Xavier vs. St. John’s Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide

Xavier vs. St. John’s Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide article feature image

Photo by Porter Binks/Getty Images. Pictured: Andre Curbelo (St. John’s)

  • Xavier heads to Queens to take on St. John's at Carnesecca Arena on Wednesday.
  • The Johnnies' pace and defense stand to impact this Big East affair.
  • Cooper Van Tatenhove breaks down the matchup and provides a best bet.

Xavier vs. St. John's Odds

Wednesday, Dec. 28
9 p.m. ET
Xavier Odds
-110o / -110u
St. John's Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Xavier and St. John's will return from their holiday breaks to one of highest tempo games that either will play this season.

Xavier is one of the hottest teams in the country, riding a six-game winning streak into Wednesday night. This streak has included impressive wins over West Virginia, Cincinnati and Seton Hall.

On the other hand, St. John's will be looking to bounce back from its loss to Villanova, 78-63. Luckily, the Red Storm have been lights-out at home this season, holding a perfect 8-0 record.

This will be a highly-contested Big East battle between two teams wanting to return from their week-long absence on the right foot.

Xavier Musketeers

It appears that Sean Miller has finally found his form in his inaugural season as Xavier's head coach.

Miller has taken the Musketeers' experience (19th nationally) and turned it into one of the most balanced attacks in all of college basketball. Xavier's offense features five players averaging double figures in points.

This balanced offensive attack has led to Xavier being ranked eighth nationally in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency (115.0).

What has made this offense click is the Musketeers' ability to generate success from the outside as a result of their interior supremacy.

The Musketeers have the third-highest 3P% in the country despite only scoring 27.8% of their points from beyond the arc (261st nationally). Instead, Xavier scores 54.5% of its points from 2-point range through its elite frontcourt duo of Zach Freemantle and Jack Nunge.

Against St. John's, this duo will be critical, as the Johnnies thrive on getting to the rim. The Red Storm score 61.3% of their total points from inside the 3-point line, which is the seventh-highest rate in the country.

Although Xavier's defense has been effective this year, it has shown some vulnerability. The Musketeers are giving up 53.3% of their points from inside the 3-point line, which is above the D-I average.

Even given Xavier's experienced frontcourt duo, St. John's will still have success on the interior, particularly on the glass. The Red Storm rank 23rd nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, while Xavier ranks 56th against it.

Much of this interior success comes as a result of the lightning-fast pace that St. John's plays at. The Red Storm will attempt to push the pace in an effort to get Xavier out of its half-court defense, where it's so successful.

How Xavier deals with St. John's pace (and big man Joel Soriano) will be crucial to keeping its winning streak alive.

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St. John's Red Storm

St. John's returns home after a deflating defeat to Villanova on the road.

In order to get back on track, the Red Storm will utilize their blistering offensive pace to disrupt what Xavier wants to do on both ends of the floor.

St. Johns has the sixth-highest Adjusted Tempo in the country (74.9 possessions per game). That's due in large part to its offensive possessions lasting just 14.5 seconds on average (first nationally).

This is important given the trouble that Xavier has shown when facing an offense that wants to push the pace.

The fastest team Xavier has faced this season, was Gonzaga in the Phil Knight Legacy. In this matchup, the Musketeers allowed 88 total points, losing by four.

Against an even faster St. John's team, I expect Xavier to give up the same amount of offensive production.

Defensively, St. John's will need to disrupt a well-balanced Xavier offense. The Red Storm have shown that they can create pressure defensively this season, ranking 40th nationally in Steal% at 12.1%.

This will be an advantage against a Xavier team that's turning the ball over on 19% of its possessions (117th nationally).

These additional possessions will be utilized by a St. John's offense that ranks second nationally in adjusted efficiency.

Xavier vs. St. John's Betting Pick

Overall, this is a perfect spot to sell-high on Xavier and buy on a St. John's team that's being overlooked in the market.

The Red Storm will be able to disrupt Xavier's defensive style by playing at a pace that Xavier has struggled with this season.

Additionally, St. John's defense has the ability to create extra possessions for its offense through turnovers and offensive rebounds.

I will gladly back St. John's as an underdog in its home building (62nd nationally in home court advantage), where it's been ultra successful this season.

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