College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Utah State vs. Richmond: Why the Spiders Are the Play

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Utah State vs. Richmond: Why the Spiders Are the Play article feature image

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  • Richmond takes on Utah State at a netural site on Friday evening.
  • The Spiders won by 10 in their first game, while the Aggies shockingly lost by three to UC Davis.
  • Mike Randle breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.

Utah State vs. Richmond Odds

Friday, Nov. 12
06:00 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Utah State Odds
+100o / -120u
Richmond Odds
+100o / -120u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Consistency vs. change.

Which is greater?

Richmond brings back 14 scholarship players, including four starters on a team expected to battle St. Bonaventure for the Atlantic 10 title. The Spiders are also bolstered by the return of all-around explosive guard Nick Sherod, who missed the entire 2020-2021 season after knee surgery.

Utah State has achieved the goal of every college basketball team: sustained annual success. The Aggies are now led by Ryan Odom, the architect of the legendary UMBC upset over No. 1 Virginia in the 2018 NCAA Tournament.

Not only have they changed head coaches, but they also have a massive void in the middle with the departure of seven-foot center Neemias Queta.

These two teams meet in Annapolis, Maryland, as part of the 2021 Veterans Classic. Which team should we back in this battle of two strong mid-major programs?

Utah State Aggies

It's difficult to project how Utah State will play under a new head coach. Odom does get to work with three key players with a winning pedigree for the Aggies: seniors Justin Bean (11.4 PPG, 7.7 RPG) and Brock Miller (8.8 PPG), and sophomore guard Steven Ashworth (6.1 PPG).

Miller and Ashworth are strong 3-point shooters, with both players above 36% from 3-point range last year.

Odom brought six-foot-10 big Brandon Horvath (13.7 PPG, 8.7 RPG) and point guard R.J. Eytle-Rock from UMBC.

Horvath needs to provide a post presence to help with spacing for the Aggies' perimeter scoring. Eytle-Rock needs to provide solid point-guard play despite playing in a more challenging conference.

While at UMBC, Odom's teams were known for their offensive balance, never relying too heavily on inside scoring, 3-point proficiency or free-throw shooting. But Utah State will look very different without the dominance of Queta in the middle.

Last season, the Aggies ranked fourth-best in the country at interior defense. Utah State ranked 11th by allowing opponents just a 42.9% 2P field goal percentage. It also ranked third-best in block percentage and were a dominating rebounding team on both ends of the floor.

However, change takes time, and Utah State opened the season with a 72-69 home loss to UC Davis in a battle of Aggies. In that game, Utah State shot just 45% from 2P and 26.7% from beyond the arc.

The Aggies also shot just 17-of-28 (60%) from the free-throw line and produced 16 turnovers at home to a UC Davis team that was poor defensively the past two seasons.

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Richmond Spiders

Richmond opened its season with a 70-60 home win over a well-coached North Carolina Central team. The Spiders blitzed the Eagles at the start of the second half and used their perimeter pressure defense to force 21 turnovers.

Senior point guard Jacob Gilyard (12.3 PPG, 5.0 APG, 3.6 SPG) is a defensive menace who is on the precipice of setting the all-time NCAA record for steals. Tyler Burton, Nathan Cayo and Grant Golden all averaged over 12 points per game last year.

The superb veteran guard play prevents the Spiders from providing extra chances for their opponents. With Gilyard at the helm, Richmond has ranked 17th and eighth the past two years in offensive turnover percentage, per KenPom.

The biggest factor for this season is the return of Sherod, who averaged 14 points per game and shot 39.5% from 3P in 2019-2020.

Head coach Chris Mooney was shocked and thrilled when all his players opted to return for the 2021-2022 season. Richmond has a laser-like focus on this season.

To beat Richmond, a team must limit turnovers and defend at a high level. The Aggies failed to do either of those things in their opening game.

Utah State vs. Richmond Betting Pick

It's very difficult to pick against a veteran Spiders team, even in a neutral court game at Annapolis.

Utah State travels across country, with a new coach and new personnel to face a strong defensive Richmond team that doesn't turn the ball over.

I'm laying the 6.5 points with Richmond and I would do so up to 7.5 points.

Pick: Richmond -6.5 (Play to -7.5) 

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