NCAA Basketball Pick: Saint Louis Billikens -9 over Duquesne Dukes

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Saint Louis Billikens should be in an ornery mood after losing at home to Rhode Island in overtime and they should respond in a big way over a bad Duquesne Dukes team.

Look for the better visiting team to release some frustration on Wednesday night when the Saint Louis Billikens (12-5, 0-2 away) pay a visit to the Duquesne Dukes (7-11, 5-3 home) at the A.J. Palumbo Center in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:00 ET.

The point spread at Bookmaker Sportsbook has Saint Louis as a big road favorite for this contest with the current line at -9 with odds of -110.

Saint Louis began this season at 3-3, although the three losses were not bad ones as they were to Kansas, Washington and a Santa Clara team that turned out to be better than many expected. However, the Billikens then reeled of nine straight wins and it appeared they were all set to cruise through the Atlantic 10 again, much like last year when they went 12-4 in conference play.

That ninth straight win came in the conference opener vs. Massachusetts, but the winning streak was snapped on the road at Temple in what could also be considered an acceptable loss. However, what then happened on Saturday was a surprise to everyone as Saint Louis lost at home in overtime as a 15-point favorite 82-80 to a Rhode Island Rams team ranked 153rd overall on the Pomeroy Ratings.

Now on their first two-game losing streak of the season and sitting at 1-2 in Atlantic 10 play, the 12-5 Billikens seem to have an easy mark to take their frustrations out on tonight in a Duquesne team ranked 221st by Pomeroy, and they should do just that.

This Saint Louis club may not be as good as the team that beat the Memphis Tigers in the NCAA Tournament before losing to top-seeded Michigan State under the guidance of late coach Rick Majerus this past March, but it looks to have plenty for the Dukes in this bounce-back spot.

The Billikens may not blow you away in any particular category, but they do everything consistently well. They rank 53rd in defensive efficiency, but we think that their offense will be able to do basically whatever it wants tonight.

The reason we say this is because Saint Louis is ranked 68th in effective field goal percentage and 66th in offensive turnover percentage, making for a very favorable matchup vs. a Duquesne team ranked 259th in effective field goal percentage allowed and 313th in defensive turnover percentage!

The Dukes began the year 4-3, but they did not beat any team ranked higher than 179th on the Pomeroy Ratings in Youngstown State while even losing to 178th ranked Albany. Duquesne has gone just 3-7 since then and is currently on a six-game losing streak that includes an 0-4 Atlantic 10 record. Besides the aforementioned defensive difficulties, the Dukes are also 181st in offensive efficiency and 180th in effective field goal percentage.

Tonight should be a good gauge for the Billikens to see just how good they are this season, as if they are as good as we think they are, they should respond with a lopsided double-digit victory over a sacrificial lamb of an opponent on Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Saint Louis -9 (-110)

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