The Rams have been the better team (& better bet) this season, but they could be in for a dogfight tonight against Richmond. What are the college basketball odds looking like?
VCU vs. Richmond Odds Overview
As of now, the Rams are still the NCAA Basketball odds favorites, but it's not like they're laying a huge number by any stretch of the imagination. They're laying only two points for this tricky road game against the Spiders.
For those interested, the O/U is listed at 128 points. We know VCU likes to play a frenetic pace, but Richmond has been solid defensively as of late, making a total play difficult to decipher.
The Spiders have picked up two nice wins in a row, and now have won three of their last four. They're 15-12 overall, yet they find themselves near the top of the Atlantic 10 with a 8-6 record. They're not going to finish atop the conference or anything, but they've clearly shown that they can hang with the big boys.
They'll try to prove just that when they host VCU tonight, as they come in fresh off a 56-48 win over George Washington. The Spiders shot just 38.9 percent from the field and were a poor 6-of-22 from beyond the arc, but they were all over GW defensively, and that guided them to the much-needed win. T.J. Cline led Richmond with 16 points, with Terry Allen and ShawnDre' Jones both reaching double-digit scoring as well.
Though he struggled in that recent win, Kendall Anthony has been the team's most reliable scorer. He's averaging 16.3 points per contest, with the three mentioned above (Allen, Cline and Jones) all averaging in double figures too. As a team, Richmond hasn't been too proficient offensively, averaging 65.6 points per contest on average, but if they can bring that kind of defensive intensity like they have in recent performances, they'll be able to compete.
Though they're currently in first place in the conference, they've still got some work to do. They're fighting tooth and nail with Rhode Island (also at 11-3 in the Atlantic 10) and don't forget about Dayton and Davidson, who are both just one game back, either. It's going to be a dogfight until the end for the top spot, so we'll have to see if the Rams can rise to the occasion.
Coming into tonight, VCU has picked up three straight wins, having topped George Washington, Saint Louis and then UMass the other day. In that win over the Minutemen, Treveon Graham was outstanding - he scored a game-high 24 points and also hauled in 10 rebounds in only 27 minutes of play. The Rams forced 19 UMass turnovers with their frenetic defensive efforts and will look to pile on the pressure again tonight at Richmond.
Graham has clearly been the team's go to offensive option, averaging 16.3 PPG and 6.5 RPG on the year. Melvin Johnson (12.8 PPG) is the only other Ram that's averaging in double figures, so it's going to be up to that duo to set the tone against the Spiders.
NCAA Basketball Pick
We don't expect a blowout or anything, but we do think the Rams will be able to do enough and make enough plays down the stretch to earn themselves the win.
If there's one thing we know about VCU, it's that they're a scrappy bunch and that they never let up the pressure. The Rams also have plenty of experience within their ranks, so we think they'll be handle the tough atmosphere this evening. A fourth win in a row for Shaka Smart's bunch should be in the chart.
Tonight we believe VCU will win by at least two points, so we'll be adding the road team to our collection of NCAA Basketball picks here. Good luck and enjoy the game!
NCAA Basketball Pick: VCU Rams -2 at 5Dimes