Auburn vs. Saint Joseph’s College Basketball Odds & Picks: Thanksgiving Betting Value on Hawks
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Bruce Pearl.
- The Auburn Tigers will hit the hardwood once again on Thursday as they take on the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
- At this point, Auburn still doesn't know who it can insert in its starting lineup, giving an advantage to Saint Joseph's.
- Check out Ace DeCardano's full betting preview with updated odds below.
Auburn vs. Saint Joseph’s Odds
|Auburn Odds||-8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Saint Joseph’s Odds||+8.5 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||151.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Thursday, 4:30 p.m. ET|
An Auburn team trying to stay one step ahead of the NCAA investigators faces a more stable Saint Joseph’s squad on Thanksgiving Day in Fort Myers, Florida.
College hoops is back, and so are St. Joe’s’ top-five scorers from a season ago. Meanwhile, Auburn is still trying to get word on who will be allowed in their starting lineup. If you haven’t already done so, check out this article by The Action Network’s Collin Wilson.
Auburn must replace all five starters and its sixth man from a season ago. The plan was to simply reload — with the centerpiece being five-star point guard Sharife Cooper. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Cooper has not yet been deemed eligible by the NCAA. Losing the superstar triggerman will have an undeniably adverse effect on the team.
However, the NCAA Committee on Infractions may be on the verge of rendering a decision that is far worse. Auburn was one of many schools caught up in the FBI investigation into college corruption and fraud. This even led to former assistant Chuck Person (see related video: Cris Carter telling NFL rookies, “You’ve got to have a fall guy.”) pleading guilty to charges connected to bribery. Possibly seeing the writing on the wall (while staring at a potential rebuilding year), Auburn self-imposed an NCAA Tournament ban for the 2020-21 season earlier this week.
I understand we would all prefer separating “real-life” from our sports, but the fact remains you can’t handicap Auburn basketball without including this information.
On the court, Auburn will be starting from scratch in the opening game of the year without its point guard. However, it’s going to be long and athletic. Very long. On Thursday, Pearl can trot out a lineup of Justin Powell (6-foot-5), Devan Cambridge (6-foot-6), Allen Flanigan (6-foot-6), JT Thor (6-foot-10), and Babatunde Akingbola (6-foot-10).
As stated earlier, the Tigers aren’t just tall. They’re athletic. Freshman Thor exemplifies this statement. The power forward is equally adept at knocking down a jumper as he is at throwing down a monster dunk. Sharp-shooting freshman combo guard Powell will be transitioning to the point, but Pearl has already been pleasantly surprised by his court awareness and ability to distribute the basketball.
This team is going to come together. It just might take a few games.
Saint Joseph’s Hawks
Prior to last season, former National Coach of the Year and Saint Joseph’s icon Phil Martelli was fired.
New athletic director Jill Bodensteiner didn’t believe Martelli was doing enough with what she described as “[the] important strategic asset for the university.” Given Martelli’s charitable work and his national recognition as the school’s ambassador, we can only assume she was talking wins and losses.
It would seem things did not go as Bodensteiner envisioned in 2019-20. Due mainly to an apparent lack of effort on the defensive end (KenPom ranked them 315th in the nation in terms of defensive efficiency), the Hawks ended the season 6-26 and in the basement of the Atlantic 10.
Once again, St. Joe’s begins the 2020-21 campaign picked by many to finish near the bottom of the conference. However, this Hawks team returns almost everyone while also adding a few talented transfers. In fairness to head coach Billy Lange, we should allow this season to play itself out before taking any more shots.
Lange’s go-to scorer will be guard Ryan Daly. Although not overly efficient (48.0 effective field goal percentage in 2019-20) Daly led the A-10 in points per game last season with 20.6.
This is a team that wants to knock down 3s. Cameron Brown will continue to shoulder some of the load this year, although he must improve upon his 31.1% 3-point percentage in 2019-20 if the Hawks are going to become more competitive.
Xavier transfer guard Dahmir Bishop, Gonzaga transfer guard Greg Foster, Jr., and forward Taylor Funk (back from injury) make the roster much deeper and more athletic.
This is also a group that wants to play with tempo. While all signs point toward the offensive efficiency increasing, I am still not sold on its ability to defend until I see it.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Pearl paces the sideline, fittingly looking over a team on self-imposed sanctions. Martelli watches from a distance while Bodensteiner watches over a (thus far) depreciating asset. Is there a better way to sum up collegiate basketball in 2020?
But, I digress…
Saint Joseph’s has continuity, but it also adds players who certainly make the team more athletic. This should help on both ends of the court. Auburn lost everyone and will not have the services of the superstar freshman it was counting on to make the offense go. These Tigers will certainly grow as the season progresses, but they have many uncertainties entering Game 1.
In the end, Auburn is probably still talented enough to get by these Hawks, but a double-digit spread is too much to lay under these circumstances. I’m rolling with Saint Joseph’s +11.
Pick: St. Joseph’s +11 (down to +9.5).