St Joseph's vs. La Salle
Betting Line - La Salle -3.5
One of the situations where our College Basketball score prediction model has always done well, is when it predicts an outright upset by an underdog. One area where the model excels is sniffing out live underdogs. Underdogs that perhaps are flying under the radar due to a poor record but upon further review, we see that the reason they look so bad on paper is because they have played a much tougher schedule than their opponent. This isn't the NFL or the NBA where each schedule is roughly the same. There our vast differences in college hoops and you need a way to quantify that.
The game we're going to use today is St Joseph's vs. La Salle. Now, be forewarned, we are not using this game because it's the strongest play on today's card. We are using this game because, well, quite frankly, we haven't finished running the model on every game yet today, and this is the first game that illustrates the point we wanted to get across for those of you interested in using our model for your own handicapping.
The first thing to point out about this matchup is that on the schedule, it's listed as a home game for La Salle. But this game is being played at the Paletsra, home court for Penn in the Ivy League but also used by both of these teams, St Joes and La Salle. In fact, St Joseph's played their entire 2008 home schedule here when their home floor was under construction. This is the 2nd of 3 games in a row at the Palestra for St Joes, having lost to Penn there last Saturday.
St Joes is in the basement of the Atlantic 10 at 0-5 in conference play and is currently riding 6 game losing streak, their 2nd 6 game losing streak of the season. La Salle isn't faring much better this year as they find themselves near the bottom of the A-10 as well at 1-4 in conference and 9-11 on the year. But while both teams are struggling, both have also proved they can play with the big boys as St Joes went toe to toe with Minnesota as well as Villanova and La Salle has played close to Villanova, Baylor and Missouri, all top 20 teams.
Our Score prediction model has St Joes with a narrow win here, 77-74. The line opened up at La Salle -4 and has drifted to -3.5 at most shops, but we suspect the line will drift back towards -4 maybe even a little higher before tip and we think there's some value with St Joes at +4 or more. Not a whole lot separates these two teams and when you're 0-5 in conference play and looking for that first win, you've got to make use of the opportunities against fellow basement dwellers.
St Joes has more games remaining against the top half of the Atlantic 10, including Xavier and Temple, than they do against the bottom half. This spot tonight might be one of their best remaining chances for a conference win. We'd look for a big effort tonight from St Joes and would consider an official play at +4 or higher. St Joes +4 or better