Richmond vs VCU Odds & Prediction: Betting Value on Spiders?
Pictured: Neal Quinn #32 of the Richmond Spiders. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
Richmond vs VCU Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
VCU has established itself as the class of the A-10. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean much when the league is in such a down year.
Richmond characterizes this “down year” mentality better than any team in the conference. At 14-14 overall and 7-8 in league play, Richmond sits just outside the top 150 in KenPom and boasts a 1-5 Quad 1/Quad 2 record.
But is it worth betting on VCU as a nine-point conference favorite? The Rams are only 10-13 against the spread (ATS) as a favorite this year.
Before we start, all of us at The Action Network wish Chris Mooney the best as he undergoes heart surgery. As one of the nation’s longest-tenured coaches, we hope to see him back on the sidelines soon.
Peter Thomas will guide the Spiders for the rest of the season, and he has a project ahead of him.
Despite Richmond’s recent victory over Saint Louis, the Spiders have been trending down all season. They’ve won just four of their past seven games behind one of the conference’s worst defenses.
Photo via BartTorvik.
There are plenty of positives to pull from Richmond’s play, however.
First, the defense has gotten unlucky. ShotQuality projects Richmond for positive defensive shooting regression across the board, and the site has graded four of the Spiders’ past six losses as analytical wins.
Specifically, Richmond is a rock-solid, defensive-rebounding team that does a good job of defending without fouling. Meanwhile, 7-footer Neal Quinn spearheads the league’s best post-up defense.
Second, Tyler Burton leads a decent interior attack. Burton is in the running for an All-Conference spot, mostly thanks to his interior scoring ability.
Richmond runs a Princeton offense that largely works off-ball, and Burton’s feel for cutting and finding open space is why he’s averaging nearly 20 points per game. He’s also a solid three-level scorer with good touch and a smooth stroke.
TYLER BURTON IS REALLY LIKE THAT 🚨
🔥 36 PTS
🔥 7 REB
🔥 71-61 W@Tyler_Burton1 @andrew_canavos @SpiderMBB pic.twitter.com/Hc6BqxhSY6
— SLAM University (@slam_university) February 5, 2022
Richmond is in the thick of the league race, so there’s no doubt the Spiders will be motivated.
VCU is built on its aggressive, chaotic defense. The Rams rank fourth nationally in defensive turnover rate and are tops in the A-10.
Within that style, the Rams lead the league in defensive efficiency.
However, I sometimes wonder just how good this defense is.
The Rams’ ShotQuality metrics are a mess. VCU allows .89 PPP in conference play, but the site projects that number should be closer to .98.
According to ShotQuality’s measurement of the quality of shots allowed, VCU is the 12th-best defense in the A-10. And the Rams are especially weak against ball screens and post-ups.
I tend to think there’s some small separation between ShotQuality’s stats and the actual stats on the extremes, but it’s hard to dispute that VCU’s defense is overvalued.
Meanwhile, VCU is becoming an elite rim-pressuring team on offense. The Rams can ball-screen with the best teams in the nation, just as long as Ace Baldwin is in the fold.
Ace Baldwin with a clutch bucket for @VCU_Hoops 🔥
The Rams lead by two with 15.1 seconds left. pic.twitter.com/pjJoTA4jrW
— CBS Sports College Basketball 🏀 (@CBSSportsCBB) February 1, 2023
And while you can dispute VCU’s overall defensive numbers, you cannot dispute Baldwin’s defensive impact. By EvanMiya’s DBPR metric, Baldwin is the seventh-most impactful defender in the A-10.
However, it’s worth mentioning the top two conference players in that stat are VCU’s Jalen DeLoach and Jamir Watkins.
Richmond vs VCU Betting Pick
Overall, I think VCU is slightly overvalued, and Richmond is slightly undervalued. And from the classic regression lens, the ShotQualityBets model projects VCU as only a 1.5-point favorite.
I can buy into that narrative and bet on Richmond as a nine-point underdog.
I think Richmond has the motivation factor in their corner, given the Spiders are within one game of six teams in the A-10 tournament with three games to go.
I also think Richmond has the best player on the floor in Burton. While Baldwin is excellent, Burton can expose interior defenses in a way Baldwin can’t.
Finally, nine points is a lot between teams that rank among the bottom-six in the A-10 teams in tempo. Catching two possessions in that scenario feels like a blessing.
Pick: Richmond +9.5 (Play to +7.5)
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