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Butler Favored by 5.5 Over Seton Hall in Battle for Top Spot in Big East

Hinkle Fieldhouse at Butler University
Hinkle Fieldhouse will host Seton Hall vs Butler on Wednesday, Jan. 15th. Photo by JKBrooks85 (public domain).
  • First place in the Big East is at stake as Seton Hall visits Butler at Hinkle Fieldhouse
  • Butler and Seton Hall are on six-game winning streaks and unbeaten in conference play
  • Seton Hall’s Myles Powell is averaging 22.5 points in four games since returning from a concussion

No. 5 Butler (15-1 overall, 9-0 home) is favored by 5.5 points over visiting No. 18 Seton Hall (12-4 overall, 3-2 road) in the battle for the top spot in the Big East at 6:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night (Jan. 15) at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

#18 Seton Hall vs #5 Butler Odds

Team Spread Over/Under
Seton Hall +5.5 (-115) Over 125.5 (-110)
Butler -5.5 (-105) Under 125.5 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 14

Seton Hall (4-0) and Butler (3-0) are the last two teams unbeaten in conference play and are just ahead of Providence (3-1) and No. 14 Villanova (4-1).

Seton Hall has won six games in a row since a 6-4 start and is 4-0 in the Big East play for just the second time. The Pirates also started 4-0 in 2002-03 when they won both the regular-season and conference tournament titles.

Butler has its highest ranking in school history and is also on a six-game winning streak with its lone loss coming by one point at Baylor, 53-52, on Dec. 10. The Bulldogs are off to their best start since the 2008-09 team began the season by winning 19 of its first 20 games.

Butler opened as a six-point favorite but the line quickly fell by a half-point as can been seen on the Seton Hall vs Butler odds page.

Pirates Turn It Around

Seton Hall’s winning streak began just when it looked like its season might fall apart.

Star senior guard Myles Powell sustained a concussion early in a 68-48 loss at Rutgers on Dec. 14. Yet, without Powell, Rutgers knocked off then-No. 7 Maryland 52-48 at home five days later to begin their winning streak.

Powell sat out two games but has come back strong by averaging 22.5 points and 6.3 rebounds in the last four games. His season averages are 21.5 points and 4.9 rebounds.

Seton Hall played one its most complete games of the season last Saturday (Jan. 11) when it posted a 69-55 victory over visiting Marquette. The Pirates outscored the Golden Eagles 32-10 in the paint, a 25-7 off the bench and 21-7 off turnovers.

Defense Key for Bulldogs

Defense has been the key for Butler this season as it is allowing just 54.4 points a game, the fourth-best mark in the nation. That figure drops to 51.1 in the Bulldogs’ nine home games and just four of their 16 opponents have cracked 60 points.

Butler has an experienced team with the senior duo of guard Kamar Baldwin and forward Sean McDermott leading the way for a team expected to finish near the bottom of the Big East standings coming into the season.

Baldwin is scoring 14.8 points a game while McDermott is averaging 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds. Butler has five players with scoring averages of at least 8.3 while a sixth player, junior point guard Aaron Thompson, is dishing out a team-best 5.1 assists a game.

Butler has never won a national title but the bookmakers feel they have a shot this season as can be seen in the 2020 NCAA Tournament odds.

In its 70-58 win at Providence last Friday (Jan. 10), Butler held the Friars scoreless over the last 6 ½ minutes.

Here are how the teams match up on some KenPom.com categories:

Seton Hall

108.2 (38th) Adjusted offensive efficiency 110.1 (26th)
86.9 (10th) Adjusted defensive efficiency 85.5 (6th)
70.1 (121st) Adjusted tempo 64.7 (330th)

Both Sides Strong ATS

Seton Hall and Butler are both 12-4 against the spread this season.

Seton Hall has been particularly profitable lately as it has been the winning side in six straight games. Yet Butler has covered in four of its last five.

Though Seton Hall and Powell are streaking and the last three games in this series have been decided by a total of four points, it’s time to jump off the Pirates’ gravy train.

Butler has been unbeatable at Hinkle this season. Furthermore, the Bulldogs have the defense to slow Powell down and that is a big key to beat Seton Hall.

The pick: Butler -5.5 (-105)

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