Big East Conference Basketball: Providence Friars vs. St. John’s Red Storm

Providence Friars at St. John’s Red Storm
Tuesday, 12/27/11, 7:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN3
Opening Point Spread:  St. John’s -1
Current Betting Line:  St. John’s -1
Opening Total:  135.5
Current Total:  133.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Providence Friars are led by a trio of guards offensively

Providence will put its seven-game win streak on the line Tuesday night and has won 12 of the last 15 contests against St. John’s dating back to 2001.  The Friars are opening Big East Conference play on the road for the 10th time in 12 seasons.  Playing away from home hasn’t been that bad for this squad, posting true road wins over South Carolina, Fairfield and Rhode Island.  Providence is 11-6 ATS in December the past two-plus seasons, while the ‘over’ is 12-5 in that situation.

The Friars will be looking to earn their fourth consecutive true road win of the season, last accomplishing such a feat during the 2003-04 season.  A trio of Providence guards is leading the offense, with junior Vincent Council leading the way in averaging 16.9 points per game.  Gerard Coleman is averaging 15.8 points and Bryce Cotton ranks third on the team in scoring 15.7 points per game.  The program may be catching St. John’s at the right time with one of the shallowest rosters in the country and head coach Steve Lavin still recovering from a surgical procedure.

St. John’s will open up conference play in hosting Providence inside the Carnesecca Arena.  The Red Storm are 6-1 at home and 5-1 on campus this season.  Lavin’s teams are 6-2 all-time in conference openers, including an 81-71 win at West Virginia on Dec. 29, 2010.  The team has bounced back from dropping five of six games and enters on a two-game win streak, but one of those victories came against a non-lined opponent in Texas Pan American.  St. John’s is 3-2 ATS as a home favorite of three points or less the last two-plus years.

The Red Storm received an early Christmas present on Dec. 21 as rookie forward and Top 100 prospect Amir Garrett was declared eligible to join the squad.  He played 15 minutes and contributed three points and two rebounds.  “They went through a lot, playing with six people. That’s going to be hard for any team,” commented Garrett about the team’s limited roster.  St. John’s is 1-4 ATS as a favorite so far during the 2011-12 campaign.

Bettors will likely back the Friars due to their 5-2 ATS mark in the last seven meetings, while the Red Storm are 3-8 ATS overall.

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