VCU vs Saint Louis Basketball Odds, Predictions | Friday NCAAB Betting Preview (Feb. 3)

VCU vs Saint Louis Basketball Odds, Predictions | Friday NCAAB Betting Preview (Feb. 3) article feature image

Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: VCU Rams guard Zeb Jackson.

VCU vs Saint Louis Odds

Friday, Feb. 3
7 p.m. ET
VCU Rams Odds
-110 / -110
Saint Louis Billikens Odds
-110 / -110
Updated odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The unpredictable and disappointing Atlantic 10 continues league play Friday night in Chaifetz Arena. A battle between the Saint Louis Billikens and VCU Rams will be crucial in determining the Atlantic 10 regular season champion.

Here is a look at the odds and my pick for St. Louis vs. VCU.

VCU Rams

One week ago, the Rams stood tall and in sole possession of first place in the A10. Then, a shocking home loss to the struggling Bonnies last Saturday further indicated the unpredictable nature of the conference.

Having snuck past a slumping Davidson program still looking to find its footing without Bob McKillop, VCU now attempts to string together consecutive road victories.

The only consistent element in the A10 this year is the inconsistency of each team. If you haven't yet seen their content on Twitter, I would encourage you to check out @SickosCBB. They help emphasize the up-and-down nature of college basketball by creating a wheel showcasing a team that has beaten another.

A wheel is "closed" when every team in a conference has at least one win and one loss. A10 teams certainly fit the criteria to complete their own unique wheel.

Given the variance in performance from game-to-game, including from presumed contenders such as VCU and St. Louis, I'm not sure how you can make a strong argument to take either side on the spread.

At first glance, my gut told me this total was too high. Naturally, I began searching for ways to disprove that initial under lean. Ultimately, I found support for my under lean.

VCU hasn't played a game that has reached 143 points in any of its previous seven contests. The Rams are far from prolific from 3-point range, ranking in the bottom 100 in the country in shooting percentage from the perimeter. They are, however, a terrific defensive team.

Coach Mike Rhoades is willing to play nine or 10 men in order to keep his team fresh and energized defensively. His game plan will surely emphasize on-ball pressure to disrupt SLU's talented offense.

VCU is great at disrupting its opponent's rhythm and creating turnovers. The Rams defensive intensity will be key in slowing down Yuri Collins, the Billikens' star creator.

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Saint Louis Billikens

St. Louis has continued to struggle with consistency in the Travis Ford era. It seems each opportunity to seize momentum is met with a deflating loss. Such was the case again earlier this week as the Billikens lost to Fordham in their first game after settling into the outright lead in the A10.

I wish the Billikens gave us a better inclination of the team we can expect to see on a nightly basis. Bettors must rely on trends and data over larger sample sizes in order to make informed decisions.

Unfortunately, the sample size of Ford's tenure and the '22-'23 Billikens tells us there is a wide range of outcomes possible from one game to the next.

St. Louis will be feeling the pressure to stay atop the A10 Friday night. The Billikens' fanbase will be feeling that anxiety as well.

Consequently, I would expect to see St. Louis play somewhat tentatively and follow the pace VCU wants to dictate.

VCU vs Saint Louis Betting Pick

Since VCU joined the A10 in 2012, St. Louis and VCU have faced each other 12 times. The total in those games has reached 143 points just once. And, that one occurrence required overtime to reach its eventual 147-point total.

St. Louis and VCU are a complete contrast of styles. The former is effective on the offensive end and should win the rebounding battle, while the latter wins games with its defensive prowess. Ultimately, the team that wins the tempo battle may also win the game.

However, my inclination is to take the under. It is difficult to know which version of either team will show up on Friday night. I trust the VCU defense the most. Coach Rhoades will know the best path to victory for his team is to muck the game up and limit possessions. I trust the Rams to dictate pace.

Since a slower pace does not necessarily mean VCU will find a way to score, I land on taking the under instead of the Rams and the points.

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