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Saint Louis vs. Davidson Odds & Picks: Bet Wildcats as Short Favorites (Feb. 19)

Saint Louis vs. Davidson Odds & Picks: Bet Wildcats as Short Favorites (Feb. 19) article feature image
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Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Davidson Wildcats guard Hyunjung Lee (1)

  • The Saint Louis Billikens and Davidson Wildcats meet for an A-10 clash on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Wildcats enter as short favorites, but is that where the betting value lies?
  • Alex Hinton thinks so, and he explains his reasoning below.

Saint Louis vs. Davidson Odds

Saturday, Feb. 19
3:30 p.m. ET
CBS Sports Network
Saint Louis Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
141.5
-102o / -120u
+120
Davidson Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
141.5
-102o / -120u
-144
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Saint Louis is fighting for its NCAA Tournament life and its chances to grab an at-large berth may be on life support after the last week. The Billikens were swept in their home-and-home with St. Bonaventure. Though the Billikens did rebound on Wednesday for a comfortable 90-64 victory over LaSalle.

Saint Louis is 18-8 and 9-4 in the A-10. It is No. 56 in the NCAA Net Rankings, though the Bracket Matrix has it out of the projected NCAA Tournament field. It will have a chance to add an impressive win to its resume when it takes on Davidson on Saturday afternoon.

Davidson is 21-4 and in first place in the A-10 at 11-2. The Wildcats had been playing with fire recently, constantly falling behind in the first half. Usually Davidson comes from behind, but it was unable to mount a comeback in its 72-65 loss to Rhode Island last Saturday. The Wildcats did get back in the win column by beating Duquesne 72-61 on Monday night. Following Saint Louis, Davidson will be at Duquesne on Wednesday.

Davidson has won six of the eight meetings against SLU, most recently 71-59 in Jan. 2020. This year’s matchup pits the conference’s two highest-scoring teams against each other. Which offense will shine brighter on Saturday?


Saint Louis Billikens

The Billikens are led by one of the nation’s best floor generals in Yuri Collins. The sophomore averages 11.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, a nation-leading 8.3 assists and 2.1 steals, second in the A-10. The Billikens’ leading scorer is freshman guard Gibson Jimerson, who averages 16.6 points per game. He is fifth in the conference with 61 threes and eighth in three-point percentage at 41.5%.

Fellow freshman Jordan Nesbitt averages 9.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and is shooting 36% from deep. Forward Francis Okoro averages 10.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. He shoots 59.8% from the field, third in the A-10.

Saint Louis is 25th nationally in scoring at 79.1 points per game. It is 31st in offensive rating and 46th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Billikens are 33rd in three-point shooting at 37.3% from behind the arc. Six different players shoot at least 35% from three, led by Jimerson.

Despite not being one of the nation’s biggest teams, SLU is one of the best rebounding teams. It is 26th nationally with 39.3 rebounds and 12th in offensive rebound percentage. Saint Louis is +7.3 in rebounding margin per game.

Saint Louis is 68th in both adjusted defensive efficiency rating and defensive rating. It holds its opponents to 30.9% from behind the arc, which is third-best in the conference. However, SLU is prone to fouling (18.4 per game) and allows nearly 20 free throw attempts per game. It has been lucky as opponents are only shooting 67.8% from the stripe, but that luck may run out against Davidson.

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Davidson Wildcats

There are not many teams in the A-10 that shoot the three ball better than Saint Louis, but Davidson is one of the them. It shoots 38.3% from deep, which is second in the conference and 16th nationally. Foster Loyer is third in the A-10 in three-point percentage, while Michael Jones is sixth at 43.8% and 42.7%, respectively.

However, Davidson also makes 55% of its two-point field goals, which is 23rd nationally and it is 12th in effective field goal percentage. When you put it altogether, the Wildcats rank 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency and ninth in offensive rating.

Loyer leads the team with 16.5 points and 3.5 assists per game. Guard Hyunjung Lee is averaging 15.8 points and 6.2 rebounds. He broke out of a recent shooting slump with a 20-point performance on 8-for-15 shooting from the field against Duquesne. Forward Luka Brajkovic averages 14.9 points and 7.3 rebounds. He is an excellent shooting big man at 39% from beyond the arc. Jones averages 12.2 points and 3.2 rebounds.

Well Davidson is proficient at the offensive end, it can struggle defensively. It ranks 216th in adjusted defensive efficiency, 226th in defensive rating and 209th in effective field goal percentage allowed. It also does not defend the three-point line well. For the season, it is 233rd in three-point percentage defense at 34.4% and that has ticked up to 35.7% in A-10 play.

Davidson does a good job of not fouling and only commits 14.7 fouls per game. It only allows 15.2 free throws  per game, though its opponents are making 73.8% of them.


Saint Louis vs. Davidson Betting Pick

Davidson is 10-1 at home this season and Saturday it will be a Blackout, so Belk Arena will be rocking. Saint Louis is 3-3 on the road in conference play. It has also struggled against the better teams in the conference. The Billikens are 2-3 against Dayton, Richmond and St. Bonaventure.

This should be a high-scoring game, but Davidson has the more efficient offense. It also may win the game at the foul line. If SLU racks up a ton of fouls, Davidson figures to knock its free throws at a much higher rate than most of the Billikens’ opponents this season. Loyer shoots 94% at the line, Jones is at 87% and Lee is at 80%. Additionally, getting Okoro into foul trouble and out of the paint will be a boost for Davidson.

I’ll be backing Davidson as a short home favorite and would play it up to -3.

Pick: Davidson -2 (Play to -3)

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