VCU travels to Saint Louis in a battle for fist place in the Atlantic 10 on Friday night.
The Rams are bolstered by one of the best defenses in the country, but will it travel against a worthy A-10 opponent in the Billikens that are anchored by their lead guard Yuri Collins, one of the best facilitators in the country.
Here are the odds for this marquee matchup on Friday:
VCU vs. Saint Louis odds, spread and total
VCU vs. Saint Louis prediction and pick
VCU’s defense will be the best unit on the floor, forcing turnovers on nearly a fourth of their possessions, top 10 in the country. They will face a Saint Louis team that is middling at protecting the ball, but do have a fantastic guard in Collins, who is leading the country in assist percentage at nearly 50%.
The Bilks operate off of Collins’ penetration and try to score inside, but VCU has a stout interior defense, 54th in the country in field goal percentage allowed at the rim and top 10 at defending mid-range jumpers.
While VCU’s offense has been running hot from 3, shooting 39% from beyond the arc in league play, they won’t be exposed against the compact Saint Louis defense that doesn’t force any turnovers, last in A-10 turnover percentage. If the Bilks let Ace Baldwin and the Rams offense dribble without resistance, the physical VCU offense will be able to generate offense whether its inside or at the free throw line.
Ultimately, I can trust the VCU defense to make this game sloppy with a ton of turnovers and pressure Collins into turnovers. Meanwhile, the team’s offense has thrived in A-10 play and Saint Louis’ lack of ball pressure will cost them.
I’ll take the small road underdog.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.