Providence vs Butler Basketball Prediction & Picks: Will the Friars stay perfect in the Big East?

Eddie Griffin

Due to unimpressive non-conference results, Providence is facing an uphill battle to make the NCAA Tournament this season.

But the reigning Big East champions have won their first two conference games and will look to make it three in a row tonight as they visit Butler (6:30 pm ET, FS1).

The Friars (10-3, 2-0 Big East) lost all three of their toughest non-conference games and didn’t beat anyone currently inside the top 200 at KenPom, but they have opened conference play with a road win at Seton Hall and a home win over Marquette.

The Bulldogs (8-5, 0-2 Big East) have not had a good start to Big East action, losing by 22 at home to UConn and 22 at Creighton. Offense has been an issue for Butler, who was held to 46 points by the Huskies and 56 by the Bluejays.

Will they find their footing on the offensive end tonight and pick up their first conference win? Read on for our Providence vs Butler prediction, as well as our betting picks and analysis for tonight’s matchup at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

Providence vs Butler Odds

Game odds are via FanDuel as of Thursday, December 29, 2022, at 12:05 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.

Spread

  • Providence +2.5 (-102)
  • Butler -2.5 (-120)

Over/Under

  • Over 140.5 (-110)
  • Under 140.5 (-110)

Moneyline

  • Providence +126
  • Butler -152

Can Butler Find Points Against Providence?

UConn is one of the best teams in the country, and so is Creighton with Ryan Kalkbrenner back in action.

But that doesn’t diminish how horrible the Bulldogs looked on the offensive end against both teams.

Against the Huskies, they shot only 29.6% (16 of 54) from the field and 21.4% (3 of 14) from three.

And against the Bluejays, they shot 50 percent in the first half but only 33.3% in the second half, and they were 2 of 12 (16.7%) from three for the game.

This isn’t to say that the potential to be much better isn’t there. All five of their starters are averaging double figures, and even with a couple of poor games, the Bulldogs are shooting 48.1% from the field and 34.8% from three.

But the Bulldogs don’t get much from their reserves, so if the starters struggle again, Butler will be in serious trouble.

Starters Dominate Butler’s Offensive Production

  • Field Goal Attempts: 632 of 730 (86.6%)
  • Made Field Goals: 309 of 351 (88.0%)
  • Three-Point Attempts: 221 of 253 (87.4%)
  • Made Three-Pointers: 80 of 88 (90.9%)
  • Points: 820 of 927 (88.5%)

All five of Butler’s starters average over 30 minutes per game, while forward Bryce Hopkins, who leads Providence in scoring (16.7 PPG) and rebounding (9.7 RPG), is their only starter averaging 30+ minutes per game.

While Marquette ranks in the top ten in offensive efficiency, Seton Hall, like Butler, is having some challenges under a new coach. And in their 71-67 win last a dozen days ago, Providence held the Pirates to 42.1% (24 of 57) from the field and 22.7% (5 of 22) from three.

In last week’s double-overtime thriller against Marquette, the Friars allowed the Golden Eagles to shoot 52% from the field. But while they shot 59.3% (32 of 54) on two-point shots, they were only 7 of 21 (33.3%) from three.

Strong perimeter defense has been key to Providence’s five-game win streak. In the streak, opponents are just 32 of 112 (28.6%) from three.

Butler may average only 19.5 three-point attempts per game, but because so much of their production comes from their starters, they have four starters who shoot threes with some regularity.

The only one who doesn’t is center Manny Bates, who has one three-point attempt in his collegiate career (against North Carolina State, his former team, earlier this season).

Providence vs Butler Prediction and Picks

Providence vs Butler Prediction: Providence to win

Providence vs Butler Picks: Providence to cover (Best Value: +3.5 @ BetMGM) & Providence team total over (Best Value: over 68.5 @ Caesars Sportsbook)

Butler has played a fairly challenging schedule, as eight of their opponents thus far are currently in the top 100 at KenPom. And the Bulldogs have wins over three of them (#52 Kansas State, #72 Yale, and #91 BYU).

So, this is definitely a game that they can and should win, and despite their performances against UConn and Creighton, I understand why they are favored.

But that presents a good opportunity to back Providence, who has hit the ground running in Big East play.

Outside shooting hasn’t been a strength for Providence for a while, and it isn’t this year. They are shooting just 33.2% from outside this season, and they have made eight or more threes only three times in their 13 games.

But after shooting 44.0% on two-point shots in their first eight games, the Friars have made 59.3% of their two-point shots in their win streak. Look for that to continue tonight at Butler and for their streak to extend to six games.

Eddie Griffin

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.

Eddie Griffin has been writing about and betting on sports for over a decade. He joined the ranks of Betting News as a content manager. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.