College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Butler vs. St. John’s (Friday, February 18)

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Butler vs. St. John’s (Friday, February 18) article feature image

Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images. Pictured: LaVall Jordan (Butler)

Butler vs. St. John's Odds

Friday, Feb. 18
5 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Butler Odds
-110o / -110u
St. John's Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Butler and St. John's attest to the depth of the Big East this season.

Both are decent basketball teams with plenty of good qualities. But both have been swallowed up by the conference's best.

Butler currently sits at 6-9 in conference play while St. John's is 6-8.

However, over each team's last five games, the two are a combined 9-1 against the spread.

Betting on the Bulldogs and Red Storm has been a bettor's dream. But which team do we back when they play each other?

Butler Bulldogs

Butler is generally a defensively sound team. But this season, the Bulldogs have been nothing more than lucky.

The Bulldogs are 44th nationally in 3-point defense (30.5%) and second in conference-only play. However, the perimeter defense is also sub-200 in defensive turnover rate and far below average defending hand-offs and cutters.

It's clear that opposing teams should make more shots as the season goes on. ShotQuality's metrics project that Butler should be just 10-16 based on the quality of shots taken and allowed, rather than 13-13.

Offensively, Butler is a disaster. The Bulldogs rely heavily on Chuck Harris, who takes over 28% of the team's shots. But he's not executing, recording just a 44.1 eFG% and a 92.7 ORtg on the way to 10.8 points per game.

Butler also can't run any set right. The Bulldogs rank below the 40th percentile in transition PPP, pick-and-roll PPP, cutting PPP and spot-up PPP. There's no way to get a solid shot.

Recent home wins over Marquette and DePaul show promise for LaVall Jordan's squad, and the Bulldogs are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games. However, the ceiling for this team is very low, and Butler should be one of the few Big East teams to be left out of the at-large conversation.

St. John's Red Storm

At the minimum, St. John's is fun to watch.

Julian Champagnie is one of the best scoring wings in the conference. He's averaging almost 19 points while taking almost 30% of his team's shots. He recorded his 10th 20-point game in the team's last big win over Xavier.

Solid out from Julian Champagnie against Georgetown. Put up 27 points (9-20 FG, 6-12 3PT) while displaying his tough shotmaking (off-the-dribble and off-movement)

— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) February 7, 2022

Posh Alexander is also one of the best point guards in the Big East. The sophomore is top-100 nationally in assist rate — averaging 5.1 per game — while also being an elite on-ball defender. Alexander grades out in the 83rd percentile in half-court PPP allowed (.712).

And thanks to Alexander running the offense, St. John's is top-10 nationally in assist rate as a team.

The Red Storm also play so fast. They're fourth nationally in tempo and pace the Big East in that stat.

The offense almost reminds me of Iowa's at times. SJU works quickly and shares the ball efficiently while avoiding turnovers. The Red Storm are just not quite as efficient.

The interior defense is solid. SJU ranks 35th in 2-point defense this season and paces the Big East in defensive turnover rate during conference play.

But none of it has translated to wins.

SJU has just two KenPom top-100 wins this season (Seton Hall and Xavier). With only five Big East regular season games left, Mike Anderson's squad will have to win the conference tournament to make the Big Dance.

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Butler vs. St. John's Betting Pick

We've already seen some sharp money hit Butler, pushing this line down from 8.5 to 8.

I'm ready to back the sharp money.

Butler is solid to back as an underdog. The Bulldogs may have been lucky on the defensive end, but they do play hard. Jordan also likes to slow the game down, ranking 341st nationally in tempo.

Those are two traits to look for when backing underdogs, especially when we're catching close to three possessions.

The last three games between these two have been decided by less than eight points. I'm willing to bet that happens again.

Pick: Butler +8 (Play to +7)

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