|-3 SBON (-105) @ pinnacle|
4 of 5 (80%) Experts with a pick against the spread are aligned. 10* play on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies (Spread).
Ben Burns: A-10 BEST OF BEST! (10 STRAIGHT?)
Recent struggles at the betting window for the Bonnies have worked in our favor in keeping this line lower than it otherwise could have been. I feel that a visit from the Rams will be just what the doctor ordered for the talented hosts and that they're providing us with excellent value. The Bonnies are 5-1 at home. Every victory has been by at least three points. The last time that they were small home favorites, less than -3, they hammered Marquette by a 70-54 score. They've also beaten Boise, Buffalo, Clemson while favored at home, by leass than four points. The Rams are 0-3 ATS the past three times that they road underdogs of three or fewer points. They're 18-29 ATS their last 47 in that role. While the Rams are stingy on defense, they average only 63 points per game on offense. The Bonnies are averaging more than 70, more than 78 per game, here at home. The Bonnies make 47.7% of their field goals here compared to 41.2% on the road for VCU. The last meeting on this floor saw the Bonnies favored by three points. They won by a 70-54 score. The Rams' roll comes to an end here.
Larry Ness: Larry's 10* Conf Crusher-CBB 10* 8-3 run
The VCU Rams will travel to the Reilly Center to take on the St. Bonaventure Bonnies this Friday night in Olean, NY for an A-10 clash. The Rams enter this contest on a seven-game winning streak, after defeating the George Washington Colonials, 84-57, this past Tuesday. VCU is 10-4 on the season, including 3-0 in the A-10. The St. Bonaventure Bonnies snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 9-3 on the season (1-0 in the A-10), after defeating the Lasalle Explorers, 80-76 (OT), this past Tuesday. Both schools have seen four games postponed or canceled from mid-December thru early January.
Mike Rhoades has some pretty good credentials in his first four seasons in Richmond, going 80-41 with two NCAA bids. Last season's NCAA bid ended before his team was able to play its first round game with Oregon, as the VCU team had a COVID outbreak. The Rams lost Hyland (9.5 & 4.7) to the NBA and this season, have used a seven-man rotation. 6-6 senior forward Williams (11.3 & 6.0) is joined by in double digits by guard Baldwin (10.8 & 5.2 APG), who has played in just six games. However, he has played in all three January games, averaging 11.7 & 5.7 APG. Other contributors are guard Nunn (9.8), Curry (8.7) and Tsohonis (6.4) plus the 6-8 Stockard (7.3 & 3.9) and the 6-9 Ward (5.7 & 4.8) up front. VCU's strength is a defense allowing 57.1 PPG (8th).
St Bonaventure is the defending Atlantic 10 regular season and tournament champions and was ranked No. 23 in the Associated Press preseason poll, the school's first ranking in the media poll since January 1971 (Can you say Bob Lanier?). However, many feel like the Bonnies have underachieved. I'm not so sure that is totally fair but it is fair to say the Bonnies have, at least so far, left something to be desired. However, this team has FIVE double digit scorers, giving them great balance. The group includes four guards and the 6-10 Osunniyi (10.1 & 7.3). The guards are Holmes (15.9-6.5-4.4), Lofton (15.9-3.8-3.8), Adams (13.5 & 7.5) and Welch (11.7 & 5.6).
Recent form says VCU, which is 7-0 SU (6-1 ATS), while entering on a 9-1 ATS run the last 10 games. Meanwhile, St Bonaventure takes the floor tonight on an 0-7 ATS run. However, take note of this. The Bonnies beat the Rams twice last season, including by 16 at home and then by nine in the A-10 Tournament. This season, the Bonnies have victories over Marquette, Clemson, and Boise State, and I expect them to be prepared to play at their highest level tonight as well. I am not yet ready to concede that the well-balanced Bonnies' struggles will continue.
Matt Fargo: Fargo's 10* CBB Friday Enforcer 34-19 YTD
This is the ultimate contrarian play with the Bonnies riding a 0-7 ATS run while VCU is on a 6-0 ATS surge and yet the Bonnies are favored. St. Bonaventure has endured what a lot of teams have gone through and that is extended time off because of COVID and it showed last game. The Bonnies traveled to Philadelphia to take on LaSalle in its first conference game of the season and it was not a pretty win as they won in overtime by four points as a 9.5-point favorite. St. Bonaventure was off for 25 days because of postponements and they were clearly not game ready but luckily they were facing one of the worst teams in the conference. This is their first home game in 36 days so we will see an inspired effort. The Bonnies are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games off a road win against a conference rival. The Rams are on a 7-0 run including a 3-0 start in the conference. The public loves riding streaks and there are two in play here which we gladly go against especially with the negative team laying the number. The Rams are 5-13-1 ATS in their last 19 Friday games. Here, we play on favorites after failing to cover the spread in four or more consecutive games going up against an opponent after successfully covering the spread in four or more consecutive games. This situation is 112-68 ATS (62.2 percent) since 1997.
Will Rogers: *10* GAME OF THE WEEK: 3-1 LAST NIGHT!
Virginia Commonwealth and St. Bonaventure may have similar straight up records (10-3 and 9-4 respectively), but it’s a much different story at the pay window as VCU is 10-4 ATS (7-0 on the road) while the Bonnies are 3-8 ATS and have failed to cover seven in a row. But what I’m looking for Friday is a reversal of fortunes.
The Bonnies had not played in almost a month (four cancellations/postponements) when they took the floor against LaSalle on Tuesday. They won 80-76, but could not cover the 9.5 point spread on the road as the game went to overtime. I’m going to “excuse” that close call, based on how long it had been since the Bonnies had last played. With a game under their belt and playing at home, expect a much better effort from the Bonnies tonight.
VCU has won seven straight overall and is 3-0 in January. The Rams had one close call, a 53-52 win at Dayton, but other than that they’ve been winning rather comfortably.
The key to tonight’s game is that I do not think VCU can match its scoring from the last two games when it put up 85 on LaSalle and 84 on George Washington. The Rams only average 63.4 points per game and are 255th in offensive efficiency.
St. Bonaventure doesn’t foul all that often and VCU isn’t very good at converting free throws all that often. The road team also has a high turnover rate. Assuming the Bonnies can convert those TO’s into points, they should easily cover this number as VCU won’t be doing much scoring of their own.
Best of luck!
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