Empire Classic NCAAB Best Bets for November 21: Is St. John’s a Sneaky Pick?

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Posh Alexander #0 of the St. John's Red Storm shoots the ball as Caleb Daniels #14 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts to block during the 2022 Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 10, 2022. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

The Empire Classic at the Barclays Center will begin on Monday night between Syracuse and Richmond, along with St. John’s and Temple. Which teams can you expect to dominate in the tournament?

With two intriguing matchups in Brooklyn, New York, we’ve added our best bets for the Empire Classic. 

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Syracuse Orange vs. Richmond Spiders 

Monday, November 21, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Barclays Center

The Syracuse Orange will take on the Richmond Spiders in the first game of two in the Empire Classic. The tournament is being held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 

So far, the Orange have wins over Lehigh and Northeastern but lost to Colgate at home, 80-68. Meanwhile, Richmond won their first two games against VMI and Northern Iowa but lost to Charleston and Wichita State in back-to-back games. