Richmond vs. West Virginia College Basketball Odds & Picks: Back the Road Underdog Spiders

Richmond vs. West Virginia College Basketball Odds & Picks: Back the Road Underdog Spiders article feature image
Credit:

Porter Binks/Getty Images. Pictured: Miles McBride

  • Check out our betting preview for Sunday's college basketball matchup between the Richmond Spiders and West Virginia Mountaineers.
  • Below, you'll find Pat McMahon's comprehensive betting guide, including updated odds and his pick for today's game.

Richmond vs. West Virginia Odds

Richmond Odds +7.5 [BET NOW]
West Virginia Odds -7.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline  +280 / -350 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 145.5 [BET NOW]
Time Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds updated Sunday morning and via FanDuel, where you can get a $1,000 risk-free bet.

A pair of ranked teams meet in Morgantown on Sunday as the Richmond Spiders visit West Virginia. The Mountaineers’ athleticism and pressure defense squaring off against the Spiders’ skilled, veteran laden team should make for a great matchup on Sunday afternoon.

West Virginia is off to a 5-1 start, with their only loss coming against top ranked Gonzaga. They defeated North Texas on Friday afternoon, 62-50, and only have one day in between games to prepare for the Spiders.

Richmond came into the season with high expectations, and really took the nation by storm when it beat Kentucky in Rupp arena by 12 on Nov. 12. A win in Morgantown would vault Richmond up the rankings and really prove to the college basketball world that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Richmond Spiders

The Spiders were set to return all five starters from last year’s squad that was likely going to the NCAA Tournament. They caught a tough break in the preseason, however, when shooting guard Nick Sherod suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Losing their third leading returning scorer was a big blow, but his replacement in the starting lineup, Tyler Burton, is off to a phenomenal start. Burton is very athletic and a great two-player, and he’s averaging 12.8 points and 9 rebounds per game while making 43% of his 3-point attempts.

The backcourt duo of Jacob Gilyard and Blake Francis has been a staple in Richmond for the last several years. Francis is a microwave scorer who can knock down shots from distance, while also being able to take it to the rim.

Gilyard is a lightning-quick point guard who can pass and score, and is an absolute nightmare on the defensive end. Gilyard led the nation in steals per game last year, and is averaging a ridiculous 4.3 steals per game to start this season.

Two more talented seniors, Nathan Cayo and Grant Golden, round out the Spiders starting five in the frontcourt. The duo are the Spiders’ two leading scorers this season. Cayo, who was more known for his defense in the past, has really stepped his game up offensively.

Golden is a crafty big who’s putting up a team high 15.3 points per game while also chipping in 3.8 assists — a very high mark for a center. He can beat teams inside and out and is a tough matchup for just about any opposing center in the sport.

West Virginia Mountaineers

Like the Spiders, West Virginia returns most of their key players from last season. The experience has paid off early, as the Mountaineers won the Bad Boys Mowers Classic in South Dakota to start the season, and gave Gonzaga all it could handle in a 5-point loss to the Bulldogs.

The Mountaineers absolutely get after you on the defensive end of the floor. “Press Virginia” is suffocating opponents thus far, ranking ninth nationally in defensive efficiency according to KenPom. Bob Huggins will play 10 or 11 guys and has a deep guard rotation, with the intent of wearing the opposition down by pressing the entire game.

The biggest gift for Huggins in the offseason was getting both Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe to return to campus rather than going pro. The two big men get after opponents on both ends of the floor and form one of the nation’s top frontcourt duos. Culver is averaging a double-double and is the better offensive player of the two. Tshiebwe is a menace on the defense end of the floor, but is really struggling with foul trouble and as a result is only averaging 19 minutes per game.

Guard play was an issue at times for West Virginia last year, but Miles McBride emerged as a go-to guy late in the season and has really stepped up his game this year. McBride has been much more efficient thus far, increasing his scoring (15.2 ppg) and assists (4.4 apg), while also cutting down on turnovers. 

Outside shooting was a major concern during their skid in conference play last season, and is still an area the Mountaineers need to improve upon. Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman are both capable shooters, but they struggled with consistency last year. Sherman is off to a hot start this season, hitting 9 of his 15 attempts from beyond the arc. It’ll be a huge boost to the offense if he can keep up his production on the offensive end throughout the season.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

In order to beat West Virginia, you need to have excellent guard play to handle the Mountaineers full court pressure. The Spiders have that in Gilyard and Francis. 

You also need to have an answer for Culver and Tshiebwe down low. Nathan Cayo is a good enough athlete and defender to give Culver problems. With Tshiebwe’s issues with foul trouble well known, look for the veteran Golden to go right at him early and often and try to take him out of the game.

The bottom line is the Spiders have the talent, experience, and patience needed to deal with West Virginia’s pressure. I think we’ll see a close game the whole way and the Richmond will have a chance to win outright.

Pick: Richmond +8 (-110). Play down to +6.

[Bet now at FanDuel and get a $1,000 risk-free bet.]