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Friday's Top College Basketball Expert Picks: Don't Overlook Davidson

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Friday's Top College Basketball Expert Picks: Don't Overlook Davidson
Head coach Bob McKillop of the Davidson Wildcats. Photo by Lance King / Getty Images via AFP.

Only two top 25 teams are in action Friday night, but there are plenty of enticing matchups on the hardwood. Check out our college basketball expert picks below.

Our hoops experts select their top against the spread and Over/Under picks for Friday’s college basketball games (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Top College Basketball Picks

SEE ALSO: VCU vs. St. Bonaventure College Basketball Picks

Top College Basketball Expert Spread Picks

St. Bonaventure -3 (-110 via FanDuel)

This is a great Friday night A10 battle between two of the conference's best teams. VCU heads to St. Bonaventure to battle the Bonnies to keep pace with Davidson and Fordham atop the A10.

The Bonnies are coming off an overtime win at LaSalle, which was much closer than anticipated. However, St. Bonaventure was coming off a three-and-a-half-week pause due to COVID, having not played since Dec. 17. The Bonnies lost their two prior games before that pause, but are finally back at full strength for this critical battle. St. Bonaventure played without guard Kyle Lofton (15.9 points per game), who missed three games with an ankle injury.

VCU is scalding hot, having won seven games in a row, but the Rams will get a vintage Bonnies effort tonight at home. VCU can struggle on offense and rely on turnovers to generate offense. However, the Bonnies' veteran team rarely turns the ball over, ranking 42nd best in offensive turnover percentage.

St. Bonaventure excels at limiting points inside the arc, allowing just 47.4% from 2-point range. That's precisely where the Rams generate over 56.1% of their points. Big man Osun Osunniyi (10.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 3.1 BPG) will be an obstacle at the rim for VCU.

This is a high number, but I project the Bonnies to win this game. I'll lay the points with a St. Bonaventure team that has one of the best home-court advantages in the A10. - Randle

Iona -15 (-110)

The Iona Gaels might be a MAAC team, but they have scheduled like a Power Five team. The Gaels have played games against Alabama, Kansas, and Belmont and most recently challenged themselves in a road contest at Saint Louis. Those games have taught Rick Pitino's team valuable lessons and no doubt made them better. They have held serve with a 12-3 record to this point and their conference schedule should seem like a walk in the park in comparison to the brutal non-conference schedule they have played.

The Gaels now host a Manhattan team that has not played since Dec. 21 due to COVID-19 complications within its program. To come back after a 23-day layoff to face Iona on the road is a daunting task. Look for Pitino to turn this game into a track meet and take advantage of the weary Jaspers' legs en route to an easy cover. - Spector

Davidson +1 (-110)

Davidson has the chance to score a quality road win in the Atlantic 10 Friday night. Based on the quality of its offense against an unimposing Richmond defense, I like the Wildcats' chances.

After opening as a pick'em, Richmond (10-6, 1-2) has moved to a slight favorite at home at -1. But Davidson (13-2, 3-0) is the better team, landing among KenPom's top 50, with Richmond just narrowly sneaking into the top 100. Davidson boasts one of the most efficient offenses in college basketball, standing among the top 20 teams in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency.

The Wildcats make their shots count from everywhere on the floor and shoot it particularly well from deep with the nation's second-best 3-point percentage (41.5%). That's been Davidson's path to an impressive 11-3 record against the spread this season. Richmond hasn't been bad for bettors, posting an 8-8 ATS record, but Davidson should not be overlooked as a tough road underdog on Friday night. - Schaeffer

Top College Basketball Expert O/U Picks

Monmouth-Saint Peter's Under 133.5 (-112)

This is a battle between two teams that haven't played for almost a month. Due to COVID cancellations and postponements, Monmouth's last game was a Dec. 22 home loss to Hofstra. Saint Peter's last played on Dec. 18 at Stony Brook. That translates to a slow and sloppy game in Jersey City tonight.

Saint Peter's has one of the worst collection of offensive metrics in the country. They rank 301st or worse in 3-point percentage (30.1%), 2-point percentage (44.7%), and free-throw percentage (64.7%). However, they are very strong defensively, ranking second in MAAC play in defensive efficiency and effective field-goal percentage allowed.

Monmouth has slowed its normal breakneck pace down slightly, ranking 148th in adjusted tempo, much slower than last year's fifth-fastest pace in the country. In fact, the Hawks have actually played at the second slowest pace in MAAC play this season. Four of Monmouth's last six away games have totaled 129 or fewer points.

Both games last year totaled 154 points, but that was with a much faster Monmouth team and playing in arenas without fans. I expect a close and slow Friday night battle between two of the MAAC's best teams. - Randle

Davidson-Richmond Under 144 (-110)

Davidson and Richmond combined for 154 points in last year's meeting, but before that, none of their previous six games exceeded this projected 144-point total. And while this is the only scheduled matchup between these teams this year, it is worth noting that in five of the last six years they have met multiple times, the lower-scoring game was in their first meeting.

Offensively, Richmond has been one of the worst teams in conference play, ranking 12th out of 14 teams in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency metric. A big reason for that is its inability to make jump shots, as the Spiders are connecting on just 26.7% of their 3-point attempts in league play (ranks second-to-last).

Davidson is the league's best offensive team and has topped 70 points in every game during its 12-game winning streak. However, these two teams have a history of playing lower-scoring games and we expect Richmond's defense to show up at home. - Spector

Siena-Marist Over 130 (-110)

Who's ready for some MAACtion? Siena and Marist will battle Friday night in a game for which the trends point to a sneaky Over play. On the season, Siena (5-6, 2-1) has seen its games go Over at a rate of 7-4, while contests involving Marist (7-7, 2-3) have cleared the total nine out of 14 times.

Though those results aren't due to impressive offenses, it's also true that neither defense typically poses much of a threat toward the opposition. Generally, soft lines on the total have turned these two schools into solid contributors toward Overs on the year. Friday appears to be another example of that, as the total of 130 at DraftKings (only Caesars has it at 130.5, if you prefer to chase the Under) falls below the season averages for both squads.

Look for a close game in which both teams flirt with 70 points as the Over cashes in the final minutes of the contest. I also like the underdog Siena to cover at +5. - Schaeffer

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