Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:45 PM EST.
7:00 PM EST. This is going to look like a big pile of points for a well-known team in the market like St. Joseph's to be taking back, but this line stinks. Oddsmakers are not in the habit of giving away money and so we have to question why is it that Saint Louis is favored by such a seemingly significant margin here?
The Billikens have been off the national radar for half a decade after last making the NCAA’s in 2014 and they are coming off a very disappointing 2017-18, but head coach Travis Ford was never able to field the team he recruited after a Title IX investigation sunk their season. With only four returning players from last year, the Billikens are a solid mix of young recruits and talented transfers that have them in a position to make it back to the Big Dance in March. SLU is 4-0 to start Atlantic 10 play, but it also has wins over perennial tournament teams in Seton Hall and Butler, as well as Oregon State, a Power Five school. The Billikens are built on a strong defense that hasn't given up more than 64 points in conference play.
That said, the above is all fodder and sometimes we just have to play the number. That applies here, as the data is out and available. One would very likely have to go deep into the archives to find the last time that the Billikens were a popular betting team in the market. Over the past three years, St. Joe’s was favored over Saint Louis by -4, -4½ and -17 and now the Hawks are taking back significant points. Incidentally, it’s been five years since Saint Louis defeated St. Joe’s by the margin they’re being asked to lay here and the obvious propensity would be to take the points. Our radar has been set off by this high number that the Billikens are being asked to win by and we’re not going to ignore it. The number says it all and it says to swallow the points.
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SAINT LOUIS -8½ -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)