Saint Louis vs. Dayton Odds
|Saint Louis Odds||-5.5|
|Moneyline||-240 / +198|
|Time | TV||Friday, 7 p.m. ET | ESPN2|
|Odds as of Thursday night and via PointsBet.|
Saint Louis travels to UD Arena Friday night looking to even the season series against the Dayton Flyers. The Billikens started the season 7-2 before having to go on pause for 34 days because of COVID protocols.
The first game back from that long layover was against Dayton on Jan. 26. Saint Louis came out rusty in that game, making just 3-of-13 attempts from 3-point range and going 10-for-17 from the charity stripe. Dayton, on the other hand, shot lights-out, hitting 12 of its 27 3-point attempts, leading them to a 76-71 victory.
Saint Louis lost the next game to La Salle, but has since responded by piecing together four wins in a row by an average margin of 16.8 points. It seems like the Billikens are beginning to get their groove back, something they desperately need as they sit on the bubble with four regular season games remaining.
It’s been a rocky season for Dayton, who finished 18-0 in the A-10 last season thanks to Obi Toppin. The Flyers are 11-7 on the year and have struggled to string together wins since beginning conference play. They’ve lacked consistency all season, proven in their losses to the bottom teams in the A-10 such as La Salle and Fordham.
When Saint Louis has the Ball
Saint Louis has been able to shake the rust off over the last two weeks and looks to continue to fire on all cylinders. The Billikens are led by senior guards Javonte Perkins and Jordan Goodwin. Perkins is the leading scorer, averaging 17.9 points per game on 49.2% shooting. Goodwin is averaging a double-double,putting up 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds a game. Freshman guard Gibson Jimerson presents an outside scoring threat, converting at a 41.6% clip from behind the arc.
The Billikens share the basketball extremely well, assisting on 63.8% of their made field goals this season. They make it difficult on defenses as they don’t turn the basketball over and they grab offensive rebounds on 35.2% of their misses, good for 19th nationally.
Travis Ford’s squad has the third-ranked offensive and defensive efficiency ranking in the Atlantic-10. They score an average of 107.4 points and allow 93.6 points per every 100 possessions, good for an adjusted efficiency of 13.8, according to KenPom. The Billikens are the best-ranked team in the conference at defending 2-point field goal attempts, holding teams to just 42.7%.
They’re a scrappy team who focuses on fundamentals. Combining that with the most talented guard play in the conference makes them a tough team to beat on any given night.
When Dayton has the Ball
Dayton has been a shell of the team it was last year, sitting at 7-6 in conference play. It’s a bit of a surprise since they have a cluster of seniors returning for this year. Among that group are guards Jalen Crutcher and Ibi Watson.
Crutcher is averaging 18.9 points and 4.8 assists while Watson is contributing 15.8 points per game. Jordy Tshimanga, a 6-foot-11 senior, is averaging 6.8 points and 8.0 rebounds a contest, as well. Those three seniors have accounted for 60.0% of the team’s total points on the year. They haven’t received consistent scoring from the rest of the team all year, something that could come back to hurt them against a deep squad like Saint Louis.
Dayton isn’t afraid to fire away from long range. In conference matchups, 44.9% of its shots come from 3-point range, and they convert at a 35.9% clip. Crutcher and Watson contribute the vast majority of that stat, taking 60.0% of the team’s attempts. Crutcher makes 38.2% from outside while Watson hits 43.0% of his attempts.
Defense has been an issue for this ball club as they rank ninth in the conference in defensive efficiency. They haven’t been able to force turnovers or create steals all season, ranking last in the Atlantic-10.
A key in this game is going to be how they defend inside the paint. Saint Louis shoots among the best in the nation in 2-point field goals, while Dayton allows opponents to convert at 50.6% in the same category.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Saint Louis has stayed under the national radar due to missing 34 days of action because of COVID protocols. This is a good time to still buy low on this team, as it’s on the brink of putting everything together.
This is a perfect spot to back the Billikens as they’re looking to avenge the loss to Dayton from three weeks ago — a game in which they were clearly rusty and shot just 23% from 3-point range.
I have this number closer to Saint Louis -7.5 and see strong value in the Billikens at -5.5.
Pick: Saint Louis -5.5 | Play up to -7.5