College Basketball Underdog of the Day (Xavier to Take Down 1st Place Providence)

Xavier Musketeers guard Paul Scruggs will look to guide his team to an upset victory on the road vs. Providence.
Xavier Musketeers guard Paul Scruggs will look to guide his team to an upset victory on the road vs. Providence. / Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

The Providence Friars survived a scare on the road last Sunday, going to overtime as a large road favorite in Indianapolis against the Butler Bulldogs and edging out a 71-70 one-point win.

The Friars improved to 22-3 overall, and are finding ways to win close games; evidenced by five of their last six wins coming by point margins of four points or less.

Meanwhile, Xavier has lost four of five, including back-to-back double-digit losses to St. John's and Connecticut.

Before I explain why I believe Providence is ripe for an upset at home, here are the latest odds over at WynnBET:

Xavier vs Providence Odds, Spread and Total


  • Xavier: +1.5 (-110)
  • Providence: -1.5 (-110)


  • Xavier: +105
  • Providence: -125


  • 137 (Over -110/Under -110)

Xavier vs. Providence Prediction and Pick

I hate to go against BetSided's Joe Summers, who wrote up a terrific preview piece for tonight's Big East action, but when you have two teams this close, you're bound to get some disagreement once in a while.

While it can be a good thing for teams to find ways to win ugly, along with scraping and clawing their way to victory in non-dominant fashion, at some point the tide turns. Providence, via Action Network, has won 13 of their 22 games by eight points or less this year. They also rank as KenPom's No. 1 team in "Luck rating" this season, compared to 195th for Xavier.

Xavier, despite their struggles, still enter tonight's game 47th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency ratings, and 48th in defensive efficiency. While they remain squarely in the tournament (currently a No. 7 seed at BracketMatrix), they need to start getting back into form before the Big East tournament kicks off in a few weeks.

Lastly, this line screams trap, as sportsbooks are begging bettors to take the 22-3 (12-2 in conference) team as a 1.5-point home favorite against the 17-9 (7-8 in conference) opponent.

I expect the Musketeers to return to form with a quality road upset at the top of the Big East.

PICK: Xavier ML +105

Follow all of Ben Heisler's betting picks in real-time HERE!