Home Advantage to Spur Dayton, Saint Louis Wins in A-10 Action

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 1:47 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2018 1:47 PM UTC

Home-court advantage will make the difference in a pair of intriguing A-10 matchups Tuesday when VCU travels to Saint Louis and Davidson takes on Dayton. Check out our top betting picks for each here.

VCU at Saint Louis (-2.5)

How improved is Saint Louis (10-10 SU, 10-7 ATS) this season? Well, it won its first road game in over a year last time out, thrashing UMass 66-47 at the always-imposing Mullins Center. Freshmen Hasahn French (12) and Jordan Goodwin (19) posted double-digit points in the victory, a first in school history for freshmen. Overall, the Billikens shot 51.8 percent from the floor. Goodwin, who also recorded the program's first triple-double ever in a victory over Duquesne last Wednesday, took home the A-10 Co-Rookie of the Week award for a second time.

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Jordan Goodwin has claimed his second #A10MBB weekly honor of the season after averaging 16 ppg, 12.5 rpg and 9.0 apg in two SLU wins last week. Also had the first triple-double in school history. #Billikens 🔵⚪️

🔗 https://t.co/XArIS3DEQ2 pic.twitter.com/csqC9u2aNT

— SLU Men's Basketball (@SaintLouisMBB) January 22, 2018

Defense is what is fueling the program’s resurgence, however. In nine games at Chaifetz Arena to hit the college basketball oddsboard, the squad yields just 64.8 points per game on 40.6 percent shooting. Only one visitor (Houston) has put up more than 72 points. Behind head coach Travis Ford, the Billikens are 10-3 SU and ATS at home holding foes to under this threshold.

Protecting the rim is the top priority for Ford’s men. Saint Louis yields a 52.7 opponent field goal percentage at the rim, ranking 22nd nationally. French is second in the A-10 with 36 blocks. Overall, the Billikens lead the conference in scoring defense (65.7 ppg). To beat this bunch, one has to hit its outside shots.

VCU (12-8 SU, 8-8 ATS), with its once-revered Havoc defense, is a calm shell of its former turnover-producing ways. In four true road games this season, the Rams surrender 89.2 points per game on 48.8 percent shooting. That is 11.9 points more than the market projects each time out. The unit, which does not religiously run a full-court press any more, is forcing just 11.0 takeaways a night.

Generating turnovers is still a boon for the program. It is 11-4 SU and 7-4 ATS when taking it away 11 times or more per game. Fewer than this and the records slip to 1-4 overall. The Billikens cough it up 12.7 times per game, which equates to 18.7 percent of possessions while ranking 321 out of 351 Division I programs in tempo. The opportunity exists, the Rams just have to execute.

Until VCU shores up its defense, it is an automatic fade on the road. Saint Louis is 20-7 ATS all-time vs. A-10 foes under Ford, and the number is still a bit shy here. Lay the 2.5 points.

Free NCAAB Pick: SLU -2.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Davidson (-1) at Dayton

Davidson (10-7 SU, 8-8 ATS), one of the best X’s and O’s teams in college hoops, just does not beat itself. It tops the nation with a 1.94 assist-to-turnover ratio, gifting a low 9.2 turnovers per game. The offense ranks 27th in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency ratings, led by senior Peyton Aldridge (20.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.2 apg). The 6-foot-7 forward nabbed his third A-10 Player of the Week honors this season after a 25-point outing over St. Bonaventure on Friday. Aldridge has reached double figures in 26 straight contests.

Dayton (9-10 SU, 8-11 ATS), which is still finding its way under new head coach Anthony Grant, may be able to compete offensively with the Wildcats. In 11 home contests, it averages 77.2 points per game on a lights-out 51.4 percent shooting. The Flyers have put up more than the visitors allow on the year in all but three. Davidson enters yielding 68.0 per tilt.

With Aldridge in the lineup, Davidson is just 6-15 SU behind a 1.1-point average line when allowing 67 points or more against a conference opponent on the road. The Flyers surpass this and win a nail-biter late. Play Dayton straight up.

Free NCAAB Pick: Dayton +1Best Line Offered: Bookmaker

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