Duquesne vs. St. Bonaventure Odds & Pick: Bet on Ugly Start in A-10 Battle
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Duquense’s Tavian Dunn-Martin.
- St. Bonaventure opens Friday night’s matchup with Duquense as big favorites, although that number has fallen.
- The Bonnies are off to a strong start in Atlantic 10 play while riding guard Jaren Holmes’ hot shooting.
- Pat McMahon doesn’t see value in the spread, so he turned his attention to the first-half total.
Duquesne vs. St. Bonaventure Odds
|St. Bonaventure Odds||-7.5|
|Time | TV||Friday, 7 p.m. ET||ESPN2|
|Odds as of Thursday evening and via FanDuel. Get up to a $1,000 risk-free bet at FanDuel today.|
Atlantic 10 rivals St. Bonaventure and Duquesne clash on Friday night for a prime time contest in Olean, New York.
St. Bonaventure (5-1, 3-1 A-10) has won three straight and finds itself atop the conference standings. Mark Schmidt fields a veteran team that starts five juniors.
The Dukes (3-4, 2-3 A-10) overcame heavy personnel losses to defeat Fordham at home last Saturday. They jumped out to a halftime lead against Dayton on Wednesday but struggled to score down the stretch in a nine-point loss to the Flyers.
Both teams have little time to prep for this game after playing on Wednesday. I don’t think either team is complaining, though, as they’ve both dealt with a number of cancellations due to COVID-19 and are just happy to be getting on the court.
The big story surrounding the Duquense program right now is what it’s dealing with off the court.
Before last Saturday’s victory over Fordham, it was announced that Sincere Carry, Lamar Norman and Maceo Austin were stepping away from the team. Carry and Norman have since entered the transfer portal. Austin said he intends to stay with the team and will be back at an unspecified later date, as he’s dealing with personal issues.
All three players were starters, so their absence has naturally been a huge blow to the team. Carry is the toughest loss, as he was the Dukes’ top ball-handler and arguably their best player overall.
The good news for coach Keith Dambrot is that Pitt grad transfer Ryan Murphy joined the team in December and has suited up in all five of the Dukes’ A-10 contests.
He brings in some much-needed shooting, but the Dukes still have issues at point guard. Tavian Dunn-Martin and Toby Okani have shared the ball-handling duties since Carry’s departure. Both players are solid, but neither is as gifted at running the offense as Carry.
St. Bonaventure has one player status to monitor prior for Friday night. Sixth man Anthony Roberts missed Wednesday’s game at Fordham for personal reasons.
Can confirm that Anthony Roberts did not make the trip to Fordham today and is home in Detroit due to personal reasons, according to multiple sources. Expect more Alejandro Vasquez in a homecoming of sorts for the Queens native.
— Chuckie Maggio (@chuckiemaggio) January 13, 2021
It’s unclear as of Thursday night whether or not Roberts will return to action against the Dukes. If he isn’t able to go, look for reserve guards Alejandro Vasquez and Eddie Creal to see increased minutes.
When St. Bonaventure has the ball
The story for the Bonnies entering this game is the hot hand of junior guard Jaren Holmes. After playing just one minute due to back spasms in the Bonnies’ lone loss to Rhode Island, Holmes came back a man on a mission.
He’s averaging 27 points per game over his last three, including a 38-point outburst versus Saint Joseph’s last week. Holmes was a scintillating 8-of-12 from 3 against the Hawks and followed that up with a 27-point game on 5-of-7 3-point shooting at Fordham.
Holmes was expected to be the fourth option for the Bonnies heading into the season but is their leading scorer through six games. His emergence as a go-to scorer is great news long term for a Bonnies team that has A-10 title aspirations.
The Bonnies have a number of quality scoring options beyond Holmes. All five of their starters average double figures.
