College Basketball Odds & Pick for VCU vs. St. Bonaventure: How to Bet the Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship (Sunday, March 14)
Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. St. Bonaventure players celebrate their semifinal win over Saint Louis.
- The top two seeds in the Atlantic 10 Tournament survived and advanced to the title game.
- St. Bonaventure and VCU are two evenly matched teams that should be playing in the NCAA Tournament.
- Kyle Remillard breaks down the matchup and makes his pick below.
Atlantic 10 Conference Championship
VCU vs. St. Bonaventure Odds
|St. Bonaventure Odds||-2|
|Moneyline||+112 / -136|
|Time | TV||Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS|
|Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.|
The Atlantic 10 Tournament saw an upset in the first game of the tournament when Duquesne took down Richmond. Since then, the tournament stuck to form with the higher seed winning each game, setting up 1-seed St. Bonaventure taking on 2-seed VCU Rams in the A-10 Championship. The Bonnies are 15-4, owning the No. 1-ranked offensive and defensive efficiency in conference play. according to KenPom. They handled a scrappy Duquesne team in the quarterfinals and then dominated a desperate Saint Louis squad 71-53 in the semifinals.
The VCU Rams were originally projected to finish ninth in the conference preseason poll after losing their entire starting lineup coming into the season. They’ve surprised everyone by finishing 19-6 and securing the second seed in the tournament. The Rams have relied on their defense, which ranks 11th in the country in terms of efficiency. They outlasted two hot-shooting teams in Dayton and Davidson in order to make it to the finals. Those two wins secured a ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the Rams regardless of Sunday's outcome.
The two teams split their regular season games, each winning at home. Although both teams will now continue play in March Madness, they both are looking to end the season on a high note and claim the A-10 Tournament crown.
When VCU Has the Ball
VCU has continued to ride its “Chaos” defense all the way to the A-10 championship game. The Rams have allowed just 63.6 points per game, which is second-best in the conference behind only their opponent, St. Bonaventure. That defensive pressure has caused turnover on a remarkable 23.5% of possessions in conference games this season. The Rams hold teams to 46.8% from the field and lock down the three-point line, allowing teams to convert on just 30% of their attempts from behind the arc.
Na’Shon “Bones” Hyland has been the breakout star of the Atlantic 10 this season. Hyland is averaging 19.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He’s converting on 37.2% of his 180 three-point attempts this season and 54.4% of his two-point attempts. Alongside him is Vince Williams, a 6-foot-6 junior guard who’s averaging 10.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest. Make no mistake, the Rams can get scoring from anyone on the court. They run a nine-deep rotation as they move in fresh bodies to keep the defensive pressure up for the entirety of the 40 minutes.
When St. Bonaventure has the Ball
The Bonnies have been dominant on both sides of the ball all season. They own the highest adjusted efficiency margin in the conference at 20.9. Defensively, they allow just 60.1 points per game, which ranks sixth nationally. Offensively, they have a strong starting unit, every member of which averages double-figures, but after that group no one scores more than five points per game. Among the starters is junior point guard Kyle Lofton, who averages 14.2 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. He’s complimented by 6-foot-10 center Osun Osunniyi, a monster in the paint who averages 9.3 rebounds per contest.
The Bonnies benefit greatly from their their-point shooting and lead the conference by hitting 37.5% of their attempts. This will be a key statistic to monitor as VCU owns the No. 1-ranked three-point defense in the A-10. Jaren Holmes and Dominick Welch are the two snipers for St. Bonaventure. Combined, they have hit 41.6% of their 216 three-point attempts on the season.
These two teams split the season series earlier in the season starting with a 70-59 Bonnies win back in January. VCU responded by winning 67-64 in February in a game that both teams shot horribly from three-point range. The Rams hit 4-of-20 attempts while the Bonnies made just 3-of-15 from behind the arc.
Both teams rank in the top of the conference in defensive efficiency, but the Bonnies present a more consistent offensive attack. St. Bonaventure has won six of its last eight games, with the losses coming by a combined six points.
Although VCU causes a lot of turnovers, the Rams have had some issues coughing the ball up themselves. They turned it over on 21.2% of their offensive possessions in conference play. Doing that against a team like St. Bonaventure is what doomed them in the first matchup when the Rams turned the ball over 19 times.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This will be the third time that St. Bonaventure’s has faced off against the chaos defense that VCU runs. The Bonnies had a week off to help prepare for handling the pressure that the Rams will present and have strong guards to counteract that style. Lofton is the type of player who wants the spotlight, and I see him having a big game on the biggest stage the A-10 has to offer. St. Bonaventure has the size needed to be able to cause problems for Hyland as they showed in both regular season matchups.
I make the line on this game as St. Bonaventure -3.5 and see value in the current price of -2.
Pick: St. Bonaventure -2 (Play up to -3.5)