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Saint Louis vs. UMass Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide

Saint Louis vs. UMass Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Noah Fernandes (UMass)

  • Saint Louis has struggled historically in Amherst against UMass.
  • Will that continue in this Wednesday night Atlantic 10 matchup?
  • Keg breaks it all down and provides his best bet.

Saint Louis vs. UMass Odds

Wednesday, Jan. 4
7:30 p.m. ET
Saint Louis Odds
-110o / -110u
UMass Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The UMass Minutemen will look to right the ship on Wednesday night as they host the Saint Louis Billikens.

UMass opened up the season on an impressive 7-1 run, highlighted by wins over Colorado, Murray State and Charlotte en route to its Myrtle Beach Invitational title.

But the Minutemen have fallen into a slump, losing three of their last five. Their most recent loss came in blowout fashion to St. Bonaventure as they opened up A-10 league play.

Looking to get back to .500 in the A-10 may be easier said than done, though, as they'll face a motivated Billikens team trying to make up for a lackluster non-conference schedule.

The Billikens are trying to find some consistency of their own after ending their non-conference slate on a 1-3 skid. Saint Louis opened up conference play with a 83-78 win over Saint Joseph's on the road.

Saint Louis holds a sizable lead over UMass in the all-time series at 17-7. However, the Billikens are 4-5 in games played in Amherst and haven't won there since January 2018.

With Frank Martin now at the helm, can he continue to make Amherst a tough trip for the Billikens?

Saint Louis Billikens

Saint Louis currently leads the A-10 in scoring — averaging 76.8 points per game — and rebounds — coming down with 41.4 per game on average.

No team in the Atlantic 10 has been better at the free-throw line (75.9%), or when it comes to assist-to-turnover ratio.

While the Billikens have limited turnovers — giving up just 11.7 per contest — their strong assist-to-turnover ratio is mainly due to having the nation's assist leader, Yuri Collins.

That begs the question, if this team is so good, why is it dropping games to SIU Edwardsville?

First and foremost, being a top-50 offense in the nation doesn't hold much weight if you allow your opponents to score just as many. Saint Louis boasts an average scoring margin of just +2.5, allowing teams to rack up 72.9 points per game.

The Billikens' defense has been atrocious in terms of defending the paint, allowing opposing teams to hit 41.3%.

To make matters worse, they've had severe issues with fouling. Opponents are averaging 19.4 free-throw attempts a game against the Billikens.

Saint Louis has yet to be able to force turnovers, either.

And while it's great off the glass — coming down with the offensive rebound 33.8% of the time — it's struggled to make it count. Saint Louis hits just 50% of its second-chance attempts, averaging 11.3 second-chance points per game.

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Massachusetts Minutemen

Despite UMass losing to the Bonnies last time out, there were many solid takeaways from the game. The most significant being that after missing five games, Noah Fernandes was back in the starting lineup for the Minutemen.

Fernandes racked up 13 points and three assists in his return.

In addition to Fernandes returning, UMass fans have seen Isaac Kante elevate to the level they hoped to see.

Kante moved into the starting lineup in the last two games and has since become the player he was at Hofstra and LIU that Minutemen fans were excited to see.

In his previous two games, Kante has averaged 10 points and 7.5 rebounds. Against the Bonnies, he also recorded the 21st double-double of his college career and his first at UMass.

UMass has not only been a top team in the A-10 in offensive rebounding, it's the 31st-best team in the nation off the offensive glass.

But like Saint Louis, the Minutemen have had minimal impact in terms of second-chance points per game (11.5).

UMass hasn't been a great shooting team overall, posting an effective field goal percentage outside the top 300. But its defense has been among the top-100 nationally in effective field goal percentage, 3-point defense and turnover percentage.

The Minutemen have also been at their best defending in the paint. UMass ranks in the 91st percentile, holding teams to a field goal percentage of just 32.4% in the paint. It's been even better as of late, holding opponents to 28.2% over its last five.

On the other hand, Saint Louis takes most of its shots from the paint; 55% of the Billikens' shots have come either at the basket or in the paint.

Saint Louis vs. UMass Betting Pick

Saint Louis is an elite scoring team, but this Minutemen defense can continue the tradition of giving it fits in Amherst.

UMass has been the 81st-best team in college basketball in block percentage. The 6-foot-10 big man Wildens Leveque averages 1.2 blocks per game on the season and could have a massive impact against a Billikens team outside the top 300 in block percentage.

UMass should be able to defend the interior well enough to give this Billikens team problems. Yes, the Minutemen have struggled on offense, but Saint Louis has allowed teams to rack up points and get the line consistently.

UMass is in the 93rd percentile by drawing 19.7 fouls per game and averages 20.6 free-throw attempts per game.

Back the Minutemen to keep it close at +3 or better.

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