The offense goes through reigning first-team All-Atlantic 10 point guard Kyle Lofton. He’s a very efficient floor general, and is scoring 13.3 points per game while dishing out 5.8 assists. Jalen Adaway (12.0 ppg), Dom Welch (10.5), and Osun Osunniyi (10.7) give Lofton plenty of options to distribute the rock to.
The one area of concern for the Bonnies’ offense is their 3-point shooting. They are just 31.8% from distance as a team, and Holmes is the only Bonnie who’s hit outside shots consistently. Holmes’ last two outings raised his 3-point percentage on the year to an outstanding 56.7%. However, everyone else on the team is below 30%, with Welch (28.1%) and Lofton (14.3%) particularly struggling.
The Dukes are a strong defensive team and rank 73rd in defensive efficiency while allowing under 66 points per game. They’re limiting opponents to just 42.9% from the floor and 30% from 3.
Losing three starters will definitely affect their play on the defensive end, but it’s a little too early to tell how much. They shut down a bad Fordham team, allowing just 45 points on 29% shooting from the floor.
Dayton fared better against the new-look Dukes, scoring 72 points on 43% shooting. Their performance against the Bonnies will be a good gauge of what to expect from the defense moving forward.
When Duquesne has the ball
The Dukes are nothing special offensively and have unsurprisingly had a tough time since losing nearly 30% of their scoring. They’ve shot just 37.5% from the field in their last two games.
The good news for Duquesne is that their two leading scorers, Marcus Weathers (14.0 ppg) and Dunn-Martin (11.4), are still playing.
Weathers is a strong, versatile forward who can score inside and out. Dunn-Martin is a volume scorer who has the ability to light it up from 3 but is struggling with consistency this season, hitting just 29.5% of his 3-point attempts.
In order to turn things around after losing their trio of starters, they’ll need to find some new consistent contributors on the offensive end. They could look to the post more and try to play inside-out with Weathers and center Michael Hughes (7.9 ppg).
While throwing it inside more often could help, they definitely need to find some help for Dunn-Martin in the backcourt in order to win moving forward. New starter Okani and Murphy have been worked into the lineup, but neither has given the Dukes much production yet.
The Bonnies have been very strong on the defensive end, and rank 67th in defensive efficiency, per KenPom.
Like Duquesne, St. Bonaventure excels at defending the 3-point line. They rank 10th in the nation in 3-point field goal defense, limiting opponents to 26.7% from deep. Fordham got hot in the first half on Wednesday, but the Bonnies imposed their will in the second half and held the Rams to just 17 second-half points.
As strong as they are on the perimeter, the Bonnies are also very tough to score on inside thanks to Osunniyi.
The 6-foot-10 center possesses excellent defensive instincts and averages 1.8 blocks per game while altering many more shots. His defensive ability will come in handy against the Dukes’ inside tandem of Weathers and Hughes.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This spread opened up around St. Bonaventure -9 at most books, but the number is moving in the direction of Duquesne. This is somewhat of a surprise given the talent gap between the two squads, but the Dukes have always played the Bonnies tough during Dambrot’s tenure.
I think the spread being in the 8-9 point range is about right, so I’m turning my attention to the total instead. The first half under presents value for a variety of reasons.
Neither team is shooting the ball well from deep and both defend the 3 very well, so don’t expect a ton of outside shots to fall.
With little help for Dunn-Martin in the backcourt at the moment, expect the Dukes offense to really struggle against the veteran Bonnies. On the flip side, look for Duquesne to swarm Holmes when he has the ball and pack it in against the other guards who have struggled from deep.
The only way for Duquesne to stay in this game is to muck things up and turn it into a slow, low-scoring affair. Both teams play slow as it is, with St. Bonaventure ranking 242nd in tempo and Duquense ranking 215th.
Look for the Dukes to be extra deliberate in the first half and try to control the pace to prevent the Bonnies from getting out to an early lead.
I think we’re in for an ugly start, but the game could break open eventually. Therefore, I’m opting to go with the first half under rather than the full game.
Pick: First-half under 62 or better.