Saint Louis vs Vermont Odds, Pick | NCAAB Betting Guide
Pictured: Aaron Deloney. (Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Saint Louis vs Vermont Odds
The first of two semifinals will tip off at noon ET on Friday as Vermont takes on Saint Louis. The Catamounts erased a double-digit deficit against Charleston on Thursday and ended up with a convincing come-from-behind victory against the Cougars. Saint Louis also trailed at the half against Wyoming, but the Billikens' found offense from beyond the arc in the second half and rode some hot perimeter shooting variance past the Cowboys, 79-69.
So which side has the edge Friday? My pick for Saint Louis vs. Vermont is below.
The Billikens found a lot of offensive success in transition off turnovers against Wyoming on Thursday. SLU hoped to be more physical and active defensively this season and that was on full display against the Cowboys. SLU forced 19 turnovers and had 13 steals, but the improved ball pressure left the Cowboys with numerous open 3s.
Wyoming shot just 3-of-20 from deep, but ShotQuality graded most of those chances as open looks. Wyoming was expected to win the game by double digits based on the quality of shots taken by both teams.
Vermont isn't going to turn the ball over nearly as much as Wyoming did, and the Catamounts' ability to control the pace is going to force Saint Louis to execute in the half court. When Wyoming was able to set its defense, Saint Louis looked considerably more stagnant.
This is a classic pace clash as the Billikens are 39th-fastest team in the country in offensive average possession length. Wyoming ran with them because their new guards couldn't control the pace and kept turning the ball over. The Catamounts will control the pace in this one.
Opponents are shooting just 23.9% from beyond the arc against Saint Louis this year. However, Vermont is the team that will test whether the Billikens have actually improved their perimeter defense. My belief is that the answer to that is not really. Vermont shoots 3s at one of the 25-highest rates in the country, which is a staple of the Catamounts' offense year after year.
Sure, the Billikens are more active with deflections and steals, but that aggression is leaving shooters open and Vermont has the shooters needed to take advantage.
One surprise for the Catamounts thus far has been the continued struggles of Aaron Deloney. It's his third year in the program and he's been a near non-factor through the first three games. He's totaled just 24 points, mostly because he's shot the ball poorly from deep.
Deloney was a 40% 3-point shooter in each of the past two seasons, but has made just 4-of-13 (30.7%) this season.
Saint Louis vs. Vermont
Betting Pick & Prediction
Gibson Jimerson didn't score on Thursday, and one of the problems with his game is that he's not a player who is going to create his own shot off the dribble. He's at his best as an off-ball scorer and 3-point shooter. Unfortunately, Sincere Parker, Saint Louis' primary ball handler, is questionable.
Saint Louis will struggle offensively in the half court if Parker can't go, and the Catamounts are the better coached and more trustworthy side of this matchup. Vermont is the better team and should be a small favorite, so bet Vermont at a pick'em or better.
Pick: Vermont Moneyline (-110 or Better)
ESPN Bet is now live! Make sure you're ready for all the action with our exclusive ESPN BET promo code TANBONUS.