NCAAM Pick January 26, 2021 – Richmond Spiders at St Joe’s Hawks

In our free daily betting pick yesterday, I mentioned that I expected the Oklahoma State Cowboys to blow out the Iowa State Cyclones. In a rare moment of solidarity, everyone else agreed with me. The sharps and public alike hammered on OK-State and pushed the opening line of Oklahoma State -1 all the way to Oklahoma State -5.5 before tipoff. We got it at Cowboys -2, and it felt like we were stealing as I expected a double-digit win for OK-State.

And just how bad was this number? Well, after being expected to play and taking the court for warmups, Oklahoma State’s best player, Big 12 leading scorer and presumptive number one overall draft pick, Cade Cunningham, was pulled from the game. Cunningham had some breathing issues and, out of an abundance of caution, sat the game out. And oh yeah, even without their best player, the Cowboys still destroyed the Cyclones, blowing them out 81-60.

It is extremely rare that everyone is on the same side of a game, and it actually wins. Normally if you see the ticket and money count at 80% or more on one side, the right play is to blind bet the other side. But in this game, where Iowa State only had 6 scholarship players on the floor, it seemed like free money for everyone, and shockingly, everyone was right. For once, the sports betting mantra of a person is smart, but people are stupid, didn’t come true!

Just because this one was easy money doesn’t make that free cash spend any different! Every once in a while, the books miss, and the public gets paid, and there is certainly no shame in picking the low hanging fruit if it is available. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will get back on the grind as we head to St. Joseph’s, where the Hawks host the Richmond Spiders.

Today’s Game

  • Richmond Spiders (9-4) at St Joe’s Hawks (1-12)
  • Hagan Arena, Philadelphia
  • 3:00 PM PST
  • TV: NBCS

After a hot start to the season, the Richmond Spiders find themselves sliding down the standings in the A-10 and are hoping to get back on track tonight at St. Joe’s. Richmond started the season strong in the non-conference with wins over Kentucky, Loyola-Chicago, and Wofford but have struggled in conference play, as they are just 3-2 and are coming off of a loss to La Salle at home in their last game. While a win over St. Joe’s wouldn’t do much to help the Spiders at-large chances into the NCAA tournament, a loss to the Hawks would be a nasty blemish on their resume that could cost them their dancing shoes in March.

For St. Joe’s, the Hawks are slogging through one of the worst seasons in program history, and at this point, any win would be a reason to celebrate. The Hawks have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, but at 1-12, they just haven’t managed to come out on top very often. A win tonight would be the first conference win of the season for St. Joe’s.

Spread:

  • Richmond Spiders (-12.5)
  • St Joe’s Hawks (+12.5)
Money line:

  • Richmond Spiders (-910)
  • St Joe’s Hawks (+575)
Total Points:

  • Over 153.5 (-110)
  • Under 153.5 (-110)

St Joe’s Hawks (1-12)

Well, it’s hard to find a silver lining in a season that has gone as poorly as this one has for St. Joe’s, but hear me out here. The Hawks have three overtime losses this year, including losses to potential NCAA tournament teams like Auburn and Rhode Island. They also had close losses to Drexel, La Salle, and George Mason.

Wins haven’t been part of the equation for Billy Lange’s boys this year, but that doesn’t mean that they haven’t been competitive most nights. And you have to respect the fact that they went out and played teams like Kansas, Villanova, and Tennessee, all teams that have appeared in the top-10 nationally at some point this season.

After losing senior leader Ryan Daly to injury earlier this season, fellow guard Taylor Funk has really stepped up as the leader on the floor for the Hawks. Funk leads the team in scoring 17 points a game and has been even better recently, scoring nearly 20-points per game in the last four for the Hawks. Funk has really started to let it fly as of late, as he has taken a whopping 35 3-pointers during that stretch of games and has hit a respectable 13 of them. If St. Joe’s has any shot of picking up the home floor upset tonight, they need Funk to get hot and knock down a bunch of deep balls.

Richmond Spiders (9-4)

Early in the season, it looked like Richmond just might be a top-25 team. They beat Kentucky, back when everyone thought the Wildcats were a potential Final Four team, and early wins over Wofford and Northern Iowa came before we realized that both teams were a bit down this season. That impressive start doesn’t seem all that impressive now, and their recent struggles have Richmond on the wrong side of the NCAA tournament bubble.

The home losses to Hofstra and La Salle were particularly painful, and if Richmond can’t find a way to move up the A-10 standings, they are going to get left out on Selection Sunday. The Spiders have a balanced attack as all of their regular starters are scoring at least 11-points per game. The problem for Richmond is that they are very shallow, as the rotation is thin after that strong starting lineup, where all five guys average 30-minutes per game or more.

Who Do I Like?

We already talked about how St. Joe’s has managed to remain competitive and lose close in many of their games. And when you look at Richmond, they have managed to gut out several close victories. Richmond beat Wofford, Loyola-Chicago, Davidson, and Rhode Island all by single digits. When you look at this spread tonight, the Spiders have only won by 13 or more points twice. Those came against bad teams like George Mason and Morehead State.

I think that both teams continue with their trend of keeping games fairly close. I doubt that St. Joe’s is really going to have Richmond on upset alert, but after seeing the Spiders lose to 167th ranked La Salle last weekend, who knows.

This line opened up with Richmond laying -10-points. That is exactly where Kenpom had the game, so the number made sense. But the public hasn’t seen it that way, as they looked at St. Joe’s awful overall record and have backed the Spiders in droves, moving the line two and a half points towards Richmond.

The Bet

I always like backing home dogs in league play, and getting more than a dozen points is a lot for any team on their own floor. To be able to get two and a half points more than the data says that we deserve, is a high-value spot, and I am backing the Hawks tonight. Richmond has recent losses to similarly poorly ranked teams and could lay an egg and lose this game outright, but that isn’t very likely.

What is fairly likely, though, is that the Hawks play hard and lose fairly close and cover the spread. So, I’ll back St. Joe’s at home, getting a bunch of points and hope that they can just keep the game competitive. Give me the St. Joseph’s Hawks, getting +12.5 points as they look to defend their house tonight against a struggling Richmond team. I’ll call the final score at 84-76, with Richmond winning but St. Joe’s covering.

The Bet: St Joe’s Hawks +12.5

My Pick
St Joe’s Hawks +12.5
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Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL

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