- The St. Bonaventure Bonnies enjoy top seeding at the Atlantic 10 Tournament, but lag behind VCU and Saint Louis in the tournament odds
- VCU finished second in the conference standings, while the Billikens overcame a devastating COVID-19 outbreak to claim the No. 4 seed
- We’ve got you covered with all the odds and trends as the 2021 Atlantic-10 Tournament gets underway on Wednesday morning at Siegel Center
The St. Bonaventure Bonnies will be aiming to become the first Atlantic 10 regular-season conference champions in eight years to go on to claim a tournament title when this year’s Atlantic 10 Tournament gets underway on Wednesday, March 3.
This year’s edition of the A-10 Tournament opens at Siegel Center, home of the VCU Rams, on Wednesday morning, with the No. 12 La Salle Explorers taking on the No. 13 St. Joseph’s Hawks, followed by a clash between the No. 11 George Washington Colonials and No. 14 Fordham Rams. Four second-round contests follow on Thursday, with games also taking place at Robins Center, home of the Richmond Spiders. The top four seeds join the fray for the quarter-finals on Friday, followed by semi-final matchups on Saturday, with the tournament champion set to be crowned on Sunday afternoon at UD Arena in Dayton.
Plenty is on the line at this year’s tournament, with the winners gaining an automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament. However, with strong performances this week, as many as three A-10 squads could ultimately punch their ticket to Indianapolis for March Madness, according to projections at TeamRankings.com.
Here’s a look at how the tournament field stacks up, and best bets to raise the hardware on Sunday afternoon.
Odds to Win the Atlantic-10 Tournament
|(2) VCU Rams||+225|
|(4) Saint Louis Billikens||+245|
|(1) St. Bonaventure Bonnies||+375|
|(8) Richmond Spiders||+400|
|(3) Davidson Wildcats||+850|
|(7) Dayton Flyers||+1400|
|(10) Rhode Island Rams||+3000|
|(5) UMass Minutemen||+4000|
|(9) Duquesne Dukes||+10000|
|(6) George Mason Patriots||+10000|
|(11) George Washington Colonials||+30000|
|(14) Fordham Rams||+35000|
|(13) St. Joseph’s Hawks||+50000|
|(12) La Salle Explorers||+50000|
Odds from DraftKings on March 2, 2021.
Can Bonnies Overcome Season-Ending Letdown?
Despite finishing atop the A-10 standings, the Bonnies face a tough road in their bid to claim their first tournament title since 2012 as a +375 bet. The team failed a big test on Monday night, dropping a 55-52 decision to Dayton as 7-point home chalk, and have now fallen to defeat in three of seven outings. Indeed, concerns about St. Bonaventure’s tournament hopes grow considering their other two recent losses have come against tournament favorites VCU, and the suddenly red-hot Saint Louis Billikens.
And that’s how the regular season ends for Bona. Disappointing loss. Sloppy performance overall. Dayton wins 55-52. On to Richmond for the conference tournament later this week, where at least one win is probably required to feel good about NCAA Tournament chances. pic.twitter.com/WzMafKr2zt
— Mike Hogan (@MHoganReports) March 2, 2021
Still, there is plenty to like about this team. The Bonnies defense was among the best in the nation this season while surrendering just 60.6 points per game, and kept opponents well under that number over their final four contests of the campaign. The team will also need far more out of top scorers Kyle Lofton and Jaren Holmes than what they produced in Monday’s loss to the Flyers. Holmes failed to record a point after averaging over 17 in his three previous outings, while Lofton was limited to just nine points.
VCU a Consistent Betting Disappointment
With question marks swirling around the Bonnies in the wake of their dismal regular season finale, the focus turns to VCU and the Saint Louis Billikens, who sit atop the tournament odds at +225 and +245, respectively.
VCU had a chance to clinch and an at-large bid with a win today but they lose at Davidson 65-57. I think the Rams should still get in so long as they avoid any bad losses in the A10 Tournament. Saint Bonaventure has clinched at least a share of the A10 title.
— Jonathon Warriner (@Bracketologist3) February 27, 2021
A betting disappointment throughout the conference season, the Rams also closed out their schedule in shaky fashion, with losses to George Mason and Davidson ultimately costing them a chance to claim the top seed. VCU consistently let down loyal sports bettors, posting ATS wins in just four of 14 conference games. The upside comes from their recent wins over the Bonnies and Billikens, and a ferocious defense. However, the Rams’ inability to shut the door on opponents makes them a risky bet to prevail in this week’s marathon tournament.
Resilient Billikens Enter Tourney on a Roll
It has been a particularly tough season for the defending tournament champion Billikens. The team was decimated by an outbreak of COVID-19 in late December that forced the cancellation of five of their six schedule contests in January. However, Saint Louis demonstrated impressive resilience while embarking on a four-game SU win streak in the first half of February. The Billikens also recovered from a mini slump to close out their schedule with a pair of victories, capped by a crushing 78-57 win over UMass on Monday night, and look to tournament action as an average +8333 bet in the March Madness odds.
VCU just beat Saint Louis. Probably means the Billikens will need to win the A-10 tourney to go dancing. Sucks because Saint Louis is talented enough, but had a six-week stretch in which played just one game due to COVID protocols. Were 7-1 at the time; 4-4 since.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) February 24, 2021
The Billikens also bring valuable experience into this year’s tournament, with a number of key players who raised the hardware with Saint Louis two years ago still with the team. That includes seniors Jordan Goodwin and Hasahn French, who both closed out the schedule with steady performances.
Flyers, Hawks Intriguing Longshots
With a lengthy history of lower seeds emerging as champions at this tournament, sports bettors overlook longshots at their own peril. While the Dayton Flyers fell to defeat in three of their final five contests, their wins were huge.
Dayton's Jalen Crutcher: "I feel great about the tournament. I think we're good enough to win the tournament. I feel we're going to win the tournament."
— David Jablonski (@DavidPJablonski) March 2, 2021
In addition to knocking off the Bonnies on Monday night, the Flyers also posted a decisive 76-53 victory over the Billikens 5.5-point home underdogs just two weeks ago. And with the tournament final set to take place on their home hardwood, the No. 7 Flyers sport intriguing +400 odds to claim their first tournament title since 2003.
— Richmond Basketball (@SpiderMBB) March 2, 2021
The brave of heart may also give consideration to the 13th-seeded St. Joseph’s Hawks. Listed alongside La Salle as +50000 longshots, the Hawks caught fire following the return of Ryan Daly from a thumb injury. St. Joseph’s averaged 88 points per game while closing their schedule with upset wins over the Explorers, Dayton, and Richmond.
Billikens the Team to Beat
But following such a chaotic season, the best bet remains the most talented and experienced team in the conference. Sporting a veteran lineup that has enjoyed success at this tournament, and which overcame massive adversity this season, the Billikens have to be considered the team to beat. And with a lengthy run at this week’s tournament crucial to the club’s hopes of a return to March Madness, look for Saint Louis to successfully defend their Atlantic 10 Tournament crown.
The Pick: Saint Louis Billikens (+245)
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