State of the Atlantic 10 College Basketball Betting Report: Can Anyone Catch Davidson?
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Sam Mennenga.
With just two weeks left in the regular season, the regular-season title race in the Atlantic 10 is tightening up.
Davidson has been in first place most of the way, but VCU, Dayton, and St. Bonaventure are all on winning streaks. Can the Wildcats hold on to secure the regular-season title and top seed in the conference tournament?
Find out in the latest State of the Atlantic 10 report.
After falling behind at the half four times in a six-game stretch, Davidson finally ran into trouble at Rhode Island. The Wildcats were upset by the Rams, 72-65, on Feb. 12. The Wildcats rebounded last week with wins over Duquense and Saint Louis.
The win over Saint Louis was particularly impressive as Davidson controlled the game the whole way en route to a 79-58 victory. It was also arguably’s Davidson best defensive performance of the season — it held a high-powered Saint Louis offense to 58 points on 34% shooting from the field.
Davidson improved to 22-4 and 12-2 in conference. It will have to handle its business on the court, but it’s in excellent position to win the regular-season title.
The Wildcats’ next game comes at Duquense before they return home to face Fordham and George Mason. Davidson will be favored to win all three before closing out the regular-season title at Dayton.
Should Davidson win the games it’s supposed to, it will clinch the outright regular-season title before the matchup with Dayton.
At this point, the +550 future on Davidson to win the regular-season title I recommended in my first report remains in excellent shape. The biggest threat may be VCU, which would potentially set up a win-win situation.
VCU has been one of the best defensive teams in the country all season, ranking fifth in adjusted defensive efficiency.
However, it has been good enough offensively of late as well. The Rams are averaging 69.7 points over their last nine games, up from 62.6 in their first 16 games. They’re are 8-1 in that stretch and won their last five games.
VCU is coming off a 77-57 victory over Richmond on Friday night and completed the season sweep of its rival. Its offensive uptick has been fueled by point Ace Baldwin Jr., who has averaged 11.6 points, 5.7 assists, and three steals over his last nine games and has been in complete control of the team.
As a result of its five-game winning streak, VCU is up to 11-3 in the conference and a game back of Davidson for first place. The Rams will be rooting for Davidson losses down the stretch to secure at least a share of the regular-season title. VCU and Davidson split the series season, which would do nothing to settle a tiebreaker in the event of a tie.
VCU closes out the regular season vs. George Mason, at Massachussetts, vs. St. Bonaventure, and at Saint Louis. It will be favored to win three out of those four, according to KenPom. VCU will likely need to win out to give itself the best chance.
For anyone wanting to hedge a Davidson future, VCU to win the regular-season title is +260 on DraftKings. It’s not a great price considering the current circumstances. However, the real value would have been if you grabbed VCU to win the league at +1500 on DraftKings back in January. Anyone with Davidson at +550 and VCU at +1500 is sitting pretty right now.
VCU is not alone in second place, as Dayton also stands at 11-3 in conference play. The Flyers continue to stay hot and take care of business.
Dayton lost the first meeting to VCU by one at home but responded with a 30-point drubbing of the Rams in Richmond. It was also part of the Flyers’ current 7-1 stretch.
Dayton is riding a five-game winning streak following a 74-62 win at Saint Joseph’s on Saturday. It closes out the regular season vs. UMass, at La Salle, at Richmond, and vs. Davidson. KenPom has Dayton favored to win all four. However, winning at Richmond will not be easy before it gets to Davidson.
If the Flyers win the first three, they could have the chance to win the regular-season title on their home floor depending on how Davidson fares.
Dayton is +425 to win the regular season on DraftKings. I would recommend a slight position there.
St. Bonaventure is still mathematically alive, but it will need a ton of help to win the regular-season title.
The Bonnies are 9-4 in a conference on the strength of a five-game winning streak. It closes the season vs. Rhode Island, at Saint Joseph’s, at VCU, and vs. Richmond. It will also need to fit in a game against George Washington that was postponed.
The best St. Bonaventure can do is finish 14-4 in the league. It also lost the head-to-head matchup with Davidson and Dayton, so the Bonnies will be rooting for a three- or four-team tie for first place.
They can carry the momentum from their winning streak into the conference tournament, where it will be a tough out.
At this point, I will be keeping an eye on VCU and St. Bonaventure when the conference tournament odds are released. The Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament will tip off March 9 in Washington, DC.