Saint Louis has been one of the better teams in the country this season. They’re off to 6-0 start already and should probably be a top-25 team. They have solid wins over North Carolina State and LSU to this point, but Minnesota will be their biggest test of the year.
The Golden Gophers have just one loss on the year, getting demolished by No. 13 Illinois in their game on Tuesday. It was a loss that brought Minnesota back down to earth after starting 6-0, but may be just the kick they needed in a game against the unbeaten Billikens.
It doesn’t get any easier for Minnesota after this, their next four games are against ranked opponents, so they desperately need a win in this one.
The story last season with the Billikens was their free-throw shooting. They ranked dead last in the country. But, early this season, they’re hitting well over 70% from the line and it’s made a big difference.
Senior guard Javonte Perkins has been awesome to start the year, averaging 19.5 points per game and shooting 56.6% from the field. Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French are both beasts on the glass. Goodwin averages 11.0 rebounds per game to go with his 15.2 points, and French pulls in 8.3 boards per contest.
I like Minnesota. I think Marcus Carr is great, but I just don’t think the frontcourt of the Golden Gophers is going to be able to hang with the Billikens’ bigs.
As 2-point favorites, I love Saint Louis. I was worried this line would be around 5-6 points and I’d be scared off of taking the Billikens, but at two points I love them here.
ATS Pick: Saint Louis -2 @ -112
Saint Louis has scored fewer than 80 points just one time this season, and it came in their 78-59 win over Indiana State. Meanwhile, Minnesota has scored fewer than 80 twice in seven games.
Both these teams can score and I don’t think 146 will be a tough mark to hit. Perkins and Carr are both going to get their buckets, as they do every game. Both these teams score in bunches and this is going to be an extremely competitive game. This total seems like it’s going to be at least somewhere in the 150s, if not higher.
Over/Under Pick: Over 146 @ -109
I think I’ve made it pretty clear who I’m taking here. St. Louis is just the better team in my mind. According to KenPom, the Billikens are the 26th ranked team in the country while the Golden Gophers are 54th.
I expect the Saint Louis front count to give Minnesota problems. Those second-chance buckets for the Billikens and the lack of them for Minnesota is going to make a big difference and lead to maybe a 5-8 point win for unbeaten Saint Louis.