20-13 overall, 11-5 conference, 2nd Horizon
Against the spread
16-15-1 (6-6-1 home, 8-6 away)
16-16 (6-7 home, 7-7 away)
2005 Season Summary
The Butler Bulldogs were coming off a highly disappointing 2004-05 season in which they finished 13-15 straight up and just 10-14 against the spread as they started off 5-12 against the spread before rallying as a value-added and unwanted bargain that got the cash in five of their final seven games of the season.
Fortunes can change quickly
One of the handicapping factors to take into account for mid major conference such as the Horizon League is that fortunes can change quickly and a lot of worst to first and first to worst scenarios have happened over the years. The Horizon is a very “fluid” league both on the court and at the sportsbooks.
Butler opened the 2005-06 season on a neutral court against North Carolina Wilmington and was blown out in a 59-75 loss as 2-point chalks. That was followed by a 70-61 win over Alabama State, also on a neutral court, as 14.5-point overlays, which was an indicator that Butler was expected to be much improved over 2004-05 as the oddsmakers were anticipating that jump in performance early on with overlays, as Butler stumbled early with two straight failures.
Into high gear
Butler was to gain some board value due to that slow start beginning with a 66-41 blowout win over Lehigh as 5-point neutral court chalks. That was followed by a 69-79 overtime loss at Ohio State as 14.5-point dogs, a clear sign that they were now bargain values.
Butler kicked it into high gear with a 74-78 loss at Michigan that they covered with ease as 10.5-point dogs. That was followed by an 82-61 home win over Tulane as 12-point chalks and then a 64-53 win at Ball State as 2.5-point dogs. The six game payoff streak peaked with a 64-53 win and cover at Ball State as 2.5-point dogs.
Indiana State slammed the breaks on Butler and their backers with a 59-58 win as 7-point road dogs. But the Bulldogs recovered with an 86-40 blowout win over Elon University as 15-point chalks. Butler then lost to intra state rival Indiana 55-73 as 6-point neutral court dogs and followed that up with an unlined win at South Dakota State.
The Bulldogs started off Horizon Conference play with a 75-56 home win over Illinois-Chicago and then a 59-64 loss at UW Milwaukee as a 6-point dog.
Hit the skids
Butler had covered nine of their last eleven games against the spread and the “word” was out both amongst college basketball gamblers and, of course, the oddsmakers.
This would cause the Bulldogs value to deplete beginning with a 64-52 win over Detroit as 13.5-point overlay chalks. That was followed by a 64-74 loss at Loyola-Chicago as 2.5-point chalks. Next was a 62-64 win at Youngstown State as 6.5-point chalks followed by a 55-51 win at Cleveland State as 5-point chalks for their fifth consecutive loss against the sportsbooks.
The bleeding stopped, albeit briefly, with a 67-39 blowout win at Illinois-Chicago as 3-point chalks. That was followed by a 72-66 overtime home win over UW Green Bay as 14-point overlays and then a 63-60 overtime home win over UW Milwaukee as 3-point chalks for a push. Butler next beat Cleveland State 78-49 as 12.5-point home chalks but then lost at Wright State 83-86 in overtime as 3-point chalks to complete a string of just two payoffs in ten games.
It doesn't take long for a mid major program to lose favor with the public and that stretch of coming up empty made that the case for Butler, but as a result their value was restored and they covered three of their final five regular season games and then went 2-2 both SU&ATS in the Horizon tourney and the NIT.