Richmond vs. VCU Odds, Picks, Predictions For Friday’s College Basketball Showdown (February 18)

Richmond vs. VCU Odds, Picks, Predictions For Friday’s College Basketball Showdown (February 18) article feature image

Via G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyler Burton.

  • Richmond makes the crosstown trip to face VCU in Friday's rivalry matchup.
  • The Rams beat the Spiders on the road in their first meeting, but should you back them to sweep both games?
  • College basketball betting analyst Shane McNichol breaks down the matchup and shares his best bet below.

Richmond vs. VCU Odds

Friday, Feb. 18
7 p.m. ET
Richmond Odds
-110o / -110u
VCU Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

One of the joys of being an invested college basketball fan is discovering the heated rivalries that bubble beneath the radar. Everyone tunes in when Duke and North Carolina play, but there are so many more annual matchups that carry some real weight in the college basketball world.

Richmond and VCU fit the bill. The two share some of the tenants of any good rivalry. It starts with the proximity between the schools, just six miles separating the two campuses. These two schools also have the small, private school versus large state school dynamic that fuels other big battles like Duke-Carolina, Cincinnati-Xavier, and USC-UCLA.

Most importantly, both programs are in a strong place, each eyeing a chance to make the NCAA Tournament this March. VCU won the previous meeting on the road. The Spiders will be hungry for revenge, making this game even more fiery.

Richmond Spiders

The Spiders are loaded with experience. Junior forward Tyler Burton has played 78 games in a Richmond uniform, making him one of the less experienced Spiders on the roster.

Five seniors contribute for this team, including three in their fifth year with the program. That is more than a quirky coincidence. That experience translates to a team that has a high basketball IQ and plays well together. Richmond is the least turnover prone team in the Atlantic-10. Fifth-year senior Nick Sherod has the lowest Turnover Rate in the nation, per KenPom.

Burton has emerged as Richmond's leading scorer this season, with a season-high 36 points against St. Bonaventure, though it's fifth-year senior point guard Jacob Gilyard that drives Richmond offensively.

Gilyard, generously listed at five-foot-nine, is a deft pick-and-roll player with an eye for creating his own shot or an opportunity for a teammate. Fellow fifth-year senior Grant Golden is dangerous as a threat to pop to the 3-point line after screening on the perimeter.

In the first meeting against VCU, the Richmond offense was driven out of sync by the VCU defense. Burton shot 1-12 from the field, and the Spiders made just four of 22 from outside the arc. Richmond won the rebounding and turnover battles, creating a massive advantage in terms of extra possessions. The Spiders took seven more field goals than VCU and 14 more free throw attempts, yet they shot so poorly that the Rams escaped with a win.

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VCU Rams

The Rams are hot right now, winning seven of their last eight to inch onto the back fringes of the bubble conversation. Only two of the 112 bracket projections aggregated by Bracket Matrix currently have VCU in the field of 68, but that will change if the Rams can pick up some key wins down the stretch.

For a team that started the season 3-4 with home losses to Wagner and Chattanooga (neither a slouch, but not the kind of loss that a tournament team typically has on its resume), climbing back to the bubble has been an impressive feat. Senior Vince Williams has grown into a star for VCU. His 22-point, 10-rebound, eight-assist outing was the key in this season's earlier win over Richmond.

VCU would be a much better team if not for two glaring flaws. First, the Rams are incredibly turnover prone on the offensive end. The Rams rank 344th in the nation and dead last in the A-10 in taking care of the ball. VCU turns the ball over on more than 22 percent of their possessions.

Somehow, the Rams are able to balance that issue by taking the ball back from opponents. VCU forces a turnover on nearly 26 percent of its defensive possessions, third-highest in the nation. At times, watching a VCU game can look sloppy and chaotic, but that is where the Rams have thrived.

VCU's second major flaw comes on the glass. The Rams allow opponents to snatch 34 percent of their own misses, among the 20 highest marks nationally. That creates even more extra possessions for VCU's opponents. That has spelled trouble for the Rams.

In VCU's seven losses this season, the Rams are shooting four fewer field goals, two fewer 3-pointers, and five fewer free throws than their opponents. That leaves opposing teams some major room for error and missed shots.

Richmond vs. VCU Betting Pick

Richmond seems like a really strong team to take advantage of VCU's possession deficit issue. The Spiders' ability to avoid turnovers should create plenty of opportunities for the Richmond offense. In the first meeting between these two teams, Richmond had 13 turnovers, tied for the fewest of any team that VCU has beaten this year.

The Spiders also nabbed 16 offensive rebounds, tied for the most of any VCU opponent. Richmond had every chance to find scoring chances and simply had a dismal shooting night.

Shooting the ball at your own gym should, in theory, be easier than trying to do so down the road at the Siegel Center in front of a few thousand screaming VCU students.

There is, however, a chance for some shooting regression to come into play. VCU has allowed the third-lowest 3-point percentage in the nation, with Ram opponents hitting only 27 percent from long range. No matter how intense VCU's defense can be, that number will regress upward at some point. This Richmond team has been hot and cold night to night all season. If they connect on a hot night, there's an upset brewing here.

Pick: Richmond ML +125 (Play to +105 or take the spread if needed)

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