28-5 overall, 14-2 conference, 2nd Big East
Against the spread
13-16 (5-5 home, 5-6 away)
16-13 (6-4 home, 7-4 away)
2005 Season Summary
After a long period in the college basketball wilderness the Villanova Wildcats made a sparkling return to glory in 2004-05 with a record of 24-8 straight up and 17-11 against the spread along with a Sweet Sixteen appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Villanova proved to be quite a bargain against the basketball betting boards down the stretch as they got the cash in nine of their final eleven games, including their 66-67 loss to eventual national champion North Carolina as 10-point dogs in the “Big Dance.”
Higher expectations and a public profile
Villanova was a surprise team that slipped under the radar screen of both their opponents and many gamblers in 2004-05 as they were young and considered a rebuilding program. The Wildcats would have no such luxury in 2005-06 as their opponents, gamblers, and the oddsmakers were all ready for them as the Villanova had much higher expectations and a public profile that was likely to drive down their value on the basketball betting boards as the “word” was out.
Beating expectations and the spread
The front portion of Villanova ’s schedule was loaded with cupcakes. The Wildcats began 2005-06 with back-to-back unlined home wins over Stony Brook and Lehigh.
In their first lined game of the season they blew out Rider 85-57 as 19-point neutral court chalks. This was followed by an 85-74 win over Oklahoma as 7-point home chalks. Villanova scored two more unlined wins first at Bucknell and then at home over Longwood. Villanova next beat Pennsylvania 62-55 as 10.5-point road overlays before scoring three consecutive wins and covers starting at home against La Salle and then at Temple and Louisville. Villanova was beating expectations and the spread with five covers in their first six lined games.
Dating back to the previous season Villanova had beaten the spread in 14 of their last 17 games, a pace that could not be sustained. As the payoffs picked up so did the attention from mainstream gamblers and the oddsmakers, depleting the Wildcats’ value.
Starting with an 87-91 home loss to West Virginia as 11.5-point overlays a sports betting market correction arrived as Villanova lost seven of their next nine games against the sportsbooks, though they did win seven of those games straight up.
Back as bargains
The correction stretch of the schedule helped take some “heat” off of Villanova and they were able to retain some value on the betting boards, coming back as bargains with four consecutive wins and covers beginning with a 71-58 win over St. Joseph’s as 7-point neutral court chalks. They next won at DePaul 61-51 as 8.5-point favorites. That was followed by a 69-64 showdown win over Connecticut as 3-point home dogs and then a 75-65 home win over Georgetown as 7.5-point favorites.
The payoffs were brief as they caused Villanova to again become inflated in the final portion of the regular season starting with a 74-72 win at Cincinnati as 3.5-point chalks. Next was a 75-89 loss at revenge minded UConn as 8-point dogs. The Wildcats then scored a 65-52 win over St. John’s as 15-point home overlays before a 92-82 win/cover at Syracuse as 3.5-point chalks.
“Word” was out and so was the Wildcats’ value
Villanova split their two Big East tourney games SU while losing both ATS. In the NCAA tournament they beat Monmouth-New Jersey 58-45 as 20-point overlays. Next was an 82-78 win over Arizona as 7-point chalks. “Word” was out and so was the Wildcats’ value as they next beat Boston College 60-59 in overtime as 2.5-point chalks before being eliminated in the Elite Eight portion of the “Big Dance” with a 62-75 loss to eventual national champion Florida as 1-point chalks. Villanova lost eight of their final ten games against the spread, proving their depleted value.