Friday college basketball odds, analysis and pick: Butler laying short number at Providence

Butler head coach LaVail Jordan vs. Creighton, January 2020
Butler head coach LaVail Jordan (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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No. 6 Butler travels to Providence as a 2.5-point road favorite in Big East action on Friday night, highlighting a small slate of college hoops before a weekend of wall-to-wall action.

Elsewhere, Iowa hosts No. 12 Maryland in the lone Big Ten matchup of the evening. The Hawkeyes are being spotted a point and a half at home, where they are 5-2 against the spread this season.

Here are odds and analysis for Friday’s two marquee games.

No. 6 Butler (-2.5, 126.5) at Providence

Tip-off: 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT (FS1)
Betting records: Butler 14-1 SU, 11-4 ATS; Providence 10-6 SU, 7-9 ATS
KenPom prediction: Butler 66-61

Butler has won five straight since its only loss of the year, a one-point defeat on the road at the hands of No. 4 Baylor exactly a month ago. But Providence is also outperforming market expectations lately, going 4-1 ATS in its last five games.

This line opened a consensus 3, but early movement to the home underdog moved it down to 2.5 at the time of this Friday morning writing. Providence is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these two programs and on a 5-1 ATS run against Big East opponents dating back to last year. Sitting at a perfect 3-0 in conference play following back-to-back road wins at DePaul and Marquette, the Friars will bring plenty of confidence into this one.

A Butler team featuring one of the nation’s most efficient defenses is going to make it difficult for the Friars to find easy buckets at Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday evening. The total has gone UNDER in five of Butler’s last six contests, and UNDER bettors have cashed in five of the last six matchups between these two teams.

2020 NCAA Tournament odds update: Field remains wide open

No. 12 Maryland (-1.5, 146.5) at Iowa

Tip-off: 7 p.m. ET/6 p.m. CT (FS1)
Betting records: Maryland 13-2 SU, 7-8 ATS; Iowa 10-5 SU, 9-5-1 ATS
KenPom prediction: Maryland 74-73

Iowa is ranked No. 5 in adjusted offensive efficiency according to KenPom, but a good portion of the Hawkeyes’ season-long stats include senior floor general Jordan Bohannon, who elected to get a medical redshirt after playing a maximum 10 games. His last appearance came in an 84-68 Iowa win over rival Iowa State on December 12. Since that time, freshman point guard Joe Toussaint has taken over the reins leading the Iowa offense, flashing immediate upside and even earning Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors last week.

But Toussaint has a difficult matchup against Maryland senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday. Expect the experienced Cowan to disrupt Iowa’s young floor leader and for Maryland to slow down the Iowa offense, which the betting market seems to be overrating slightly since the departure of Bohannon. The total has gone UNDER in five of the Hawkeyes’ last six games.

Maryland is 4-1 SU and ATS in its last five matchups against Iowa. Coach Mark Turgeon’s team is ranked No. 7 in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing opposing offenses to average 86.8 points per 100 possessions. The Terrapins have cashed UNDER tickets in six of their last eight, and at 146.5, this total appears a tick too high in what figures to be more of a close, possession-based affair.

Pick: Half-unit on UNDER 146.5 (increase position at 147 or better)

Other Friday college basketball spreads and totals

Pennsylvania (-2, 148) at Princeton
Northern Kentucky (-1, 134.5) at UIC
Niagara at Quinnipiac (-9, 146)
Iona at Rider (-5.5, 149.5)
Manhattan at Fairfield (-2, 113.5)
Canisius at Monmouth (-4, 142)
Wright State (-10, 155.5) at IUPUI
Buffalo (-1, 158) at Miami Ohio
Ball State at Akron (-4, 13.6)

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