A-10 Theme For College Basketball Value Picks Saturday

Jay Pryce

Saturday, December 9, 2017 2:29 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 2:29 PM UTC

Four A-10 teams feature in our top college basketball value picks Saturday, including St. Bonaventure, VCU, UMass, and George Washington. Check out best bets for each of their respective matchups here.

Yale vs St. Bonaventure (-10)

Both Yale and St. Bonaventure have six wins and the media voted each to finish second in their respective conferences. Fair matchup? Hardly. The talent gap is wide. In the last decade, Ivy teams are 36-78 SU head to head versus A-10 schools, losing by 6.5 points per game.

At Reilly Center, St. Bonaventure stretches the margin further. It is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS hosting Ivy foes behind head coach Mark Schmidt, winning by 20 or more in all but one. It has tipped off 10.3-point favorites on average.

Yale can’t handle the superior skills edge and athleticism possessed by the Bonnies, particularly on defense. They lead the A-10 in opponent scoring (64.4 ppg) and field goal percentage (.403). No Ivy team scored more than 58 points in the five aforementioned matchups.

St. Bonaventure is improving on offense as well after welcoming back All-America candidate and NBA prospect Jaylen Adams. Adams missed the first six games with a sprained ankle, but suited up in the last two, scoring 20 points and dishing out 9 assists in a 73-65 victory at Canisius. The Bulldogs have no players capable of hanging with Adams. Bonnies roll 75-57. Lay the 10 points.

Free NCAAB Pick: St. Bonaventure -10Best Line Offered: at SportsInteraction

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VCU vs No. 19 Seton Hall (-11.5)

Expect the second annual Never Forget Tribute Classic (#NFTC2017) to suffer from poor shooting. No. 19 Seton Hall is fresh off back-to-back wins over ranked opponents (No. 22 Texas Tech, No. 17 Louisville) and primed for a letdown effort against a talented Rams squad. VCU, meanwhile, is coming off an emotional home loss to Texas (71-67) and former coach Shaka Smart. Tired legs, exam season, and travel will take its toll on both teams.

The Pirates return 90 percent of their scoring and rebounds from a squad that won 21 games and reached the NCAA Tournament last season. They have dominated at Prudential Center against non-conference opponents, going 63-8 all-time in the building, including 20 straight wins. Most have come against much easier. Head coach Kevin Willard is just 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS versus A-10 foes at The Rock.

Shooting in these A-10 matchups is horrendous, averaging 79 percent combined. The ‘under’ has cashed in all six. VCU doesn’t feature the Havoc press of old, but is seasoned with top-tier players and is much stronger in half-court sets. Rams keeps this within single digits and threaten a big upset. Take the points and toss a little at the ‘under’ too.

Free NCAAB Pick: VCU +11.5 & Under 151Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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Providence vs UMass (-3.5)

Providence put in another head-scratching performance on Wednesday, needing overtime to beat cross-city rivals Brown 77-72 as 18.5-point chalk. The Friars are 7-2 SU, but just 2-6 ATS and not playing up to expectations. The team is inconsistent on both ends of the floor, and enters UMass with three significant players nursing injuries (Kyron Cartwirght, Maiek White, and Alpha Diallo). “We have to find out who we are as a team and right now our identity is in shambles,” head coach Ed Cooley remarked following the Bears nail-biter.

The quickest and easiest solution to generating cohesion is to buckle down on defense. This should be a quick fix against a UMass quad ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency. Still, something is wrong with the Friars offense, too. Cooley’s bunch is shooting 39.4 percent the last two games, and the funk will carry over in a road contest against a stout Minutemen defense. Providence wins 61-56 in a low-scoring grinder. Pick ‘under’136.5 as your best bet.

Free NCAAB Pick: Under*Best Line Offered: *No Lines Posted at Press Time*

George Washington vs Penn State (-13.5)

Penn State opened the season playing three D-II programs, one of which they lost 121-70 to Seattle, which has its metrics a bit out of whack. This bunch is a tad overvalued. Look for the Nittany Lions to put in a strong defensive effort versus the Colonials. When laying double digits at Bryce Jordan Center under head coach Pat Chambers, the ‘under’ is 9-2 overall. Visitors are averaging 61.3 points per game on 37.2 percent shooting. George Washington will perform a little better offensively and should slow this game down to a crawl. The Colonials rank 342nd in tempo. GW keeps it competitive and within single digits. Take the 13.5 points.

Free NCAAB Pick: George Washington -13Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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