Richmond needs a win versus St. Joes

Saint Joseph’s at Richmond (-14.5)

The Richmond Spiders are in need of a win here as they enter the A-10 Championship tournament. With a win, Richmond will be either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed. If they lose, the Spiders can fall anywhere from the No. 6 to No. 8 seed.

Both teams play their final game of the season and St. Joe’s is not playing for anything. Already having their senior night, a win over Dayton and being 0-9 SU (0%) on the road this season, I expect Richmond to control this game wire to wire.

Saint Joseph’s is 2-9 SU (18.1%) in conference play this season, ranking 13th out of 14 schools, only ahead of Fordham (2-11). Both of their wins have come in the last two games as they beat La Salle 91-82 in OT and Dayton 97-84. The Hawks lost six straight games from Jan 12 to Jan. 30.

Offensively, Richmond is one of the best squads in the A-10. The Spiders rank first in offensive turnover percentage (12.8%), second in adjusted offensive efficiency (109.0), second in three-point percentage (36.4%), third in effective field goal percentage (52.5%) and fourth in two-point percentage (51.4%).

Saint Joseph’s is horrendous on the defensive end in A-10 play. The Hawks rank 12th or worse in two-point defensive percentage (53.3%), average defensive efficiency (16.5) and defensive effective field goal percentage.

Richmond beat St. Joseph’s 79-56 earlier in the season. Saint Joseph’s recorded lower than 39% from the field and three-pointer in that matchup. St. Joseph’s also doubled Richmond’s turnover rate in that game, totaling 18 to Richmond’s nine. The Spiders also recorded 23 assists to the Hawks nine.

NBC’s Top Trend in this matchup is Richmond ATS. Richmond is 23-12 ATS (65.7%) in its last 35 games as a favorite coming off a rest day.

Game Pick: Richmond -14.5 (1.5u)

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Top 3 Games to Bet this Week:

Baylor at West Virginia: Tuesday at 5:00 PM ET

Baylor won 18 straight games to open the season but finally took their first loss of the year, on the road at Kansas. The Bears had a three-week break from Feb. 2 to Feb. 23, which has affected them in their return.

In two games back, Baylor beat Iowa State 77-72 despite trailing for the majority of that contest. Kansas owned Baylor, holding them to 58 points in a 71-58 victory. That was the fewest points Baylor scored all year.

West Virginia is on a three-game winning streak and won six of the previous seven outings. WVU split with Baylor last season, winning at home (76-64) and losing on the road (70-59). Baylor has won three of the past four meetings and the two squads have split the previous eight meetings.

Auburn at Alabama: Tuesday at 7:00 PM ET

Can Auburn play spoiler once again? Without Sharife Cooper, Auburn was smacked by 17 points against Florida but came away with a five-point victory versus Tennessee in the last outing. With no motivation, Auburn is attempting to ruin opponents’ seasons as they face a postseason ban.

Alabama currently sits at No. 1 in the SEC with a 14-2 conference record. Alabama is 11-1 SU (91.6%) at home this season and holds a 19-6 overall record, next-best to Arkansas’ 19-5 record. The Crimson Tide have two games remaining versus two of the worst programs in the SEC.

With two wins, Alabama clinches the SEC outright and on senior night, I expect the Crimson Tide to handle the Tigers. Alabama is a mismatch nightmare and has scored 78 pr more in seven of the eight conference home games. Look for Bama to score 80-plus in this meeting.

Illinois at Michigan: Tuesday at 7:00 PM ET

Illinois is without Ayo Dosunmu moving forward after he suffered a broken nose versus Michigan State. Dosunmu missed Illinois’ wins over Nebraska (86-70) and Wisconsin (74-69). Illinois has second-place in the Big Ten locked up with a 14-4 conference record. Michigan ranks first at 13-1 and can lock up the No. 1 seed with a win.

Michigan has lost two straight versus Illinois but beat them four straight games before that. Michigan plays Michigan State twice to end the season and I expect a Wolverines win here and a split with the Spartans.

Illinois will finish their rigorous Big Ten schedule with Michigan and Ohio State this week. Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue are two and 2.5 games back of Illinois, so there are no red flags if they lose their final two games. I like Michigan in this matchup up to -7.

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