Wednesday Big East Basketball Picks: DePaul at St. John’s

DePaul Blue Demons at St. John’s Red Storm, Carnesecca Arena, Jamaica, NY
Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN3
Opening Line: St. John’s -15
Current Line: St. John’s -14.5
Opening Total: 139.5
Current Total: 139.5
Money Line: St. John’s -1400 / DePaul +900

St. John's DePaul Big East Preview
The DePaul Blue Demons has rewarded bettors who have backed them by covering five straight games as double-digit underdogs

The 23rd-ranked St. John’s Red Storm (17-9, 9-5 Big East) are back in the Top 25 for the first time since 2000 and now get the opportunity to host the conference’s worst team in the DePaul Blue Demons (7-19, 1-13) on Wednesday.  The Red Storm (-14.5) are double-digit favorites for the fifth time this season and first time this year in league play against a DePaul team that has dropped 26 of 27 games against conference opponents, including the Big East tournament.

The Blue Demons have been a lot more competitive though lately, snapping their skid of 25 league losses in a row with a 79-76 victory at Providence last Thursday.  They have covered the spread in their last five games, all as double-digit underdogs.  They are coming off a tough 77-75 home loss to Villanova in overtime on Saturday, as Corey Fisher forced the extra session for the Wildcats by making a game-tying 3-pointer with six seconds remaining in regulation.  Fisher then scored seven of his career-high 34 points in overtime to lead Villanova to the win.

DePaul has played much better recently due to improved offense, averaging over 73 points in the last four games after scoring 60 or less in the previous four.  The OVER has cashed in each of the team’s last four games.  Junior guard Jeremiah Kelly has stepped up in the last two games, averaging 24 points after totaling more than 10 points only once in the previous 23 games.

St. John’s will get a bit of a break here after beating a Top 10 team for the fourth time this season on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.  The Red Storm edged #4 Pittsburgh 60-59 on Dwight Hardy’s game-winning shot with 1.2 seconds left to run their winning streak against Big East opponents to five games.  Hardy scored a team-high 19 points against the Panthers and has averaged 24.4 points in the last seven games.

The team is 6-1 straight-up and 5-2 against the spread during Hardy’s recent scoring spree and has beaten the Blue Demons in the last three meetings both SU and ATS.  Those three wins against DePaul were decided by an average of more than 16 points per game, including a 90-82 overtime victory last season.  St. John’s had lost the two previous meetings with the Blue Demons and will be playing this game at the smaller Carnesecca Arena rather than the Garden.

Now that you have read this Big East college basketball betting preview featuring St. John’s & DePaul, check out the NCAA basketball odds on this and all the games to compare the best lines at multiple sportsbooks.

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