College Basketball Odds & Picks for VCU vs. Saint Louis: Value Lies on Total

College Basketball Odds & Picks for VCU vs. Saint Louis: Value Lies on Total article feature image

Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images. Pictured: Ace Baldwin (VCU)

  • VCU squares off with Saint Louis in a critical A-10 battle.
  • The Rams are not only fighting for position in the A-10 Tournament, but they are trying to reach the NCAA Tournament.
  • Stuckey breaks down where the value lies in this matchup.

VCU vs. Saint Louis Odds

Saturday, March 4
4 p.m. ET
VCU Odds
-110o / -110u
Saint Louis Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By the time VCU takes the court in Saint Louis to wrap up its regular season, the Rams will know if they have a shot at a share of the A-10 title and the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament.

If Davidson loses earlier in the day, VCU would get the No. 1 seed with a win over SLU.

However, Mike Rhoades' team has much loftier aspirations of reaching the NCAA Tournament. Currently, the Rams rank 49th in the NET and are squarely on the bubble. In fact, heading into the weekend, the Rams were the last team out, per Bracket Matrix.

This is an enormous game for their tournament resume.

While Saint Louis likely doesn’t have an at-large chance, I’m sure the Billies would like to end their regular season with a home win. They also could secure the final double-bye in the A-10 Tournament, but only if St. Bonaventure loses Friday night.

This will mark the first and only meeting of the regular season between these two clubs. They did meet in Richmond last year in a game VCU pulled out by a final score of 67-65.

Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.

VCU Rams

When it comes to VCU’s offense, if it can get out in transition — often as the result of forced turnovers — it is deadly, ranking in the 88th percentile.

However, when forced to operate in the half-court, it can get ugly, as the Rams rank in just the 15th percentile in that department, per Synergy.

SLU’s transition defense is serviceable, but certainly not elite. It will basically come down to whether or not Yuri Collins can handle the pressure.

Saint Louis Billikens

These two teams profile pretty similarly in many ways. Both offenses want to get out in transition — where they excel — and constantly attack the rim.

This likely won’t turn into a 3-point shooting contest — VCU ranks 340th in 3P rate and SLU ranks 333rd — even though both offenses have hit at a very respectable clip from beyond the arc on the season.

Saint Louis goes as Collins goes, and relies on its ability to dominate the offensive glass.

Collins ranks second in the nation in assist rate, but can be a bit turnover prone, as evidenced by his sky-high 29.8% turnover rate. That issue can become especially problematic against pressure-heavy defenses, which VCU certainly is.

VCU ranks third in the country in turnover rate. The Rams also press at the seventh-highest rate nationally (31.3%) and rank in the top-20 in efficiency when doing so.

For what it’s worth, Saint Louis only ranks in the 32nd percentile against the press (over 200 possessions) this season, which speaks to some of Collins’ turnover issues.

Unless shooting guard Gibson Jimerson has a huge day from the outside, it could be a long day for the SLU offense against the elite VCU defense.

The Rams can also contain the ball-screen action the Billikens will run for Collins.

VCU’s length and excellent defense at the rim could end up being the difference.

Now, if the refs are calling this game super tight — especially in favor of the home team — that could be a major path to points for SLU. Unlike recent years, the Billikens are great from the line, hitting at a top-35 clip nationally.

Even without a tight whistle, VCU, of course, does foul at a high frequency with its pressure regardless. These two teams actually foul at the highest rates in league play, but VCU is nowhere near as reliable from the charity stripe.

The free throw line could have a major say here.

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VCU vs. Saint Louis Betting Pick

These two teams come into this one headed in opposite directions. SLU is 3-4 over its past seven, while VCU is surging, having won eight straight.

SLU should have plenty of success on the offensive glass, which is a weakness of VCU. However, the potential turnover issues and Jimerson’s liability on defense would make me too uncomfortable to side with the short home pup.

This ultimately looks like a very sharp line. If anything, I’d look at the under 136.5 (down to 135) given the resistance I think both defenses can provide at the rim for two rim-reliant offenses.

Just hope you don’t get too tight of a whistle.

Pick: Under 136.5 (Play to 135)

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