. But when the teams are so identical, I tend to make it simple — who do I trust more?
The answer is Villanova. I’ve seen this Wildcat core rise to the occasion in big games for years now. I also have seen Jay Wright, over the past six years, lead his teams to two national championships.
It just feels weird to question Nova at this stage of the tournament.
Sorry Houston, I’m taking the Wildcats at the moneyline.
(Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports)
Folks, this is going to be an absolute dogfight.
Villanova has held its three NCAA Tournament opponents to an average of 58.7 points on 39.8 percent shooting. Additionally, none of its last seven opponents have topped 65 points. Needless to say that Nova is undefeated over that stretch.
Houston’s resume doesn’t look much different — holding NCAA Tournament opponents to 60.3 points and 38.1 percent shooting through three games.
But are these two defenses actually going to hold the opposing offenses to such inefficient nights? I can see something similar happening but not to that extent, and probably not to the point in which the two teams can’t combine to hit the over on the points total (128.5). That number is just too low for my liking. I’ll feel even more confident in this after a few early Collin Gillespie and Justin Moore threes drop.
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