Memphis vs. Saint Louis Odds
Penny Hardaway and Memphis challenged themselves early in the non-conference schedule with consecutive road games at Vanderbilt and Saint Louis.
The Tigers passed their first test with a nine-point road win against the Commodores, but will face a more difficult opponent on Tuesday night in Saint Louis.
The Billikens will be expecting an NCAA tournament appearance this season. Winning an early-season non-conference game at home against another likely NCAA tournament team is a must for their at-large resume.
Saint Louis comfortably rolled in two straight home wins against much inferior opponents — Murray State and Evansville.
Javonte Perkins is back after missing all of last season for the Billikens, and they’re one of the most underrated mid-majors in the entire country. They return a ton of production, and I think they are undervalued against a Memphis squad that lost some key pieces last year.
The baby Tigers of years past under Hardaway have grown up a bit. He’s related a lot on first-year players, but this is a relatively old team compared to years past.
But the Tigers did lose a lot of production from last year. Jalen Duren was one of the best rim protectors in the country, and he’s gone. At times, Landers Nolley II and Lester Quinones carried the offense through rough patches, and they’re both gone, too.
Hardaway has a lineup of almost entirely seniors and upperclassmen. Per KenPom, the Tigers are sixth in Division I experience.
Their primary addition was Kendric Davis from SMU, but DeAndre Williams is a key returner in the Tigers’ frontcourt.
The Tigers flashed signs of elite potential last season, but were often bogged down by turnovers and inconsistency. If its experience leads to more consistency, Memphis could be a real challenge to Houston atop the American this year.
In this matchup, the Tigers do run the risk of being too aggressive defensively. They love to block shots and play aggressively, but Saint Louis will feast on the offensive glass because of this.
While Memphis won’t get a ton of second-chance looks and has turnover issues of its own, Saint Louis prioritizes the glass at both ends of the court.
If you’re looking for a complete basketball offense, you’d want a floor-general point guard, a go-to wing scorer and an elite floor spacer.
The Billikens have all three.
Yuri Collins returns from last season after an excellent campaign.
Perkins is the go-to scorer who was anticipated to be a potential All-American last year prior to injury.
And few shooters in the country are as elite as Gibson Jimerson, a fourth-year player who has made 39% or better in every season with the program.
Add Francis Okoro to the returning starters and Missouri transfer Javon Pickett as a new starter, and you have an offense that can beat you in a variety of ways.
The Billikens may not have a ton of size, but they’re one of the oldest teams in the entire country, and they rebound better than that size will suggest.
Because of their ability on the glass, I don’t expect them to give many second-chance opportunities to the Tigers in this one.
While the defense isn’t going to apply a ton of ball pressure, they do rebound, and Memphis isn’t an efficient enough shooting team to consistently score without second-chance opportunities.
Memphis vs. Saint Louis Betting Pick
Memphis had a mature win at Vanderbilt, with a relatively easy cover in its first game.
Both of these teams are really old and should be NCAA tournament teams, but this line suggests that Memphis is a better team right now, and I don’t see that being the case with all of the turnover in its program.
The Tigers have a higher ceiling, but they’re not at that ceiling right now. Saint Louis is the better November team, it’ll get more second-chance looks on the offensive glass and it has the most reliable shooters on the first shot.
As much as Memphis’ athleticism can impact games and frustrate opposing offenses, the defense on the interior will take a step back without Duren. Saint Louis gets the easier offense and wins this game at home.
I wouldn’t lay more than three, but the Billikens’ home court and experience will be enough with Memphis still learning how to play with one another.