Butler at La Salle Picks and College Basketball Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 1/23/2013
When last we saw Butler they were doing what they do best — crushing the dreams of a high-profile program in dramatic fashion. This time the victim was Gonzaga on Saturday night,, and it was a play in the final seconds that sealed the win. Now they have to get focused again and try to put their best game forward on the road here in what could be a tricky spot.
This isn’t the first big win for Butler this year, so we have some insight into what to expect. After they beat Indiana they came back to beat Evansville, though they did not cover the 10.5-point spread since they only won by eight. There are some differences between that game and this one, though. There was a week between games then, whereas there are just four days now. The Evansville game was on Dec. 22, so players were likely focused on going home for a few days as much as they were on the game. Now they are in the heart of the conference season, and they know how much each game matters. Finally, La Salle is a better, more dangerous team, and Butler has to travel to play them.
Butler at La Salle Betting storylines
La Salle is going to be fired up for this game. Not only is their 12-5 record the best they have had since 1991, but ninth-ranked Butler is the highest-ranked team ever to play at La Salle. Crowd support is inconsistent at La Salle, but the Philadelphia fans have every reason to be excited for this one. They are a strong 7-1 at home so far, though they lack a signature win. And the loss to Central Connecticut State was a total head-scratcher. They have not been a home underdog all year.
While La Salle lacks experience with huge games like this, they do have a big asset going for them. Ramon Galloway probably isn’t a name most people know, but they should. The senior is not only the best player on the Explorers, but he’s one of the best players in the A-10. He averages 17 points per game and is 17th in the country in steals and Top 30 in three-point percentage. He did come up slightly lame in the last game against Xavier, though, and his hamstring remains a potential issue — though not one that will keep him out of the game. Galloway is dynamic and dangerous, and he will have to be the primary focus of Butler. If he doesn’t have a big day then La Salle has no chance.
The most amazing part of Butler’s win over Gonzaga is that they did it without leading scorer Rotnei Clarke. Clarke will miss his third straight game on Wednesday with a sprained neck. The offensive role that Clarke vacated has been filled well by sophomore Roosevelt Jones. He scored 20 points last time out and capped the Gonzaga game by scoring the winning basket. What is lost when Jones replaces Clarke, though, is an outside threat. Clarke is deadly from three-point range, but Jones isn’t. If La Salle can effectively keep Jones out of his comfort zone then they could make things interesting.
Butler at La Salle College Basketball Odds and Betting Trends
5Dimes has La Salle favored by 2.5 points at home — less than the home court advantage.
These two teams last met in 1999. Butler won 43-36 in a defensive battle to cover the 6.5-point spread. The Bulldogs have gone “over” in seven of their last eight road games. La Salle is 15-5-3 ATS in their last 23 games at home. Butler has covered their last four spreads overall and last five on the road.
Butler at La Salle Picks and Betting Predictions
I have respect for La Salle, but Butler is the comfortable pick here. They are strong on the road, they are brimming with confidence, and they have more weapons than La Salle has seen or will have answers for. Plus, with Galloway not at 100 percent, it will be easier for Butler to dictate the pace of play and have their way. Butler is a confident pick.
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