Do the betting markets now overestimate Seton Hall No. 16?
This is an important question to consider before Wednesday's big Big East bout against Butler # 21 (FS1, 6:30 p.m.). Although the Seton Hall games in New Jersey are not available for legal betting, the pirates are not far on the board in Pennsylvania and Monticello, New York. And market performance could signal that pirates peaked too soon.
For the entire 2019-20 college basketball season, the answer is obviously no. The pirates are 16-9 against the spread, which corresponds to a sparkling coverage percentage of 64. They were clearly one of the most underrated programs if you accept the premise that point-by-game point spreads are the best representation of the teams. "Rated" by a campaign.
However, if you highlight recent measures, the answer is probably yes.
- Seton Hall was unable to cover his last two games, losing as a three-point favorite at Providence 74-71 and losing poorly against Creighton 87-82 with 5½ points. That's 0-2 as a favorite with a combined failure of 16½ points.
- Seton Hall is also 2-4 ATS in their last six games, with wins over Villanova and Georgetown, preceded by non-covers against Xavier and DePaul.
This impressive 16-9 ATS record for the entire season was once 14-5. Percentage downward trend from 74 to 64.
This does not mean that Seton Hall has no shot in the national championship hunt. You've probably heard of "sandwich games" in sports, where a match-up where the juices don't flow is preceded and followed by a marquee opponent. February is a “sandwich month” in college basketball. January brings the highest intensity in the first month of the conference campaign. March is amazing! February can cause powers to lose focus when they look at the thrill of the tournament.
Other possible causes for Seton Hall film:
- Fatigue: Senior star Myles Powell may have worn out from the difficult minutes. Powell shot 3 out of 14 in the loss to Xavier, 3 out of 16 in the loss to Creighton and had the worst seven sales of the season in the loss to Providence.
- Familiarity: Seton Hall can be easier to handle for opponents at a second glance. The pirates have 1-3 ATS in rematches (cover against Georgetown; defeat against DePaul, Xavier and Providence), but an outstanding 7-2 ATS in Big East looks first (including Villanova's recent street offense). This could be bad news for "third looks" in the Big East tournament, but is basically reset against opponents from other big dance conferences.
Wednesday's butler game is a rematch. Seton Hall (+5) won 78-70 in Indianapolis on January 15. The Bulldogs will seek revenge.
Analysts should keep an eye on Powell in the upcoming campaign. Tournament forecasters (and weather in countries that can play Seton Hall games) should consider whether recent market performance is an early warning of disappointments in March. The hurdles remain high. This dark national championship horse may be losing speed.