NCAA Basketball Picks: St. Louis vs. Butler

Jeff Grant

Friday, February 22, 2013 1:40 PM GMT

The Butler Bulldogs are 13-1 in Hinkle Fieldhouse during the 2012-13 season, as they prepare to host the Saint Louis Billikens Friday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the NCAA betting odds for this Atlantic 10 Conference affair, with an opening tip of 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPNU

Red hot

Saint Louis is the hottest team in the Atlantic 10, as it has captured eight games in a row, including a convincing 76-62 victory over the VCU Rams as two-point home favorites Tuesday night.

The Billikens have been favored in each of those contests, but are 0-3 straight up and against the spread (ATS) as an underdogs this season.

The band is back together

Butler is 8-1 versus conference opponents when playing at full strength, as leading scorer Rotnei Clarke missed the team’s game at La Salle, while second-leading scorer Andrew Smith missed the Charlotte game.

The Bulldogs are 8-5 ATS in their first year in this conference, as they made the move from the Horizon League during the offseason.

Beating ranked opponents

Despite their lack of success when getting points this season, Saint Louis is still dangerous in this spot, considering it has compiled a 3-1 record versus ranked opponents this year.  It’s important to note that the program has never won four such games in a single campaign.

Short end of the stick

Over the last two-plus seasons, Butler has failed to win and covered the spread in its two opportunities as home favorites of three points or less, while the OVER has cashed in both of those contests.  

The Bulldogs are capable of turning the tide in terms of that betting trend, as they’ve gone 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 home games versus teams with a winning road record.

Taking care of the basketball

College basketball handicappers will find that Friday night’s visitor forced 23 turnovers in its first meeting with Butler, which led to a convincing 75-58 victory as three-point home favorites Jan. 31.  Saint Louis finished the game with 26 points off of turnovers in that affair.

[gameodds]14/221677/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bulldogs as one of their college basketball picks Friday, as they’ve gone 82-12 at this venue during the Brad Stevens era.  Butler improves to 12-5 ATS versus teams with a winning record this season.

College Basketball Pick: Butler Bulldogs -2 at Pinnacle