Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 5:00 PM EST.
DePaul +5 over ST. JOHN’S
6:30 PM EST. This game looks very evenly matched but if it is not, there is no chance that we’re giving any edges to the Johnnies. We’d argue that DePaul’s stock has been so low for so long that the market is always looking to fade them. Depaul has gone 5-28 in the Big East over the last two seasons and they’re 0-2 this year so make the Blue Demons 5-30 in Big East play over their last 35 league games. The market does not like that one bit.
Meanwhile the Johnnies come in with a 8-2 overall record this year and the market loves wins over everything else. We have pointed out several times how wins and losses are misleading, especially in college basketball where teams can be ranked anywhere from 1st to 358th. That’s a wide, wide gap, which leads us to the Johnnies playing the 337th ranked Strength of Schedule in the country.
St. John’s have just one win against a top 150 team (Monmouth). They were whacked by Kansas, 95-75, and lost at home to a Pittsburgh squad that is likely to finish last in the ACC. Furthermore, the Johnnies have been off since December 18th and will play their first Big East game of the season here. This is year three in the Mike Anderson experiment in Queens, and there’s no indication that this is an improved basketball team. Of the 11 Big East teams, St. John’s is the last one we’d recommend spotting points with.
Back to DePaul. Yeah, they’re 0-2 in Big East play but they have played conference games and last played on January 1 against #21 Providence. They also have a four-point loss at Butler, thus its 0-2 Big East record. DePaul’s only other loss this year was another four-point defeat against a very good Loyola Chicago squad. The Blue Demons have a 20-point win over Duquesne, a seven-point win over Louisville, a three-point win over Rutgers and a 9-point win over Northern Kentucky. The Blue Demons body of work is superior to St. John’s body of work and their coaching staff is superior too.
Hello Tony Stubblefield, a veteran of Dana Altman’s staff at Oregon and the next hope of resurrecting the DePaul hoops program back to the heights it saw under Ray Meyer (two Final Fours). Stubblefield takes over a program mostly gutted by departures (a good thing). His own efforts to take advantage of the transfer portal are somewhat impressive – three power conference imports, including former #1 JUCO transfer Tyon Grant-Foster and former top-100 recruit Jalen Terry. Stubblefield’s teams will always play good defense. Though the roster is young, DePaul has utilized the physical pieces to assemble a solid unit on this end. DePaul is 9-3 after playing a more difficult schedule than the Johnnies and it is certainly worthy of getting behind here taking back inflated points in what should probably be closer to a pick-em game.
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DePaul +5 -101 (Risking 2.02 units - To Win: 2.00)