Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST.
St. Bonaventure +101 over RHODE ISLAND
4:00 PM EST. The Rams of Rhode Island are just 3-5 but their stock is not low because of it. You see, the Rams have lost to some decent teams that include then #18 Arizona State, Boston College, #13 Wisconsin, Western Kentucky and Davidson. Each one of those defeats was to a team with pedigree and some recent success too. Rhode Island also has some credible wins. They beat Seton Hall and a rejuvenated San Francisco team, not to mention a win over South Florida. All in all, the Rams have played the 22nd ranked strength of Schedule in the country. While we are always on the lookout for battle tested teams with a poor record, there are exceptions to everything and we are going to make one here. Rhode Island is also a team with pedigree and the market has them pegged as an undervalued team. We are not in agreement with that assessment. Frankly, Fatts Russell is the only known commodity on a roster littered with unknowns so let’s see how it plays out before we give the Rams so much credit.
The Bonnies are off to a 2-0 start but it doesn’t hold much weight because they beat Akron and Hofstra. They are certainly under the radar because they haven’t really played yet and are being largely ignored because of it. However, like a hounddog on a long hunt, we’re always on the lookout for underpriced teams and we’re going to trust that a Bonnie breakthrough is forthcoming. There is a list as to why but let’s put Osun Osunniyi front and center on that list.
It took all of 10 minutes into the 2020 season for Bonnie fans to curl up in the fetal position. Osunniyi suffered a bone bruise in the opener against Ohio, a malfunction that sidelined the big man for four games. The Bonnies came out the other side in a 1-4 hole – though, that win against Rutgers sans Osunniyi was mighty impressive. Once revived, Osunniyi hit the ground running. He posted two straight double doubles in his first two games back, and just like that, Bona was off to the races. Then, the basketball Gods cursed the Bonnies again. A 4-0 A-10 start was interrupted by a second Osunniyi set back, this time a concussion, which coincided with three losses against the league’s heavy hitters (VCU, Dayton and Rhode Island). The see-saw season sprung upward, again, after Osun’s second return to the ring, which powered a five-game win streak and rapid climb up the standings. In summary, the Bonnies roller coaster season was a byproduct of Osun’s presence on the floor. When he plays, Osun’s octopus arms serve as a Flex Seal cover-up to any and all defensive cracks on the perimeter.
It’s not just Osunniyi though. Of all the dangerous A-10 adversaries lurking around the league, the Bonnies could be this year’s biggest riser. There are many parallels here to last year’s Richmond team: A young, late-blooming nucleus maturing from under to upperclassmen. A coach with a sterling track record of harnessing consistent year-over-year personnel improvement. A paradigm shifting big man who fundamentally alters opposing scouting reports. Like a popcorn kernel percolating in the microwave, the Bonnies are on the cusp of a thunderous explosion this season, well-equipped to push for an outright A-10 title if injuries can be avoided. We now get them at a price against an inferior team and we’re on it.
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St. Bonaventure +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)