The Villanova Wildcats are set to face the Baylor Bears this weekend. Check out our college basketball odds series, which includes our Villanova Baylor prediction, odds, and pick.

Villanova is always willing to play elite teams. This game is merely the latest high-profile challenge for coach Jay Wright’s team. Villanova — as people who study college basketball odds know well — visited UCLA in the first week of the season. The Wildcats had a late lead in Los Angeles but lost it down the stretch when their offense faltered. Villanova showed it belonged on the same court as the Bruins — the Pac-12 favorite this season — and the Wildcats gained a lot of encouragement from that performance, even in defeat.

Yet, when you consider your Villanova Baylor pick, it’s important to keep in mind that a tough loss to a good team has to eventually translate into an ability to win close games against quality opposition. A series of close losses won’t get the job done. Villanova needs to prove it can get over the hump.

One important piece of subtext for anyone studying the Villanova Baylor odds is that these two teams met in the Sweet 16 last March, in front of a sparse (pandemic-based) crowd in Indianapolis. Villanova did not have guard Collin Gillespie in its lineup due to injury. Yet, the Wildcats gave Baylor a real battle, arguably the toughest test the Bears faced on their run to the national championship.

Gillespie will be in the lineup for this game, so that’s something to keep in mind when considering a Villanova Baylor prediction.

As for Baylor, what else is there to say? The Bears won the national title last April, thumping Gonzaga in the championship game in Indianapolis. Baylor has lost prominent stars to the NBA but has kept on rolling. The Bears have not yet lost this season. Scott Drew is as good as it gets among college basketball coaches. Baylor has to feel entirely confident that it can meet the challenge from Villanova.

Here’s how the bookmakers have set the odds:

College Basketball odds: Villanova-Baylor Odds

Villanova: +4 (-110)

Baylor: -4 (-110)

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Over: 137 (-110)

Under: 137 (-110)

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Why Villanova Could Cover the Spread

The Wildcats have played high-profile games this season and have tested themselves in advance of this contest. The younger, less proven players on the roster — the players who need to step up as members of the supporting cast — have been baptized by fire. When thinking about a Villanova Baylor pick, consider the evolution of this Villanova roster. This game could be the breakout moment the Wildcats need. If that happens, they’ll definitely cover the spread.

Why Baylor Could Cover the Spread

The Bears are the kings until proven otherwise. They haven’t missed a beat this season. Scott Drew is making all the right adjustments. They are playing at home. They have everything lined up just how they want it. It’s very hard to bet against a program which has everything pointing in the right direction.

Final Villanova-Baylor Prediction & Pick

This should be a great game, much as the Houston-Alabama showcase late Saturday night was a Final Four-level game with quality athletes and coaches. Everything about Villanova Baylor points to a thrilling, riveting contest with lots of punches being traded. Ultimately, though, Baylor has earned the benefit of the doubt in college basketball until proven otherwise. That’s the bottom line.

Final Villanova-Baylor Pick: Baylor -4