The Villanova University men’s basketball team is truly the pride of Pennsylvania college sports, and in particular, Philadelphia college sports.
The NCAA Division I college basketball team is based on the campus of Villanova University in the Philadelphia suburbs. However, the team also plays several home games inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia proper.
The Wildcats have been around since 1920 and have won the National Championship three times, including 1985, 2016, and most recently 2018. The team has also made three other Final Four appearances.
Villanova competes in the Big East Conference and is an eight-time Big East regular season champ and nine-time Big East Tournament winner. In fact, this year the team made history as the first team to win three consecutive Big East Tournaments.
The 2017-18 Villanova Wildcats season had a storybook ending, with the team defeating the Michigan Wolverines 79–62 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas to win the National Championship.
Of course, this was just one season removed from the Wildcats winning the 2016 National Championship beating the North Carolina Tar Heels 77–74 on a buzzer beater in the championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The 2016-17 Villanova Wildcats season ended with a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament to Wisconsin.
Betting on the Villanova Wildcats
The 2018-19 Villanova Wildcats are far from favorites to repeat as National Championship winners.
However, the team is ranked in the top 20 in the country and remains a betting favorite for anyone in and around PA. Particularly since licensed sportsbooks are now opening up all across Pennsylvania and anyone older than 21 and inside PA can now legally bet on the team.
There are now eight brick and mortar sportsbooks open in the state:
New Jersey has restrictions on college sports wagering. Gamblers cannot bet on college sports that involve a university or venue in the Garden State. That means no betting on Seton Hall, Princeton, or Rutgers. Plus, all bets are off when it comes to any of several college basketball tournaments held in Atlantic City.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania does not impose these restrictions on college sports betting. Therefore, Wildcat fans will find lines on Villanova games posted at all the legal PA sportsbooks listed above. And, if you feel like betting on games with New Jersey teams, PA sportsbooks can handle those too.
For the most part, these lines will be for basic basketball bets including:
The Villanova line
The line bet in college basketball is much like the point spread bet on a football game.
PA sportsbooks will post the line on a Wildcat game with either a positive (+) or negative (-) number beside each team.
A negative number means that team is a favorite to win and represents the points you’ll have to take away from the team’s total score before determining if they are a betting winner.
A positive number means that team is an underdog and you’ll need to add the points to the team’s total score before determining if they are a betting winner.
Basically, you just need to pick the winner with the posted line factored in.
For example, Villanova is favored by -5.5 over the 11 seed St. Mary’s in opening round NCAA March Madness action.
That means if you bet on the Wildcats with that line, they need to win by more than five points for the bet to pay off. Of course, if you take St. Marys, you win when they do, or if the Bulldogs win by a narrower margin than six.
Pennsylvania sportsbooks will typically make the odds on college basketball line bets on either side -110. That means no matter what side you choose, you’ll have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your bet back.
College basketball total bets are a much like the over/under in a football game. PA sportsbooks will set a line on the total number of points both teams will combine to score. Then it’s up to you to decide if the actual total will be over or under that number and bet on it.
Like the line, PA sportsbooks will usually make the odds on a totals bet on either side -around 110. That means whether you bet the over or the under, you’ll have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your bet back.
In the Villanova-St. Mary’s game described above, Parx Sportsbook has the total at 130. That means if both teams combine to score under 130 points, under bets pay. Of course, if the Wildcats and Gaels score more than 130 points combined or more, over bets pay. However, if the total score lands on 130 exactly, it’s a push and you get your bet back.
College basketball futures bets are exactly what they sound like. They are college basketball bets involving something where the outcome will not be determined until the future.
Traditionally, that means betting on who will win National Championship before the season starts. However, most PA sportsbooks will allow you to make Wildcats futures bets all season long against a line that moves according to how the team is doing and its future prospects.
Even though Villanova is the reigning champion, they aren’t as strong this season as a six seed. Parx has them as +800 to win their region, which is the fourth-best odds for the region. Money is coming in on the Wildcats, as bettors think they have a better chance to make the Final Four than the four and five seeds.
The team is also +500 to make the Elite Eight.
Legal PA sportsbooks also offer players the chance to bet parlays. Essentially, parlays are a combination of two or more basic bets. Parlays pay much better odds than individual bets because you have to win all the bets that are part of it for it to pay.
You can put together a parlay involving bets on a single Villanova game, multiple games, and even different sports and different teams. However, it can’t be stressed enough that you must win all bets that are a part of a parlay to get paid.