Virginia Tech vs. Saint Louis Betting Guide: Will Billikens Keep Up in NCAA Tournament?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Saint Louis Billikens forward D.J. Foreman and Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ahmed Hill
#4 Virginia Tech vs. #13 Saint Louis: NCAA Tournament Betting Odds
- Spread: Virginia Tech -10
- Over/Under: 126
- Date: Friday, March 22
- Time: 9:57 p.m. ET
- Location: San Jose, Calif.
- TV: truTV
>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.
I keep hearing that Duke has an easy path to the Final Four. While the Blue Devils are clearly the favorites to win their region, don’t sleep on the Hokies, who could cause major problems for Zion & Co. in a potential Sweet 16 showdown.
Don’t forget that the Hokies started the season with a 14-1 record that included three wins over 2019 NCAA Tournament teams. With point guard Justin Robinson presumably back healthy, this is as scary of a No. 4 seed as you will see.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, the Hokies must first get by Saint Louis in the first round. Let’s take a closer look at the matchup.
Key Matchup in Virginia Tech-Saint Louis
Saint Louis plays stingy defense and really gets after the glass on both ends, but the Billikens have a dreadful offense. They simply can’t shoot.
The Billikens rank 322nd in the country in Effective FG%, per KenPom. And even more telling is they shoot just 30.8% from 3, which is the third-worst rate in the tourney field. It’s not like they’ve been improving either, as Saint Louis shot just 29.8% from beyond the arc during conference play (13th in the Atlantic 10).
That’s not ideal against a Virginia Tech defense designed to make you beat them from deep. Because Buzz Williams’ team goes under screens, it really forces teams to jack up plenty of 3’s.
In fact, opponents on the year have attempted more 3s than 2s against the Hokies. Their 50.1% opponent 3-point rate is the third highest in the country; only Longwood and Monmouth gave up a higher percentage.
That’s what could make Virginia Tech so dangerous against Duke in a potential Sweet 16 matchup, as the Blue Devils are one of the only two other tourney teams that shoot worse than Saint Louis from 3.
This Game Could Get Ugly
This one could be ugly. Not only should Virginia Tech suffocate Saint Louis’ offense, but the Hokies are absolute snails, ranking 337th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom. If you are interested in this total, I’d recommend looking at the full game or first-half under.
As I mentioned before, Saint Louis simply can’t shoot. That also applies to the charity stripe, where it’s not only the worst free-throw shooting team in the field, but it has the second-worst percentage in the entire country at 59.8%.
On the other hand, the Hokies shot 75.8% from the line during the season (24th in the country) and were a league-leading, pristine 78.2% during ACC play. They are also deadly from 3 at 39.4% for the season, ranking eighth-best nationally.
Robinson, Virginia Tech’s star senior point guard who has missed most of the last two months, is expected to make his long-awaited return for the Hokies. When healthy, everything runs through him on offense.
This is just a nightmare matchup for the Billikens. My only concern is if Robinson has to shake off some rust and/or Virginia Tech struggles a bit early assimilating him back into the lineup.
Still, given the matchup advantage, I think the Hokies eventually roll and cover the number even if this game is a grind.
Stuckey’s Pick: Virginia Tech -10
Our Projected Odds: VT vs. Saint Louis
Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.
- Spread: Virginia Tech -10.5
- Total: 130
- Proj Score: Virginia Tech 70.5 | Saint Louis 60
- Win Probability: Virginia Tech 85.7% | Saint Louis 14.3%
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.