College basketball free pick: Temple at Villanova

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by - 12/30/2010 3:55 PM Share

TEMPLE OWLS (9-2) at VILLANOVA WILDCATS (10-1)

Tip-off: Thursday, 7:00 p.m. EDT

Line: Villanova -6

Temple versus Villanova is a game that means different things for different YouWager.com bettors. Outside of the 215 area code, it's a duel of two Top 25 teams separated by just a few miles, each with rich basketball traditions. Inside Philadelphia, it is about bragging rights, a city series title, and for Temple an opportunity to not only settle the question of who is the best team in town, but also prove to Villanova that what took place on December 13 last year (a 75-65 Temple victory over then-No. 3 and undefeated Villanova) was not an accident.

In that upset victory at Temple's Liacouras Center, the Temple Owls guard Juan Fernandez played the game of his life, scoring 33 points while hitting on 7-of-9 three-point FG attempts. Fernandez has not been the same player this season as his scoring average (from 12.6 to 9.8) FG% (42.7 to 33.1) and three-point FG% (45.3 to 20.4) are all way down from last year. Head coach Fran Dunphy has had to turn to other avenues for offense, and has found an answer in leading scorer Ramone Moore, whose 14.9 PPG average is nearly double his 7.6 PPG output of last season. Lavoy Allen (10.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG), arguably the best big man in the A-10, leads Temple in rebounding, and will have to stay out of foul trouble if Temple is to pull out a tough road victory. At 68.1 PPG, Temple is in the bottom half of Division I rankings in team scoring (208th), but the Owls make up for that on defense. They are allowing only 58.1 PPG, and have held all but four of its opponents to under 60 points.

As online sports betting fans recall, what really made last year's loss to Temple headline-grabbing stuff in local circles was the fact that anyone in Philadelphia could actually beat Jay Wright. The Villanova head coach has won 24 of his last 26 games against Big Five opponents. Senior guard Corey Stokes has emerged into a double-digit scorer this year (15.7 PPG) to lead Villanova. In three city series games this season against Big Five competition he is averaging over 22 PPG. Corey Fisher (15.5 PPG, 4.9 APG, 1.7 SPG) leads the team in assists and steals. Maalik Wayns (12.4 PPG, 4.8 APG) might be the fastest guard on the team, but must improve on some lackluster shooting numbers (38.8 FG%, 19.5% 3-point FG) if he is to take his game to that next level.

If Villanova wins, it will extend its home winning streak at The Pavilion, a run which presently stands at 42 games. A win by Temple would give the Owls a third big non-conference win, and second over a ranked opponent this month. However, the biggest motivation for these two college basketball teams is the chance to claim for the next 12 months, that one of them is the best college basketball team in Philadelphia.

Villanova is 10-3 ATS (9-4 SU) in the past 13 series meetings, including a perfect 5-0 at home (SU and ATS). Oddsmakers give three more reasons to expect Villanova to win and cover the spread again:

Jay Wright is 16-4 ATS (+11.6 Units) after 2 straight games - allowing a shooting pct. of 37% or less as the coach of VILLANOVA. The average score was VILLANOVA 72.7, OPPONENT 63.0 - (Rating = 3*).

Play Against - Road teams as an underdog or pick (TEMPLE) - in a game involving 2 very good teams - outscoring opponents by 8+ PPG, after 3 straight wins by 10 points or more.

(93-47 over the last 5 seasons.) (66.4%, +41.3 units. Rating = 3*).

Play On - Home favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points (VILLANOVA) - team from a major Division I conference against a team from a second tier conference. (244-163 since 1997.) (60%, +64.7 units. Rating = 2*).


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