Top College Basketball Picks for Friday, January 29th, 2021

Top College Basketball Picks for Friday, January 29th, 2021
Thu 28th January 2021

Saint Louis vs Richmond 

The #22 Saint Louis Billikens could easily fall out of the AP Top 25 Poll with another loss, as they are coming off a surprising 76-71 defeat to the Dayton Flyers this past Saturday. After nine straight-up and ATS victories in a row, the Billikens have gone 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS over their previous three outings. 

Saint Louis was a firm 9-point fave for the clash against the Flyers, but the Billikens trailed for all 40 minutes, allowing their opponents to make 12 triples out of 27 attempts (44.4%). They shot 51.8% from the field and just 3-for-13 from downtown (23.1%). 

The Billikens allow 93.9 points per 100 possessions (46th in the country) but cannot be satisfied with their recent defensive performance. They could easily struggle against Richmond on the road, as the Spiders tally 112.9 points per 100 possessions (27th). 

On the other hand, the Spiders have some serious defensive problems, yielding 98.2 points per 100 possessions (107th) on 46.9% shooting from the field (304th). If you like betting on the totals, we suggest you grab the over when the Spiders and Billikens lock horns Friday night at Robins Center in Richmond. 

The Billikens are 4-1 straight up and 3-2 ATS in their last five encounters with the Spiders, and the over is 4-1 in that span. Four of those five games were decided by seven or fewer points, and we should see another interesting clash between Saint Louis and Richmond that can easily go either way.

The Spiders have won three of their last four games overall, going 3-1 ATS in the process. Last week, they easily outlasted Saint Joseph’s on the road, 79-56, and suffered an 84-78 home loss to La Salle. The Explorers made 57.1% of their field goals and 52.9% of their 3-pointers, taking full advantage of Richmond’s defensive flaws. 

As we’ve mentioned, the Spiders have struggled defensively all season, so the Billikens should find a way to come out on top, especially if they put on a strong defensive performance down the stretch. Still, wagering on the over seems like the best option. 

College basketball pick – Saint Louis by 2. 

Iowa vs Illinois 

Similar to the Billikens vs Spiders game, the Big Ten clash between the #7 Iowa Hawkeyes and #19 Illinois Fighting Illini should be a proper high-scoring affair. Iowa has the best offensive rating in the country, scoring 124.6 points per 100 possessions, while Illinois is ninth with 116.6 points scored per 100 possessions. 

The Hawkeyes shoot 48.7% from the field (30th) and 38.4% from beyond the 3-point line (29th) while handing out 20.9 assists per game (1st). The Fighting Illini make 50.9% of their field goals (10th) and 39.7% of their 3-pointers (12th) while dishing 17.3 assists per contest (21st). 

When it comes to defense, the Hawkeyes surrender 97.6 points per 100 possessions (98th), while Illinois allows only 91.8 (22nd). Both Iowa and Illinois rank outside of the top 190 in opponent 3-point percentage, and, finally, both teams like to play at a fast pace, averaging above 70.7 possessions per 40 minutes each. 

We’ll see a tremendous matchup at center that could decide the winner of this Big Ten battle. Luka Garza is enjoying a wonderful senior year, leading the way for the Hawkeyes with 26.9 points and 8.9 rebounds per contest. On the other side, sophomore Kofi Cockburn is the Fighting Illini’s anchor, posting 17.4 points, 10.3 boards, and 1.5 blocks per game. 

Last season, Iowa and Illinois split a two-game series. The Hawkeyes won 72-65 as 4.5-point home favorites, and Garza dominated Cockburn with a double-double of 25 points and 10 rebounds. Luka had 28 points and eight boards in a 78-76 defeat at Illinois, as Iowa covered a 4-point spread. 

The Hawkeyes are 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS in their last six encounters with the Fighting Illini, and the over is 4-2 in that stretch. Once more, betting on the over seems like the best move.

Iowa will have to slow down Ayo Dosunmu, as junior guard is averaging 21.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game. Dosunmu is one of the most gifted players in the country, and the Hawkeyes’ backcourt will face a very tough challenge. While Ayo could be a key factor against Iowa’s fragile D, the hosts certainly need to work hard on the defensive end for all 40 minutes. 

College basketball pick – Illinois by 2.

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