The A-10 features a fun matchup between two desperate teams with postseason aspirations as the Dayton Flyers hit the road to battle it out against the Saint Louis Billikens. After opening as a pick’em, Dayton is now currently a -1.5 favorite. They handled the Billikens in their first matchup, now poised to repeat the same success this time around as well.
Dayton Vs. Saint Louis Odds
As mentioned earlier, oddsmakers had this as near a coin flip as you can get, opening the Flyers as a pick’em. Money was quick to back the previous victors, taking them up to -1.5 with indicators pointing towards it continuing to move in their favor. It’s an interesting contrast of styles as Dayton has fared far better on defense while the Billikens success mainly resides on offense. Their sole success of offense may not be good enough to get their revenge as their defense has largely held them back.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a moderate pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 137.5. Bettors have yet to take a firm stand on either end, keeping the number the same as the opening total. With a sharp contrast of styles on both ends of the court for both units, this makes the total an immediate pass for me as it is tough to gauge which side will factor more towards the result. Especially since points may be tough to come by for the Billikens as they are at a massive disadvantage in the interior.
Dayton Vs. Saint Louis Prediction & Pick
The Pick: Dayton moneyline
In fact, they are at such a disadvantage that I will side with the Flyers on the moneyline as I believe they will repeat as victors in this rematch. They handled them easily in the initial matchup, abusing the interior with their size advantage and getting high quality looks at the rim at a consistent rate. It’s tough to match that scoring pace with perimeter play, especially when prone to scoring lulls should the shots not fall from deep. While I have no issue by taking the current number, I’ll take the added security of the moneyline instead. Both options are playable.
The size advantage can’t be overstated enough as Dayton clocks in as the eighth tallest unit in the nation. This is a sizable gap over the Billikens as they are well below average in height per Kenpom. It’s also not as if Dayton is that far inferior in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency as they rank 95th while the Billikens clock in at 79th. That gap in efficiency will be easily covered by the Flyers ability to once again generate high quality looks at the rim by abusing the interior. As previously mentioned, defense is already an issue for the Billikens as they rank 155th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency per Kenpom.
The use of the Flyers height is apparent in their scoring metrics as their top three scorers all reside at the forward position with DaRon Holmes II, Toumani Camara, and Mustapha Amzil combining for 41.1 points per game. This accounts for nearly 60% of their team total average, scoring 69.3 points per game as a unit. By playing large and mainly in the interior, Dayton runs at one of the slowest paces in the nation by ranking 345th in Adjusted Tempo per Kenpom. This limits possessions, maximizing on their efficiency with interior looks in comparison to St Louis’s perimeter play.
Dayton Vs. Saint Louis Key Matchups
Can Dayton once again lock up the Billikens offense?
Dayton perimeter defense vs Billikens guard play
As you may have guessed it, the Billikens offense will live and die through their guard play as one of the smaller units in basketball. Especially from the perimeter, averaging 35.5% from deep in their efforts to negate the Flyers size advantage.
The issue is that Dayton’s length is more than capable of smothering perimeter looks, ranking seventh in the nation in opposing three point percentage. They hold opposing units to just 28.7% from deep per TeamRankings.
With little to no hope for interior scoring consistency, as well as low quality looks from deep, history will be destined to repeat itself as the Billikens just match up poorly against the Dayton Flyers.
By sheer size alone, back the Flyers in what will be a dominant display of interior offense as they look to beat the Billikens once again in this rematch.