Pitt vs. St. John’s Odds & Picks: Bet Saturday’s Big Favorite

Pitt vs. St. John’s Odds & Picks: Bet Saturday’s Big Favorite article feature image

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  • Pitt travels to Madison Square Garden to take on St. John's in an ACC/Big East affair.
  • The Johnnies opened as nearly 14-point favorites, as the Panthers have been underwhelming to begin the new season.
  • Kyle Remillard offers up his top selection after previewing the MSG matchup.

Pitt vs. St. John's Odds

Saturday, Dec. 18
12 p.m. ET
Pitt Odds
-110o / -110u
St. John's Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

It’s time for Pittsburgh Panthers fans to buckle up, because it's going to be a long season. The Panthers are 3-7 on the year, including double-digit losses to The Citadel and UMBC.

The program has lost five of its last six games, including a home loss to Monmouth last time out. The offense is depleted and struggling to find any sort of identity.

Life won’t get any easier as they travel to Madison Square Garden to face St. John's, which is 8-2 on the season. The Red Storm have won all eight of their matchups against teams that rank outside the top 100 in the nation, according to KenPom.

The Johnnies suffered a two-point defeat to Indiana before getting trounced by Kansas in their two away games this year.

Pittsburgh will be pressed to find a source of offense if the Panthers want to stay competitive in this matchup against the up-tempo St. John's attack.

Pitt Can't Score Consistently

Pittsburgh opened last season 8-2, including a win over Duke, before the wheels fell off. Since then, the Panthers have won just five out of their 20 games, including losses to The Citadel, UMBC and Monmouth this season.

The seat is beginning to heat up for Jeff Capel III, who has struggled with keeping talent within the program. Three of the top scorers from last season are now assisting other programs after hitting the transfer portal, leaving the Pittsburgh offense in search of anyone who can find consistent buckets.

6-foot-9 forward John Hugley has emerged as the only reliable scoring option for the Panthers through his 15.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. But after him, the scoring becomes extremely inconsistent, with the next five leading scorers all shooting below 38% from the field.

The Panthers' shooting woes have doomed them all season, and there isn’t much reason to anticipate anything changing soon. They’re shooting 28% from 3-point range (317th), 47% on two-point attempts (250th) and 64% on free-throw attempts (323rd).

The group turns the ball over on 22% of its offensive possessions, which also ranks outside the top 300. If there is any bright spot for this offense, it’s being able to get to the free throw line, which they do on 44% of their field goal attempts.

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St. John's Pace Will Cause Problems 

It’s no secret that St. John’s plays at a lightning quick pace, as it ranks ninth in the nation in adjusted tempo.

The group thrives in turning defense to offense, as it ranks 28th nationally in defensive turnover possession. Those turnovers are quickly turned into easy buckets in transition, which is why the Red Storm hits 58% of their two-point attempts, good for 12th in the country.

Point guard Posh Alexander is the primary ball-handler that leads the break for St. Johns. He’s scored in double digits in every game this season while averaging 16.4 points to go along with 5.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

The leading scorer is Julian Champagnie, who is putting up 20.3 points per game while hitting 29-of-67 3-point attempts this season.

St. John’s has a deep roster that sees 11 players getting significant playing time due to its fast pace of play. Nine of those players are converting on above 45% of the Johnnies' field goal attempts this season.

The Red Storm will lean on their depth against a Pittsburgh offense that has yet to find its identity this season.

Pitt vs. St. John's Betting Pick

St. John’s has thrived at speeding up the game and forcing teams to play at its fast pace of play. That will be unfamiliar territory for Pittsburgh, which averages just 64 possessions per game compared to the 74 possessions that the Red Storm average.

St. John’s should succeed at forcing turnovers and creating transition opportunities on the other end. Pittsburgh has been one of the worst shooting teams in the nation, hitting 45% of its field goal attempts, which ranks 287th. The Panthers' 236th offensive efficiency rating will come back to haunt them in this matchup.

The Red Storm are hitting 56% of their field goal attempts, which ranks 15th in the country. They will lean on their offense and pace of play to run Pittsburgh out of the Garden on Saturday afternoon.

This is a historically bad Pittsburgh offense, and I'm going to continue to play against them until they prove they can find consistency.

Pick: St. John's -15 or better

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