Burke: Handicapping college basketball rematches: St. John’s vs. Seton Hall


This is a sneak peek at one of my college basketball topics for this week’s edition of Point Spread Weekly. We’re going to be reaching the point in college hoops where rematches start taking place. We have some unique ones now because of COVID and schedule alterations that have actually created home-and-home scenarios. One in the Big East today is between Seton Hall and St. John’s.

I’ll go in deeper detail in the article, but I think there are a lot of important factors to consider with these rematches. I’ll talk in broader terms for the article, but focus on a specific game here.


St. John’s at Seton Hall (-7, 151.5)

(Updated college basketball odds)

These two teams just played on Saturday at St. John’s and the Pirates won 66-60. The Johnnies went off as a 1-point underdog at home with a total 152 (opened 156). The game only got to 126 points, but the first thing you notice is that we don’t see much of a total adjustment.

The second thing you notice is that Seton Hall is -7 today. After closing -1 on Saturday (opened -3), the Pirates opened -9 for this game and are -7. Bettors are still on the Johnnies, despite Saturday’s loss. Comparing the line is the first step.

The second step is to see what happened in the game. The teams combined to shoot 36-of-111 on 2-point shots. That seems unlikely to happen again (hence the total). They were also 9-of-32 from 3. St. John’s is 103rd in adjusted offensive efficiency per Bart Torvik and Seton Hall is 60th. Ken Pom has 101st and 42nd, respectively.

The first game was played to 76 possessions, with a season-low .794 points per possession for St. John’s and a season-low .874 PPP for Seton Hall. The teams were a combined 27-of-76 at the rim and there were 36 offensive rebounds in the game.

It looks like we had two outlier performances offensively. A lot of bettors will look at the 126 points scored last game and just immediately bet the under with a total in the 150s, but that is a dangerous game to play. In any rematch, you have to look at more than just the final score.

I’m going to give you a little homework on a Monday. Another rematch is Texas Tech vs. Kansas. Compare the line with that January 8 game. Look at the box score to see what happened. Make some notes, do your evaluations and then see if you come to a bet.

Other rematches today: UNLV vs. San Diego State (Jan 1); Tennessee State vs. Morehead State (Jan 15)

If you aren't a subscriber and want to get Wednesday's Point Spread Weekly, sign up for a free 7-day trial.