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Billikens’ Board Work May Be Too Much for Richmond

Jordan Goodwin with the Saint Louis Billikens are favored to win over Richmond.

The jockeying for position in the Atlantic 10 Conference standings continues – and two teams with NCAA Tournament aspirations duel Friday night as the Saint Louis Billikens host the Richmond Spiders. Saint Louis (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) cruised to a 74-58 win over Richmond (13-5 SU, 9-8 ATS) in their previous meeting in January 2020 but is only a modest favorite Friday.

Richmond Spiders vs Saint Louis Billikens
  • Date/Time: February 26, 7 p.m. ET
  • Arena: Chaifetz Arena
  • TV Coverage: ESPN 2
  • Opening Odds: Saint Louis -5 | O/U 144 (Line History)
  • Richmond vs Saint Louis Matchup Report

Opening Odds Analysis

The Billikens opened at -5 but are now installed at -4.5 at the majority of sportsbooks. The total has held steady at 144.

Richmond News & Notes

The Spiders have done well to remain in the hunt for a tournament berth despite having their season paused twice due to COVID-19 protocols. They come into a difficult road test having won three of their last four games to improve to 6-3 in A-10 play, behind only Virginia Commonwealth and St. Bonaventure, both of whom boast 10-3 records in conference action.

It might sound obvious to suggest that making shots is the key for the Spiders on Friday, but it’s especially true given that Richmond is one of the worst rebounding teams in the nation. The Spiders haul in just 30.4 rebounds per game, good for 329th in Division I; their minus-4.0 average rebound margin falls well behind that of the Billikens, who are at a terrific plus-8.4.

Saint Louis News & Notes

You can be sure the Billikens will be looking to throw their weight around Friday against the visiting Spiders. Saint Louis averages better than 39 boards per contest, led by Jordan Goodwin with 10.5. The senior guard has recorded double-doubles in four of his past five games, including a 16-point, 12-rebound effort in a disheartening 67-65 loss to VCU last time out.

If there’s one area where the Spiders might be able to make inroads Friday night, it’s at the free-throw line, where the Billikens rank in the middle of the Atlantic 10 pack with a 69.9 percent success rate. It was misses from the line that cost Saint Louis against VCU, as the Billikens went just 11-for-18 from the charity stripe to effectively negate a terrific effort on the defensive side of the ball.

Betting Pick: Saint Louis -4.5 (-110)

The Billikens have such an enormous advantage on the boards that it’s difficult to see Richmond shooting well enough to keep it from becoming a game-deciding factor.

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Shark Bites
  • Richmond is 15-4 SU in its last 19 games vs conference opponents.
  • Saint Louis is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games.
  • The OVER is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings at Saint Louis.