Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
7:00 PM EST. A typical Friday night in college basketball features some Ivy League and MAAC games with a few others thrown in. It’s a slow day for the sport before Saturday’s massive card but the point is that little goes unnoticed. An Atlantic-10 game like this one will stick out among the group and will garner plenty of attention in the market. What’s going to stick out more than anything is one of the useless trends that influence the public. That useless trend just happens to be that the Billikens are on an incredible 13-0 ATS run against the Hawks.
There are thousands of games every year in sports and over time trends will develop. Some of those trends will of course stick out more than others but they mean nothing. If the Billikens win and cover here, it won’t be because they won and covered six years ago also. Basing one’s selection(s) on that type of trend, or any trend for that matter, is not only insane, it’s downright preposterous to think that those past results has influence on what happens here. If you pay attention to useless trends, we’re urging you to take that out of your selection process immediately and focus on nothing but value, circumstance and situations.
What we know for sure is that the Billikens are overpriced based on its conference mark of 6-4 as opposed to the Hawks 3-7 conference mark. Furthermore, the Billikens are coming off a resonating 13-point win over Dayton. Combine that big win with the Billikens hot start and the market is willing to ignore the funk in between their the hot start and last game. We’re not ignoring it. For one, Saint Louis is a horrible offensive squad that ranks near the bottom in Division I basketball inoffensive efficiency. They are very good defensively but there are only a handful of teams in history that have had success being so one-dimensional. The Billikens struggle every game to score points and that makes them a massive risk on the road or when spotting points. Saint Louis has an 11-point road loss at Rhode Island, a four-point road loss at Duquesne and a three point road win at the 1-8 in-conference Fordham Rams over its last three road games. Saint Louis’ out-of-conference schedule ranked 199th in the country and they have an 81-59 loss to Florida State on their pedestrian resume.
The Hawks are just 10-13 overall but they have played a tougher schedule than the Billikens and they have also won three of their last four home games. That includes a 61-60 victory over first-place Davidson (8-1 conference --- 17-5 overall). Phil Martelli has been coaching the Hawks for 21 years and has led them to seven tournament appearances. Martelli is widely known for his conservative, paint-clogging mix of man and zone defenses, sacrificing turnovers and guarding the three-point line to take away drives, the offensive glass, and chances at the free throw line. The offense also rarely turns the ball over and eschews the offensive glass, so transition chances are few and far between. This season, the Hawks were projected to challenge in the A-10 but injuries and a bit of underachieving has derailed them. At some point, the Hawks are bound to have a fully healthy contingent of players but for now the injuries have actually helped the team develop depth on the roster, and the skilled bigs are a tough matchup for Saint Louis. At their worst, this is an even matchup for the Hawks but they are not at their worst and now we’re getting the home side at a price in a game they should be a small favorite in and should also be uber-focused in. That’s true value.
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ST. JOSEPH'S +124 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.48)