Rhode Island vs. South Florida Odds & Picks: Can the Rams Stop the Bulls Frontcourt on Saturday?
Joe Robbins/Getty Images. Pictured: David Cox (left) and Fatts Russell (right).
- Rhode Island will take on South Florida on Saturday for its third game of the season.
- The Rams fell in two close matchups to Arizona State and Boston College, while the Bulls downed Florida College by 10 to open their season.
- BJ Cunningham explains how to bet this game below.
Rhode Island vs. South Florida Odds
|Rhode Island Odds||+1 [BET NOW]|
|South Florida Odds||-1 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-105 / -115 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||138 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 5:30 p.m. ET|
Rhode Island looks to get its first win of the season when it battles South Florida at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Rhode Island opened its season with back-to-back losses to Arizona State and Boston College. The Rams were projected to finish in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic 10, so Saturday’s matchup could be a good resume builder for a team that will likely be on the bubble come March.
South Florida opened its season with a win over Florida College at home before heading to Connecticut. The Bulls are projected to finish in the top half of the American this season, so a win on Saturday is crucial to starting the season off on the right foot.
Rhode Island Rams
Rhode Island went through a whole host of changes in the offseason, but one thing remains true: the team revolves around Fatts Russell. The senior guard averaged 18.8 points per game last season and has 35 points through his first two games. He will likely be one of the front runners for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year when the postseason comes around.
However, the Rams are in a tough spot heading into the season because they have to replace 60% of their scoring from last season. Head coach David Cox brought in some talented transfers like Jalen Carey (from Syracuse), brothers Makhi and Makhel Mitchell (Maryland), Allen Betrand (Towson), and Malik Martin (Charlotte). However, it is going to take some time for the Rams to gel, and it’s shown in their first two games; they put up a 46.9% effective field goal percentage against Boston College and Arizona State.
The key to this game for the Rams is going to be tempo. Rhode Island ranks 45th in tempo, while South Florida ranks 315th. If they can turn this game into a track meet, they have a good chance of winning as short underdogs.
South Florida Bulls
South Florida finished the 2019-20 season below .500. However, it returns a key piece in 2020, with the return of center Alexis Yetna. Yetna is the Bulls’ best player and missed all of last season due to injury. As a freshman, Yetna almost averaged a double-double and will be a nightmare for Rhode Island to guard.
The Bulls did lose leading scorer Laquincy Rideau but made some key additions in the offseason. Head coach Brian Gregory brought in the highest-rated recruit of his tenure in four-star guard Caleb Murphy. He also snagged transfers Prince Oduro (from Mississippi State) and Luke Anderson (Iowa State).
The strength of South Florida last season was its defense, which projects to be even better in 2020. KenPom has South Florida projected as the 55th-best defense in terms of defensive efficiency, and getting Yetna back is only going to help.
The struggles for South Florida came on the offensive end of the floor last year. The Bulls were in the bottom 100 of college basketball in pretty much every shooting category and shot only 65% from the free-throw line. With a lot of talent coming in at the guard positions, South Florida should be able to improve its offense.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The key to this game is going to be Russell and the South Florida frontcourt. If Russell can take over and the Rams play at their pace, they should be able to win. If South Florida is able to slow the game down and get the ball to Yetna in the post, Rhode Island is going to have no answers.
I have South Florida projected as -1.22 favorites and the total projected at 139.67. So, based on the opening line on DraftKings, I do not see any value as of early Saturday morning. However, if South Florida drops to +1 or better, I would pull the trigger on the Bulls. On the flip side, if Rhode Island gets to +3.5 or better, I will be placing a bet on the Rams.