Bankers Life Fieldhouse will play host to a Round of 32 matchup between No. 5 seed Villanova and No. 13 seed North Texas on Sunday evening.

Let’s take a closer look at this matchup with our Villanova vs. North Texas betting pick that includes odds, analysis and an ATS prediction.

Villanova vs. North Texas Betting Pick

The Wildcats of Villanova knocked off No. 12 seed Winthrop in the opening round, but let’s discuss whether they have what it takes to take down the Mean Green and/or cover the 5+ points in this one.

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Villanova vs. North Texas Odds

Here are the latest Villanova vs. North Texas odds listed at DraftKings Sportsbook:

Team Spread Moneyline Total
North Texas +5.5 (-110) +200 O 127 (-110)
Villanova -5.5 (-110) -245 U 127 (-110)

This line may seem a bit low to some, as Villanova laid more than this to a better seed, Winthrop, and handled the Eagles throughout, covering with a 10-point victory. Others will find it fair, given the Wildcats’ suddenly struggling offense and 1-2 SU record since co-Big East Player of the Year Collin Gillespie went down with an MCL injury.

With regards to the total, it surely seems low, given it is the lowest total that Villanova has seen all season by more than four points, but one has to consider that they are a very different team without Gillespie. The Wildcats’ final scores have totaled an average of just 128 points per game during his three-game absence.

Why Villanova Can Cover the Spread

The Wildcats shook off the post-Gillespie demons with a convincing 73-63 victory over Winthrop that should give a smaller school like North Texas pause. They have superior athletes and still possess another co-Big East POY in Jeremiah Robinson-Earl whom they leaned on to the tune of 22 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, and three blocks in their victory on Friday night.

Villanova has been an exceptional cover team at this time of year, making its ATS number in 16 of its last 21 NCAA Tournament games, including 13 of its last 16 as a favorite.

The Wildcats have also done well in this small 5-7 favorite window, covering five of six games. With just three ATS losses this season in 11 tries against winning teams, Villanova should have a chance at another cover here against the smaller UNT group.

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Why North Texas Can Cover the Spread

North Texas proved it can compete in this tournament in Friday’s overtime win against No. 4 Purdue, a game the Mean Green led throughout almost all of regulation and overtime.

UNT shrinks games on opponents with the nation’s No. 21 ranked scoring defense (62.5 ppg allowed) and a methodical offense that always seems to find good shots, making it at 48.4% from the field (25th best in the nation) and 37.2% from deep (44th best).

They have a star guard in Javion Hamlet who almost never leaves the court and can take over a game like so many guards of March lore before him. The Mean Green play small, but they have knocked off back to back opponents with elite big men, so they will not be intimidated by the Villanova’s Jeremiah Robinson-Earl.

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Villanova vs. North Texas Prediction

It would be easy to believe that Nova has it figured out again without its star guard, but the Wildcats had to run Robinson-Earl, Justin Moore, and Jermaine Samuels out there for 38, 37, and 35 minutes, respectively, to beat Winthrop. Those three took 71% of the Wildcats’ shots on the night.

That’s a huge burden to bear two games in a row with a defense that overachieved in that win, holding the Eagles to 36% from the field and 32% from deep, despite not being in the Top 200 in field goal percentage defense or three-point field goal percentage defense on the year.

The Wildcats could struggle late against this UNT team which is a perfect 2-0 SU and ATS this season when both teams come in with just one day of rest. This team prepared itself for moments like this with non-conference road games against Arkansas, West Virginia, and Loyola-Chicago, holding them to an average of just 62.7 points each.

Villanova has not won any of its last seven games away from home by more than 10 points, having lost five in a row before the other night.

They will have a hard time pulling away from this Mean Green group which has covered six straight neutral court spreads and has not lost ATS in their last four as underdogs.

Villanova vs. North Texas ATS Pick: North Texas +5.5

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