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Texas vs. Butler money line picks – March Madness 2015

Texas vs Butler Preview - 2015 March Madness#11 Texas Longhorns vs. #6 Butler Bulldogs preview

When: Thursday, March 19th 2015 at 2:45pm ET
Where: Consol Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Watch: CBS

THE #11 Texas Longhorns 20-13 (8-10 Big 12) were lucky to earn a qualifying bid into the NCAA basketball tournament – yet somehow they’re now favored to beat the #6 Butler Bulldogs 22-10 (12-6 Big East) in the second round.

This match-up stood out to me from the early slate on Thursday and is a great game to pick up an early winner in. Butler are paying plus money to win – I recommend jumping on the money line before it moves, as we won’t get better odds.

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Texas vs. Butler point spread and ML

About 75% of the early action has been on the Longhorns to cover. The only reason that’s the case is because Texas are a team that the casual betting public is familiar with. Butler are the better team – a fact I’ll prove to readers throughout the rest of my preview.

Why I’m betting on the Bulldogs to beat the Longhorns

These teams are in the Midwest region and the winner of this game will likely meet Notre Dame next round. For the second year in a row – Butler were one and done in the Big East conference tournament — this year losing to Xavier in overtime (67-61).

That’s concerning, however, Butler have had a lot of success in the NCAA basketball tournament. It wasn’t too long ago when Butler made a run to the National Championship Game in two consecutive years (2010 & 2011), although they lost both finals.

In 2013, Butler beat Bucknell (68-56) in the second round, before losing to Marquette (74-72) in the third round.

Since 1999, the Longhorns have only missed the NCAA basketball tournament once (2013). Last year, Texas beat Arizona State (87-85) in the second round and then lost to Michigan (65-79) in the third round.

Texas haven’t made the Sweet Sixteen since 2008 – they lost to Memphis (85-66) in the Elite Eight that year.

Butler finished the season ranked 31st in RPI (.5902), 44th in SOS and they were 6-8 against opponents in the top 50 in RPI. Texas ranked 42nd in RPI (.5771) and 15th in SOS, but they finished the season with a 3-12 record against the top 50 teams in RPI.

The Bulldogs don’t have any bad losses on their resume, plus they have wins over North Carolina, Georgetown, St. John’s, Seton Hall and Providence. Texas have played twelve games against ranked opponents, but have only beaten UConn, WVU and Baylor.

Let’s take a look at how these two teams match-up on paper:

Butler are the better offensive team, but the Longhorns have been strong defensively all season. They’re the best in the country at blocking shots and they’re great on the glass. Butler will need to make their shots, as second chance opportunities will be limited.

The Bulldogs also need to shoot the basketball well from the free throw line. Butler’s shooting 68% (222nd) from the FT line – a big reason they’ve lost some close games this season has been because of poor shooting from the charity stripe.

Texas is a deep team – they have eight players scoring 5.0 PPG or more and nine players averaging over 2.0 RPG. Isaiah Taylor (13.0 PPG), Myles Turner (10.4 PPG) and Jonathan Holmes (10.2 PPG) come in averaging double-digits in points for the Longhorns.

Butler aren’t as deep, but they get more production from their starters. Kellen Dunham (16.7 PPG), Roosevelt Jones (12.6 PPG), Andrew Chrabascz (11.1 PPG), Alex Barlow (9.2 PPG) and Kameron Woods (7.8 PPG) all average 28.0 MPG or more.

Woods leads the team with 9.8 RPG and he’ll have to be strong in the paint against the bigger Texas players.

Texas Longhorns vs. Butler Bulldogs predictions

The path to victory is simple for Butler, but the question is will they execute? The Bulldogs need to shoot 70%+ from the FT line and they can’t allow the Longhorns to beat them up too badly on the glass – especially on the defensive end.

Texas aren’t a great shooting team and they typically don’t do well when playing from behind. If Butler can jump out to a fast start, I expect them to run away with this second round game. Texas have been brutal against top 50 opponents all season long.

There hasn’t been an over/under line released for this match-up yet, but I expect it to be low, as both teams only allow just over 60.0 PPG. If the total opens up around 130 points I’ll be jumping on the under, but anything below 126.5 and I’ll just stick to the Butler money line in this match-up.

ScottThis article was written by Scott

Scott is one of the original degenerates working for MobileSportsBetting.com. Although he's most successful betting on NFL football and international soccer, he's also active in UFC and NHL hockey betting.

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