The Saint Louis Billikens face off against the Davidson Wildcats in NCAA basketball action on Friday night.
The Billikens are in second place in the Atlantic 10 standings while the Wildcats are in a four-way tie for 10th place in a highly competitive conference. Oddsmakers are expecting a close contest with college basketball odds opening with the Billikens as 1-point road faves before ticking up to -1.5.
Here are my best free Saint Louis vs. Davidson college basketball picks and predictions for January 27.
Saint Louis vs Davidson best odds
Saint Louis vs Davidson picks and predictions
There isn't much separating these schools on the defensive end of the floor. Saint Louis is 176th in the country in overall defensive efficiency (99.8 points allowed per 100 possessions) while ranking 136th in adjusted defensive efficiency according to KenPom. Davidson is 171st in defensive efficiency (99.6 points per 100 possessions) while ranking 151st in adjusted defense.
There's a massive difference on offense however, with Saint Louis 65th in offensive efficiency (105.9 points per 100 possessions) and Davidson just 185th (99.8 points per 100 possessions).
That discrepancy has become even more prominent in conference play, where the Billikens are averaging 78 points per game while shooting a sizzling 50.6% from the floor. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are averaging just 63.9 ppg on 43% shooting against A-10 opponents and will have a tough time keeping up with the Billikens' firepower.
With Saint Louis boasting the superior offense, better rebounding, and more depth, the only reason to consider backing Davidson tonight is due to home-court advantage.
However, the Billikens have cruised to recent wins on the road against Loyola, George Washington, and Saint Joseph's while the Wildcats have already lost four times at home — including a defeat to lowly Northeastern. I'll back the road team to cover this slim spread.
My best bet: Saint Louis -1.5 (-110 at DraftKings)
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Saint Louis vs Davidson spread analysis
Both of these schools are coming off wins against La Salle, with Davidson beating the Explorers 64-57 on the road on Tuesday and Saint Louis enjoying five days of rest after torching the Explorers 84-71 last weekend.
That victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Wildcats, who have a 3-5 record in Atlantic 10 play. Meanwhile, the Billikens have won five in a row and are in second place in the conference standings with a 6-1 mark.
The Billikens have really surged offensively in A-10 play and lead the conference with a 50.6 FG% while shooting 39.1% from deep. They've also defended well in conference play, holding opponents to a 42.3 FG%.
The Billikens have a deep squad loaded with plenty of scoring options. Yuri Collins pulls the strings from point guard and leads the country with 10.6 assists per game while adding 12.1 points per game. Three other players average double digits in scoring led by sharp-shooting guard Gibson Jimerson (12.7 ppg on 43/37/82 shooting splits).
Davidson has a tight rotation, with seven players logging more than 22 minutes per game and nobody else averaging more than five. Big man Sam Mennenga (16.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 52.3 FG%) and former Michigan State Spartan Foster Loyer (15.4 ppg, 4.6 apg, 1.8 spg) are Davidson's best players.
The Wildcats have struggled on the glass and are just 261st in the country in rebound rate (48%). That's an area that Saint Louis could exploit since the Billikens are 37th in overall rebound rate (53.4%) and have a conference-best rebounding margin of plus-5.0 in A-10 action.
Davidson has owned this rivalry in recent years going 5-1 SU and ATS in the last six meetings with four of those victories coming by double-digits.
Saint Louis vs Davidson Over/Under analysis
Although they allow opponents to shoot better from the field, don't rebound as well, and rarely block shots, the Wildcats are limiting foes to 63.9 ppg in conference play — significantly better than Saint Louis' 69.9 ppg allowed.
That has a lot to do with the pace that both teams play. The Wildcats are 264th in the country in raw tempo, while the Billikens are 71st.
That's resulted in some lower-scoring contests for Davidson, with the Under cashing in the last four games and not a single total above 139 during that span.
The Billikens have seen higher-scoring games thanks to their excellent ball movement and ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor. However, they are a bit underrated on defense and have held three of their last five opponents to 62 points or fewer.
Saint Louis vs Davidson betting trend to know
The Wildcats are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games. Find more college basketball betting trends for Saint Louis vs. Davidson.
Saint Louis vs Davidson game info
|Location:||John M. Belk Arena, Davidson, NC|
|Date:||Thursday, January 27, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|