NCAA Basketball Picks: Notre Dame vs. St. John's

Joe Freda

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 12:15 PM GMT

Will the Notre Dame Fighting Irish cover the NCAA Basketball odds here or can the St. John’s Red Storm find some octane? Find our which team we are backing with our sports picks tonight.

The No. 20 Notre Dame Fighting Irish have a 3-0 spread record in their trio of spots away from home, while going 2-1 ATS in their first three contests of Big East Conference play. Mike Brey’s squad visits Madison Square Garden for Tuesday’s matchup with the St. John’s Red Storm, who have been held to 57.4 PPG in their last five home dates.

[gameodds]14/217358/43/us[/gameodds]

Irish, Atkins upset by UConn

Notre Dame saw a 12-game winning streak end with Saturday’s 65-58 defeat as an 8 ½-point home favorite against the Connecticut Huskies. The Fighting Irish were lit up by UConn’s 50.9 percent field shooting, including an 8-for-9 day from Huskies forward Tyler Olander. 

Notre Dame’s Eric Atkins drilled 3-of-5 shots beyond the arc, finishing with a team-high 18 points. The junior united with mate Jerian Grant to log four assists each, while Fighting Irish forward Jack Cooley grabbed nine of his squad’s 22 boards. 

The contest’s combined 123 points dipped below the ‘total’ of 135, moving the UNDER to 2-0 in Notre Dame’s last pair of matchups. Cooley found himself fouling out in 35 minutes of action, while the Fighting Irish went just 4-for-7 at the charity stripe.

Red Storm shut down at home

St. John’s latest defeat came in Saturday’s 67-51 setback against the Georgetown Hoyas, failing flat as a one-point underdog. The Red Storm trailed by a 36-19 halftime margin, while held to 35.6 percent field shooting.

Red Storm forward Jakarr Sampson came away with 12 points, while mate Chris Obekpa logged 10 boards in 31 minutes of action. St. John’s Amir Garrett and Phil Greene were both held scoreless, shooting 0-for-11 from the floor.

The battle’s combined 118 points ducked UNDER the closing ‘total’ of 119, with the Red Storm sinking a sparse 6-of-16 free throws. Obekpa added six of his side’s eight blocks, while mate Sir’Dominic Pointer notched team-highs of four assists and three steals.

Back the Irish as road ‘chalk’ 

The betting odds first opened Notre Dame as a 5 ½-point road favorite, with early betting on the Fighting Irish driving the number north a ‘hook’ to six. The ‘total’ was first set at 133, remaining unchanged after initial wagers were mixed. 

For tonight's NCAA Basketball picks, I am tailing the early ‘steam,’ backing the Fighting Irish as road ‘chalk’ in this spot. Notre Dame has held foes to 65.3 PPG in its trio of affairs away from South Bend and could be even more stingy against a struggling St. John’s squad. 

The Red Storm have gone 1-4 ATS in their last five home contests, while logging a 1-5 spread record in their last six matchups that came after a defeat. St. John’s finds itself ranked a lowly 13th in the Big East Conference for scoring (67.9 PPG), while connecting at a meager 61.4 percent from the foul line. 

Look for Notre Dame to smother the Red Storm here, adding another cashed ticket to its 6-2 ATS mark in its last eight games.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Notre Dame Fighting Irish -6