Things are looking up.
This college basketball season is unlike any other. COVID protocols are ongoing, with testing and tracing becoming a routine as regular as practice.
The NCAA Tournament will be held solely in Indiana and the dates for March Madness were announced this week.
And thanks to their recent performance, two of Pennsylvania’s banner programs might be in the middle of it.
Villanova is 9-1 and ranked No. 3 in the country. And Pitt just beat basketball blue-blood Duke, improving to 8-2 and speeding toward a Top 25 ranking.
So even amidst all the challenges of an unprecedented season, the regional powers are answering the bell.
In this week’s installment of Penn Sportsbooks Pick Play, we’ll cover Pitt and Villanova’s upcoming schedules as well as some futures odds at the top PA sportsbooks.
FOX Bet has Villanova third in NCAA futures
Sometimes AP rankings don’t line up with the oddsmakers’ opinions, but everything seems to match for Villanova. The Wildcats are currently third in NCAA Futures to win the national championship at FOX Bet. Gonzaga is currently first at +350, followed by Baylor at +700 and Nova at +900. The rest of the top ten is as follows:
- Texas: +1400
- Iowa: +1500
- Wisconsin: +1500
- Tennessee: +1500
- Michigan: +1500
- Illinois: +1700
- Kansas: +2000
If you’d like to wager on some longer odds, Pitt is presently 150-1 to win the national title. The Panthers play Wake Forest in North Carolina Saturday at 6 p.m. on the ACC Network. At press time, there are no odds available, but lines should be posted in the near future.
Pitt will continue to rely heavily on sophomore forward Justin Champagnie, who scored a career-high 31 points and also added 14 rebounds and five blocks in the win over Duke.
Villanova seeks 8th straight win Saturday
In Big East action, Villanova hosts Providence Saturday at 2:30 p.m. That game is also still awaiting odds, but the spread should be posted soon.
The Wildcats have been led by senior guard Collin Gillespie, who averages 16 points per game this season.
Saturday football is over; It’s time to focus on college basketball
Sadly, college football has crowned its national champion. The NFL has only three games left. So now is the perfect time to turn your attention toward basketball which will bring an abundance of games each Saturday.
The heavy schedule is a perfect fit for parlay bets, which only need a few connected winners to enhance your returns.
This Saturday, the following top 25 teams are in action:
- No. 15 Ohio State vs. No. 10 Wisconsin
- No. 14 West Virginia vs. Kansas State
- Cincinnati vs. No. 8 Houston
- No. 9 Kansas vs. Oklahoma
- No. 23 UCONN vs. No. 11 Creighton
- No. 16 Virginia Tech vs. Syracuse
- No. 2 Baylor vs. Oklahoma State
- Maryland vs. No. 17 Minnesota
- No. 20 Clemson vs. Florida State
- No. 24 UCLA vs. Stanford
- Mississippi State vs. No. 18 Alabama
- Georgia Tech vs. No. 13 Virginia
- No. 19 Missouri vs. No. 6 Tennessee
- Pacific vs. No. 1 Gonzaga
- Oregon State vs. No. 21 Oregon
So even without football, Saturday’s schedule promises to provide plenty of action. Both of the biggest Pennsylvania programs will be playing. Other parlay options are scattered throughout the day. March Madness looms just two months away.
And if everything remains the same, both Pitt and Villanova will land somewhere inside the bracket.
Things are looking up.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum