College Basketball State of the Atlantic 10 Betting Report: Is Dayton Worth a Play?
Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Elijah Weaver (Dayton)
As January winds down, conference play is in full swing.
With George Mason taking the court last week, every A-10 member has resumed playing after several games were postponed at the start of the year.
A pair of title favorites have emerged while another may be joining the mix.
Here are the latest betting storylines from the Atlantic 10, along with a preview of what’s to come over the next couple of weeks.
Davidson, St. Bonaventure Pace Field With Game Looming
After a 1-2 start, Davidson has ripped off 15 straight wins.
On Saturday, it overcame a 13-point deficit to pull off a 69-66 victory at Fordham. Davidson ranks ninth in offensive rating and 14th in adjusted offensive efficiency. The Wildcats pace the conference with a 6-0 record.
Davidson sits at +140 on DraftKings to win the league, so the value is no longer there, especially if you were able to get them at +550.
With a favorable upcoming schedule — VCU, La Salle, at St. Bonaventure, at George Washington and Saint Joseph’s — you likely will not get a better number on Davidson anytime soon, barring upsets.
After its first two conference games were postponed, St. Bonaventure is 3-1 in the Atlantic 10 following Friday night’s 64-56 win over Duquesne. The Bonnies currently sit in second place in the A-10 standings.
The Bonnies are at George Mason and host Saint Joseph’s before they welcome Davidson to town next Tuesday.
On Dec. 1, St. Bonaventure was -110 to win the Atlantic 10. If you do not like laying juice on futures, you probably laid off. However partly due to Davidson’s emergence, St. Bonaventure is now plus money.
Davidson and St. Bonaventure will only meet once in the regular season, so the winner will hold the tiebreaker if the race comes down to it. While the league would award co-regular season champions, most books will settle winners based off the top seed in the conference tournament.
If you already have Davidson +550 or better, grabbing St. Bonaventure at +260 on DraftKings is a solid hedge. At this point, I would feel good about cashing one of those tickets.
Back in November, Dayton beat Kansas 74-73 at the ESPN Events Invitational in one of the best games of the season. It also has wins over Miami — which looks much more impressive now — and Virginia Tech.
However, the Flyers finished non-conference play at 7-5.
Dayton has been playing well of late, though, winning 11 of its last 15 and is 4-2 in conference. It already has wins over Saint Louis and St. Bonaventure — a 68-50 thumping — but also owns a loss to George Mason. Dayton is inconsistent, but at its best, it has proven it can beat anyone.
Dayton’s offense will determine how far it can go. The Flyers’ conference losses — VCU and George Mason — were both by only one point. However, it scored 101 points combined in those two games.
Dayton is 111th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 130th in offensive rating.
The Flyers do have a top-50 defense, though.
Dayton has a difficult schedule ahead, hosting Fordham and Rhode Island before visiting VCU and Saint Louis at the beginning of February.
If Dayton is able to go 3-1 over the next couple of weeks, grabbing it at +650 on DraftKings would not be a bad move.
Is There a Contender in Richmond?
VCU is 4-2 in the conference and currently third in the A-10 standings. It lost by 20 at St. Bonaventure and by two vs. Davidson before getting back in the win column with at 16-point victory over Saint Joseph’s.
It’s hard to knock VCU for losing to Davidson and St. Bonaventure, but Wednesday’s rematch on the road vs. the Wildcats now becomes a must-win. A loss would put the Rams four games back if Davidson is able to snag the season sweep and the tiebreaker.
VCU gets St. Bonaventure at home in March.
VCU has proven to be elite at the defensive end, ranking top-five in both defensive rating and adjusted defensive efficiency.
Offensively, the Rams have upped their scoring average 4.6 points per game (67.7) in conference play compared to the rest of the season. VCU is shooting 39.8% from 3 in league play, which is likely unsustainable.
The Rams will make the six-mile trip to Richmond on Saturday.
Speaking of Richmond, the Spiders are back to 3-3 in A-10 play after an 0-2 start. Richmond has beaten up on the bottom of the league thus far, with wins over UMass, La Salle and Fordham. It has losses to Davidson and Saint Louis on its resume, along with an ugly one to Saint Joseph’s.
Richmond is at Rhode Island and hosts VCU this week, and is at Duquesne and hosts St. Bonaventure next week.
Richmond’s defense makes it hard to back the Spiders. They rank 124th in adjusted defensive efficiency and 270th in defensive rating, and have not been consistent enough offensively to make up for it.
Of the two programs, I would have more confidence in VCU making a run for the regular season title. You can get VCU at +500 and Richmond at +3000 on DraftKings.