Villanova vs St John’s Preview & Free Pick [2/17/19]

Villanova (20-5) at St John’s (18-7)
When: Sunday, February 17th, 2019
Where: Madison Square Garden,
New York, New York

Time: 5:00 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: Villanova -1.5/145.5

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The Villanova Wildcats and Marquette Golden Eagles are running away from the rest of the Big East Conference and will play each other again in a few weeks, but there’s work to be done in the meantime. Villanova has won every conference game this season except for a one-point setback at Marquette, but today’s opponent – the St. John’s Red Storm – gave them all they could handle in the first meeting back in Philadelphia. The Wildcats will look for an easier go this time around when they meet in Madison Square Garden. St. John’s led by double digits in the second half at Villanova on January 8th before the Wildcats rallied for a 76-71 win behind Phil Booth’s 23-point performance. Villanova bounced back from their setback at Marquette with an 85-67 home win against Providence and have now covered the spread in eight of their last nine games overall. St. John’s is in a third-place tie in the Big East after beating Butler 77-73 in overtime its last time out. Mustapha Heron scored a season-high 28 points in the victory for a St. John’s team that has dropped six of their last 10.

The Wildcats average 76.2 points a game and get 36.1 of that from just Booth and Eric Paschall, while Collin Gillespie is the third-leading scorer at 11.6 per contest. Booth (18.5 points) has scored at least 14 points in 15 straight games, including a 22-point effort against Providence on Wednesday. Paschall (17.6 points) did not record a turnover against the Friars for just the third time this season and was also 10-for-13 from the field for 25 points. This will be the first of three-straight road games for the Wildcats before hosting Marquette on Feb. 27.

While Villanova has two main scorers, the Red Storm spread the wealth around a bit with Shamorie Ponds (20.5) leading the way, followed by Heron (15.6), and LJ Figueroa (14.0). Marvin Clark II, who averages 11.7 per game, contributed 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting after totaling six points while shooting 2-for-10 from the field in his previous two games. Three Division I players have more blocks than the Red Storm do (75) and their frontcourt was at a huge disadvantage in the first meeting with Villanova, as St. John’s grabbed only five offensive rebounds in 35 chances. The Red Storm will travel to Providence on Wednesday for a matchup with the Friars.

St. John’s has covered the spread in each of the last 3 meetings with Villanova.

I don’t know how the Red Storm played so well against the Wildcats last month, but Villanova will be ready from the start in this one. The Wildcats are not only winning, but they’re covering the spread just about every time out.

Pick: Villanova -3

Wildcats are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 vs. Big East.
Wildcats are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
Wildcats are 40-14 ATS in their last 54 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
Wildcats are 37-14 ATS in their last 51 games following a straight up win.
Wildcats are 43-18 ATS in their last 61 games overall.
Wildcats are 37-16 ATS in their last 53 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Wildcats are 39-17 ATS in their last 56 neutral site games.
Wildcats are 46-21-1 ATS in their last 68 Sunday games.

Red Storm are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
Red Storm are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Red Storm are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games.
Red Storm are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win.

Under is 5-0 in Wildcats last 5 neutral site games.
Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 Sunday games.
Under is 4-1 in Wildcats last 5 games following a straight up win.
Under is 12-4-2 in Wildcats last 18 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
Under is 16-7-2 in Wildcats last 25 overall.

Over is 4-0 in Red Storm last 4 neutral site games.
Under is 4-1 in Red Storm last 5 overall.

Wildcats are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.