College Basketball Picks: VCU Rams vs. Saint Louis Billikens

No. 25 VCU Rams vs. No. 16 Saint Louis Billikens
Sunday, 3/17/13, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  Saint Louis -1.5
Current Betting Line:  Saint Louis -2
Opening Total:  135
Current Total:  135.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The VCU Rams are 6-12 ATS versus conference opponents this season
The VCU Rams are 6-12 ATS versus conference opponents this season

VCU has won eight of its last 10 games, including a 71-62 victory over Massachusetts as 8.5-point favorites Saturday, while going UNDER the total of 151.5.  The Rams will now try to exact revenge against the Billikens, as they suffered a 76-62 setback as two-point road underdogs on Feb. 19, which has motivated the coaching staff.  “We’ve just got to play better,” commented head coach Shaka Smart.  Offensively, the team has hit 10 3-pointers in its first two Atlantic 10 Tournament games, which can’t be ignored when looking over the college basketball odds page.  VCU is 6-12 ATS versus conference opponents this season.

The Rams’ HAVOC style of defense has helped them claim the top spot in the country with 382 steals, while they’ve forced a turnover on 28.5 percent of their defensive possessions.  Sixteen times this year, VCU has had four or more players in double-figures in the scoring column, which has led to a 15-1 record in those contests.  Over the last four seasons, the program has compiled a 50-3 record when holding opponents to 60 points or less.

Saint Louis has won three games in a row, including a 67-56 victory over the Butler Bulldogs as 4.5-point neutral-site favorites in the semifinals, while going UNDER the total in all three of those contests.  The Billikens forced 20 turnovers for a second straight game, while holding the Bulldogs without a field goal for almost seven minutes midway through the second half.  The program celebrated its first outright regular season conference title since the 1956-57 season.  Saint Louis is 14-4 ATS versus Atlantic 10 foes, which is important to consider when making your college basketball picks against the spread.

The Billikens finished the regular season as the top defensive team in the conference, as they limited foes to 58.4 points per game.  Last season, Saint Louis allowed just 57.6 points per game to rank eighth nationally.  Sunday’s game is the first time the program has advanced to the A-10 final.

Sports bettors will likely back the Billikens due to their 8-0 ATS mark on Sundays, while the Rams are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games.

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