Buffalo vs. St. Bonaventure College Basketball Odds & Picks: Back the Bulls or Bonnies?
Photo by Steven King/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Ronaldo Segu
- It's the battle of Western New York, as Buffalo travels to take on St. Bonaventure.
- The Bonnies are a hugely experienced team off to a great start, but the Bulls have firepower of their own.
- Matt Cox breaks down the matchup and delivers his betting pick below.
Buffalo vs. St. Bonaventure Odds
-110o / -110u
|St. Bonaventure Odds|
-110o / -110u
Strap in for the heavyweight title bout for WNY!
(WNY = ‘Western New York’, for my fellow Midwesterners oblivious to northeast geography nomenclature).
Akin to Philadelphia’s “Big 5,” St. Bonaventure and Buffalo comprise two of WNY’s big 4, along with Canisius and Niagara. Though, with all due respect to Canisius and Niagara, this is the Buffalo area’s marquee event of the basketball season.
After a year off last season due to the COVID constrained non-conference, the WNY rivalry is back in action at 4 p.m. ET.
This tilt will take place at the infamous Reilly Center, the Bonnies’ crackerjack gymnasium that can get as raucous as any crowd in America. That, however, is contingent on the Bonnies pleasing the Olean faithful, which they’ve struggled to do in their last two home games.
St. Bonaventure holds the edge over Buffalo in the all-time series, 10-4, and has won six of the last seven matchups.
In this stark stylistic clash, the visiting Bulls are “thunder” to the Bonnies’ “lightning.” Since taking over for former boss Nate Oats in 2019, Jim Whitesell has the Bulls runnin’ and gunnin’ at Mach 5 speed. Currently, Buffalo boasts the nation’s 17th-fastest tempo, as defined by KenPom.
The secret sauce to Whitesell’s system is high-octane athletes with a perpetually running motor. He has that in bunches this season, headlined by two physical specimens in Jeenathan Williams and Josh Mballa.
The Bulls will be underdogs heading into this evening’s battle with St. Bonny, but won’t back down at any moment, as they didn’t against Michigan on opening night.
Since then, their only other blemish came at the hands of Stephen F. Austin, which squeaked by the Bulls by one point in the Thanksgiving MTE.
The Bonnies are seven games in to their encore campaign, just months removed from one of the all-time greatest seasons in program history.
Mark Schmidt brought the whole band back from a team that notched a 9-seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament. It’s no secret why every media prognosticator pegged St. Bonaventure 2022 preseason A-10 favorite.
So far, there’s been a mix of highs and lows, a true roller coaster ride of performances. Ironically, the Bonnies played their best ball in the Disney based MTE the weekend before Thanksgiving, when they dispatched Boise State, Clemson and Marquette in fairly convincing fashion.
However, those stellar performances were sandwiched in between a stunning home loss to Northern Iowa — another lauded mid-major this season — and three other lethargic performances against lesser competition. Yes, Schmidt and his ultra-experienced Bonnies came away unscathed in those efforts, but they came out sluggish in all three games.
Buffalo vs. St. Bonaventure Betting Pick
If the Bonnies stumble out of the gate again tonight, they could be staring down the barrel at a repeat episode of what happened last Saturday against Northern Iowa.
Granted, the Panthers were unconscious from behind the arc, but the Bonnies’ nationally-elite defense, anchored by premier shot swatter Osun Osunniyi, should never surrender 90 points, much less at home.
Complicating the Bonnies’ concerns heading into this dangerous matchup is the absence of Kyle Lofton, who suffered a high ankle sprain last game against Coppin State.
Lofton is the heartbeat of this ball club, and hasn’t missed a start in 93 games. That’s right, Lofton’s name has been penciled into the starting lineup in every St. Bonaventure game since the beginning of the 2018-19 season.