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On Wednesday night, the St. John’s Red Storm (13-7) will travel to Ohio to battle the Xavier Musketeers (10-10). St. John’s has three more wins than Xavier this season, but both teams have been inconsistent.
The Red Storm have won just two of their past five games but should have some confidence after beating Villanova by 20 points in their last game. Xavier hasn’t won in their past two outings and just lost to UConn by 43 points over the weekend.
We will preview the betting odds and share our favorite picks for St. John’s vs Xavier on Wednesday.
Xavier is favored by 1.5 points at home. It may seem surprising that St. John’s is the underdog, but the Cintas Center is a difficult place to play, which factors into the lines.
|St. John’s Red Storm
|Over 155.5 (-110)
|Under 155.5 (-110)
Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Head over to FanDuel to place your bets and qualify for $200 in bonus bets!
St. John’s and Xavier are similar in all phases of the game. The Red Storm ranks 33rd in KenPom’s adjusted efficiency this season, while the Musketeers rank 42nd.
The deciding factor in this game will be how the Red Storm handles the hostile road environment. The primary thing that suffers when a team plays on the road is offense, the main area where the Red Storm can enforce their will over the Musketeers.
St. John’s is 40th in offensive efficiency from KenPom, while Xavier is 55th. This is the most significant statistical difference in the game. The Musketeers should have more success at home, but when the Red Storm gets going, they’re a tough offense to stop.
St. John’s thrives with second chances under the rim. Rebounds on the offensive glass kill opponents and take the air out of the home crowd.
The Red Storm is 12th in the nation in total rebounds and fourth in offensive rebounds. Joel Soriano is the player to watch for St. John’s and thrives in all areas of the game.
Soriano is known for making something out of nothing under the glass. He leads the team in points (16.4) and rebounds (9.7). Soriano battles on the offensive glass, pulling down four per game.
Daniss Jenkins, the team’s assist leader, has fed Soriano on the inside all season. He averages 13.1 points per game and has four double-digit scoring efforts in his past five games.
For Xavier to win, they must contain Soriano and Jenkins while playing relentlessly in the paint. Abou Ousmane will be the player tasked with defending the rim.
Ousmane had nine boards in his first game against the Red Storm. However, he isn’t an elite scorer, which is a disadvantage for Xavier.
The X-factor for the Musketeers is Quincy Olivari. Olivari scores just under 18 points per game and leads the team in this category. Despite this, his efficiency has been terrible, and it’s because there aren’t many players supporting him in the frontcourt.
The Musketeers have a scoring problem, which led to an 81-66 loss in their first game against St. John’s. This game was on the road, so they’ll have a slight advantage on Wednesday, but it’s still hard to trust a lackluster scoring team against the Red Storm.
Winning on the road is hard in the Big East, but these two teams have an apparent mismatch. It can be challenging to beat a team twice in a season, but St. John’s has the team to win this contest on the road.
There isn’t a player for the Musketeers who can match Soriano in the paint. Ousmane is a strong defender but can’t match Soriano’s offensive production.
Additionally, St. John’s speed in transition is better. When they get their chances to put teams away, they don’t stop. If the Red Storm can avoid foul trouble, we should witness a dominant road win for St. John’s.
St. John’s vs. Xavier Pick: St. John’s +1.5 at FanDuel
When: Wednesday, Jan. 31 @ 6:30 PM ET
Where: Cintas Center, Cincinnati, OH
Streaming: Fox Sports App
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Tanner Kern has been working in the betting industry since 2020. He currently is a social media content creator at DraftKings and contributes to multiple sites in addition to WSN, including Forbes and VSiN. He is also the cohost of the podcast Ride the Line at WSN.More info on Tanner Kern
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