College Basketball Odds & Picks for LSU vs. Saint Louis: Betting Value on Underdog Tigers
John Korduner/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Javonte Smart.
- The LSU Tigers will head north to Missouri on Saturday to take on the St. Louis Billikens on the hardwood.
- LSU opened its season with a win over SIU Edwardsville on Thursday, and St. Louis did the same against Edwardsville on Wednesday.
- BJ Cunningham breaks down the game before and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.
LSU vs. Saint Louis Odds
|LSU Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Saint Louis Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+120/-143 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||150 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 3 p.m. ET|
LSU and Saint Louis square off Saturday in the Billiken Classic in St. Louis after each opened their respective seasons with victories over SIU Edwardsville.
The Tigers are poised to be in the top half of the SEC again this season but will have to deal with the loss of leading scorer Skylar Mays. LSU is known for only one thing at this point: its offense. The Tigers finished fourth in offensive efficiency last season, per KenPom, and they’re poised to repeat those numbers as KenPom has them projected to finish in sixth place.
However, will LSU’s defense be enough to put it among the elite SEC teams?
On the other side, Saint Louis is projected to be one of the best teams in the Atlantic 10 this season. KenPom has the Billikens ranked 45th in the preseason rankings, and they will be among the mid-major elites this season.
Saint Louis gets a prime opportunity in this spot to earn a win against a Power Five school on its home floor.
Will Wade’s teams are usually a one-trick pony, and it will be will be no different in 2020. The Tigers are projected to have a top-10 offense again, aided by a host of newcomers. Cam Thomas, a five-star guard and Oak Hill Academy’s all-time leading scorer, joins a starting lineup that returns three starters who averaged double figures last season.
LSU also added transfers Shareef O’Neal (UCLA) and Josh LeBlanc (Georgetown), who will add a ton of depth and scoring options that should overwhelm most teams this season.
However, the Tigers are terrible on defense. They finished 179th in defensive efficiency last season and find themselves projected to be right around there again. For LSU to be successful, it will have to do it by putting up totals in the 80s and 90s to win games.
Saint Louis Billikens
The Billikens are the exact opposite of LSU, as Travis Ford’s group is one of the best defensive teams in the country. They return all of their main contributors, including leading scorers Jordan Goodwin, Javonte Perkins and Hasahn French.
However, it looks like the Billikens could be without French for this matchup.
Travis Ford said Fred Thatch Jr. (sprained knee) won’t play Saturday against LSU and Hasahn French (concussion protocol) will be a game-time decision. French has done some cardio work the last two days. Ford hopes Thatch will only be out “a week or so.”
— stu durando (@studurando) November 27, 2020
If French can play, it will be a huge help to the Billikens’ defense, which projects to be one of the best in the country. KenPom has the Billikens projected as the 23rd-best defense in terms of efficiency.
The Saint Louis offense struggled early on in the season last year but improved drastically down the stretch. The Billikens were able to win six of their final regular-season games in Atlantic 10 play. That said, their offense will need to go to another level if they are going to keep pace with LSU.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The key for LSU in this game is to dominate on the offensive end of the floor. Saint Louis’ offense is not even close to its level, so the Tigers will win this game if it’s played in the high 70s or higher.
For Saint Louis, it’s all going to come down to its defense and controlling the pace. If the Billikens can control the pace and not let the Tigers turn it into a track meet, they’ll have a shot at getting a résumé-building win at home.
I have Saint Louis projected at -3.30 favorites, but if French can’t play, I would have it as -1.40 favorites. If French can’t go, I think there’s value on the LSU moneyline of +124, as it should be able to dominate in the post.
If French is able to play, this game would be a stay away for me.
Pick: LSU +124 (if French is out).