Do you remember the perfect game? How about the perfect ending?
Are you a fan of one of the most storied teams in NCAA Division I college basketball history?
The Villanova University Wildcats have given the state so much over the years, most Pennsylvanians are big supporters.
They remember the perfect game in 1985 when the Rollie Massimino-coached Wildcats shot almost 80 percent as a team to shock John Thompson’s Georgetown Hoyas in the final game and win the school’s first ever National Championship. Most also remember that Villanova was a lowly eight seed in the tournament that year, and they remain the lowest-seeded team ever to win the NCAA tournament.
They also remember the perfect ending in 2016, when Villanova forward Kris Jenkins hit a three-pointer as time expired to give the Wildcats a 77-74 win over the North Carolina Tar Heels and the school’s second National Championship. Most will also recall that shot made Villanova the only team ever to win the NCAA tournament on a buzzer beater.
Plus, how can they forget that Villanova defeated Michigan in the championship game just last year to win its third National Championship and second in three years.
What to know about the Villanova Wildcats
This is truly the golden age of the Villanova University men’s basketball team and things became even more exciting for fans in 2019 with Pennsylvania launching legal sports betting allowing them to bet on the team right here at home.
There are currently eight sportsbooks open in the state. Most of the Philadelphia-area sportsbooks are within 30-40 minutes of the school. The closest location to the university is FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino.
The team has been based on the campus of Villanova University in the Philadelphia suburbs since 1920. Although, the Wildcats also plays some home games inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. That venue is just steps away from the South Philadelphia Turf Club.
This season in Villanova basketball
In addition to winning the National Championship three times, including 1985, 2016, and 2018, the Wildcats have also made three other Final Four appearances.
Villanova is in the Big East Conference and the team is a nine-time Big East regular-season champion and five-time Big East Tournament champion.
This year, the team made history as the first-ever team to win three consecutive Big East Tournament titles. They defeated Seton Hall 74-72 to lock up the automatic NCAA tournament berth. Nova won the regular season conference crown as well with a conference of 13-5.
While they are not the top threat of the past few years, the Wildcats head into March Madness ranked 25th in the AP poll. Most experts think Selection Sunday will put Villanova in as a six seed. The current odds for Villanova to win and to make the Final Four at DraftKings Sportsbook just a short drive away in New Jersey are:
Final Four: +900
Winning it all: +5,000
Betting on the Villanova Wildcats
New Jersey imposes restrictions on college sports betting. NJ sportsbooks cannot take bets on games that involve New Jersey schools or take place in New Jersey.
Fortunately, Pennsylvania does not impose these same restrictions and Wildcat fans can find lines on Villanova games posted at all licensed PA sportsbooks.
There are now eight licensed retail sportsbooks open in Pennsylvania:
Presque Isle Downs is the only PA Gaming Control Board-approved property that failed to launch a casino in time for March Madness action.
Statewide online and mobile sports betting will launch in the second quarter of 2019.
The basic basketball bets available at PA sportsbooks are:
A line bet in college basketball is quite similar to a point spread bet in football.
Sportsbooks post the line on a Wildcats game with the same positive (+) or negative (-) number beside each of the teams.
The negative number is for the team that is favored to win. The actual number represents the points the team is favored by. In order to calculate the betting winner, that number must be deducted from the favorite’s total score. The same positive number means the team is an underdog and the points should be added to that team’s total score to determine the betting winner.
Ultimately, you must pick the winner with the posted line factored in.
Sportsbooks will usually make the odds -110 on all line bets. That means you’ll have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your bet back on either side.
Totals are exactly like the over/under in a football game.
Sportsbooks set a line on the total number of points both teams will combine to score in a single game. Then it’s up to you to decide if the actual total will be over or under that number and bet on it.
Just like line bets, sportsbooks will make the odds -110 on all totals. That means you’ll have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your bet back whether you like the over or the under.
Futures are bets made on something where the outcome will not be determined until a future date.
Traditionally, NCAA futures are bets on who will win National Championship before the season starts. However, most sportsbooks will book futures all season long and into the NCAA tournament on any team, as long as the team still in contention.
Sportsbooks offer players the chance to combine two or more of these basic bets into parlays. Parlays normally pay better than individual bets. However, you have to win all the bets that are part of it for a parlay to pay at all.
NCAA tournament brackets
The traditional way most Pennsylvanians have always bet on March Madness is through NCAA tournament bracket sheets they enter into office pools or contests at local bars and social clubs. These paid office and bar pools are actually illegal.
However, Pennsylvania sportsbooks may run legal pools of their own this year, allowing patrons to bet on March Madness the same way most always have.
Filling out a tournament bracket sheet involves picking a winner in all 63 tournament games from the first round to the championship game. You’re not obliged to pick Villanova to win, just don’t show any locals your sheet if you don’t.