St. Bonaventure vs. Boise State Odds, Picks & Predictions: Back the Underdog Broncos in Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic Opener
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- The Shriners Children's Charleston Classic begins on Thursday with St. Bonaventure and Boise State tipping off at 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
- The Bonnies opened as 7-point favorites, but since then the Boise State Broncos have earned sufficient betting support to narrow the point spread to just 4.5.
- Below, you'll find updated odds, plus our picks and predictions for today's opening-round matchup between St. Bonaventure and Boise State.
St. Bonaventure vs. Boise State Odds
|St. Bonaventure Odds|
+100o / -120u
|Boise State Odds|
-110o / -110u
Kicking off the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic will be the Boise State Broncos and the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.
This could be the most entertaining game of Thursday, where two mid-to-high majors prove their worth at a NCAA Tournament run.
Here is my betting breakdown of the entire tournament and how the bracket could settle, but focusing on only this matchup, the Bonnies are a slight favorite.
Both teams have struggled from downtown thus far this season and have run at a slow pace. St. Bonaventure likely wins this game, but the spread could be a bit closer.
The Bonnies return most of their lineup — outside of Alejandro Vasquez — from their 2020-2021 NCAA Tournament team.
They return the bulk of their lineup that includes Kyle Lofton, Jaren Holmes, Dominick Welch, Jalen Adaway and Osun Osunniyi.
Head coach Mark Schmidt added depth via the transfer portal by bringing in Quadry Adams (Wake Forest), Abdoul Karim Coulibaly (Pittsburgh), Linton Brown (JUCO), Oluwasegun Durosinmi (JUCO) and four freshmen recruits. Schmidt most likely utilizes the elders on his roster, as he did during a close call from Canisius.
Lofton is the quarterback of this team, but having four other guys who can score helps produce a prolific offense. He will facilitate the ball and Osunniyi is the anchor down low.
The Bonnies love to dictate the pace of play. This season, they rank 318th in adjusted tempo, per KenPom (last year they were 320th). They will use up most of their allotted clock and force the opponent to do the same with their potent defense.
They ranked 12th last year in effective FG percentage against, and this trend will continue this season with the same group of players.
The Bonnies need to figure out their issues from 3-point range. Against two lesser opponents, they only shot 20.7% from behind the arc. Since they are returning virtually their entire lineup, this should indicate further positive regression.
They need this to occur in this tournament. Otherwise, they will likely end up in the consolation bracket.
The Broncos had some standard turnover, losing Derrick Alston and RayJ Dennis from last season.
They added three freshmen, but the source of strength in this team resides in its upperclassmen, Marcus Shaver Jr., Devonaire Doutrive, Abu Kigab, Emmanuel Akot, Mladen Armus, Max Rice and Naje Smith. Six of these players are seniors, so this is their season to make a run at the Mountain West title.
Alston was clearly the most prolific scorer on last year’s roster, but this lineup has more balance, as they can put the ball in the hoop from any of their five positions.
Armus will match up well with Osunniyi, at least offensively, even though Osunniyi averaged almost three blocks per game last year. Otherwise, Boise State is much taller.
This is the Broncos’ first edge. They ranked 24th in defensive rebounding, which will negate second-chance opportunities for the Bonnies.
Boise also runs at a much faster pace than St. Bonaventure does. The Broncos only used up 16.5 seconds per possession in 2020-2021. Leon Rice seems to have a similar plan this season. This could throw a stick in the spokes of the Bonnies.
Other than that, both teams have a similar profile.
Losing Alston hurts the 3-point prospects for the Broncos. He was their second-best outside shooter, but Shaver, Rice, Akot and Doutrive all shot over 33% from downtown last year.
They are only 7-for-42 from long range in two games, though, so like the Bonnies, this needs to be figured out to produce offensive results in modern-day college hoops.
Finally, Kigab is the crucial piece in this game. Last season, he averaged 1.2 steals and 0.9 blocks per game. He can play both on the block as a stretch 4 or on the wing. This gives him the capability to guard anyone from Lofton to Adaway.
If he can avoid foul trouble, the Broncos will look much stronger defensively.
St. Bonaventure vs. Boise State Betting Pick
St. Bonaventure is the better team in this matchup, but not by as much as most may think.
Boise State still has a strong lineup of upperclassmen. The Broncos have the defensive matchups to limit scoring on behalf of the Bonnies and they can crash the glass defensively far better than St. Bonaventure can.
Take the Broncos at +7 and play it down to +4.