Saint Louis vs. Memphis Odds, Pick, Prediction: Will Tigers’ Overwhelm Retooling Billikens?
Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Emoni Bates
- Updated Memphis vs. Saint Louis odds list the Tigers as a 10.5-point favorite, down one point from earlier in the day Tuesday, with the total at 143.
- Memphis will have a tremendous talent advantage against a Billikens team that is will struggle to replace a few key pieces earlier in the season, and won't have the offensive firepower to keep up.
- Get our full Memphis vs. Saint Louis preview and pick below.
Updated Saint Louis vs. Memphis Odds
|Saint Louis Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
The Billikens’ chances of making the NCAA Tournament or competing for the Atlantic 10 title were dealt a significant blow when they lost Javonte Perkins for the season to injury.
That injury took some of the luster off this matchup in Memphis on Tuesday night, where Tigers’ head coach Penny Hardaway has a loaded roster of length, experience, youth and overall talent.
Memphis has largely underperformed in his three years with the program, making zero NCAA Tournament appearances. But an NIT title in 2020 and two fab freshmen have the Tigers inside the top 20 in KenPom and expecting to compete with Houston for an American title this season.
Neither team has played a game against an opponent inside the top 250 yet, so Tuesday is the first real test for either program this year.
Due to COVID-19 last season, Saint Louis’ season went off the rails after a stellar start. The Billikens looked like legitimate A-10 title challengers and a potential tournament at-large team before COVID pauses were followed by puzzling losses to bad teams in the conference.
The losses of Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French to graduation were already going to be difficult for SLU to overcome this season. Perkins was expected to carry the load offensively as the primary creator and scorer. He’s out now and it’s not clear where the Billikens will go for offense against one of the best defenses in the country in Memphis.
The main shooter on this SLU squad is Gibson Jimerson, who drilled almost 40% from 3 last season and leads the Billikens in usage through two games.
SLU doesn’t shoot a lot of 3s and likes to play a physical style of basketball, crashing the boards at both ends of the floor.
Sophomore point guard Yuri Collins makes the offense go, but he can be a bit undersized at barely 6-feet. Also, he offers very little shooting ability from the outside.
Collins is shifty and one of the better passers in the country, but he has a brutal matchup against the length of Memphis in the middle.
SLU has the fifth-most bench minutes — based on early usage rates — and one of the most inexperienced rosters in the country. Part of this is because of the blowout wins, but the lack of minutes returning suggests that head coach Travis Ford is still tinkering and experimenting with roster rotations.
Memphis has easily the best roster of the Hardaway era, with an encouraging mix of youth and returning experience. The Tigers are long, they defend as well as any team in the country and the infusion of young offensive talent suggests that the sky is truly the limit for the Tigers.
They haven’t been tested at all thus far, but the Tigers protect the rim better than anyone in the country in the middle. Freshman Jalen Duren should help with that.
But it’s not just him.
Memphis is long everywhere, ranking 15th nationally in height. The Tigers had the best defense in the country last year, per KenPom, and currently sit third in his projections.
The Tigers were good enough at the end of last year to win 11 of their final 13 games, with the only two losses coming by a combined five points in heartbreaking fashion to Houston. The Cougars were a 2-seed and Final Four team.
There’s turnover again with Memphis, but freshman phenom Emoni Bates is a 6-foot-9 wing who is NBA bound and is already impressing at the collegiate level.
The second most important reason I’m bullish on Memphis this year is the returning backcourt of Lester Quinones and Landers Nolley, who were good two-way players last season and should help raise the floor of the Tigers considerably.
But most importantly is the return of DeAndre Williams at the four.
Memphis ran a lot of its offense through him last season and was very efficient when doing so. They had turnover issues and often had bouts of inconsistency, but the three returning starters are the key to unlocking the Memphis potential.
Saint Louis vs. Memphis Betting Pick
I often shy away from taking early-season favorites, but this is a bad matchup for Saint Louis, which doesn’t have the experience or scoring ability to consistently keep up with Memphis in this game.
The Tigers are in a statement spot here with a chance to prove themselves worthy of all of the hype from last season.
Saint Louis does most of its scoring on the inside and relies a lot on rebounding to produce its points. The problem is that the Billikens won’t be able to generate any easy points against the elite rim protection and length of the Tigers defense.
This is an entirely different game with Perkins. There aren’t many players more important to their teams than he is to SLU.
As long as the Tigers limit turnovers against a SLU defense that is average at forcing them, Memphis should be able to handle the Billikens at home.
There will be spots to fade Memphis this year when it gets inflated and overvalued in the American, but anything 12 or better is good for the Tigers here.
Pick: Memphis (bet to -12)