Providence vs St. John’s Odds, Picks: 2 Ways to Bet This Big East Clash
Pictured: St John’s Red Storm guard Andre Curbelo. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Providence vs St. John’s Odds
-110o / -110u
|St. John’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
St. John’s suffered a heartbreaking loss to Butler in a game mired in referee controversy in the final seconds on Tuesday night. The Red Storm lost the game by two, marking their fifth loss in six games and their sixth straight ATS loss. St. John’s notched its biggest win of the season at UConn on January 15, but Mike Anderson’s team has consistently underachieved since.
Providence and St. John’s played a thriller in their last meeting in Providence. In a game that came down to the final minute, Providence won by three, but failed to cover the 7-point spread. They’ll meet for the rematch in Madison Square Garden on Saturday, but St. John’s mindset must be considered given their performances of late and Tuesday’s tough loss.
You can make the case that this is an excellent buy low spot on the Johnnies, but you could have made the same case at various points over the past couple weeks and you’d be still searching for the bottom.
The biggest two differences from Providence last season and this season is that this team has made significant improvements in offensive rebounding and transition defense. The Friars were poor in transition defense last season (23rd percentile by Synergy), but have improved to the 79th percentile this season. That’ll be key in slowing down St. John’s, an offense looking to run at every opportunity. No offense in the country runs more than the Red Storm.
The Friars improvement on the offensive glass has helped make up for mediocre first shot offensive numbers. They were the beneficiaries of a ton of close game variance last year. This season, Providence has the second best offensive rebounding unit in the Big East and one of the 10 best in the entire country.
Providence doesn’t have the outside shooting to really space the floor, but it grinds much more inside, gets to the line and uses a lot of cutting action to generate easy backdoor looks at the rim.
The defense isn’t going to continue to allow just 27.9% shooting from beyond the arc in league play, but St. John’s is also not the team to exploit the Friars on the perimeter. The Red Storm are not good at hitting contested shots from the perimeter, nor do they shoot the 3 with frequency.
It’s hard to get a read on the Red Storm’s motivation. They haven’t had a performance in nearly a month that beat market expectations. I never want to accuse a team of mailing it in, but they’ve performed way below their talent level and have fared poorly in close games, which is a problem given this contest is expected to be close.
Shot selection decisions have been poor at times and empty possessions have killed them. However, it’s not all bad for the Red Storm in this matchup. They’re not going to get overmatched on the glass or give a ton of free possessions away to Providence.
The defense has struggled inside the arc, but teams have also made shots at an unsustainable rate against them from the interior. ShotQuality says the defense hasn’t been as bad as the recent results suggest.
The best case that can be made to bet on St. John’s is that no one wants to bet on the Red Storm right now. That’s a classic sign in betting that a team has reached its market floor.
Providence vs St. John’s Betting Pick
If this game is close late, St. John’s is one of the worst free throw shooting teams in the country. Providence is always in the bonus early, makes its free throws and has a closer in Jared Bynum. If you think St. John’s will be motivated Saturday in MSG, then the Red Storm are actually a touch undervalued in the market and you’re getting a discount given that they would have been favored if this game were played two weeks ago.
One interesting trend is that first-half unders in Madison Square Garden have been quite profitable in college basketball games over the past 13 seasons, per our Action BetLabs tool. First-half unders have hit at a 57% clip and returned an 8% ROI.
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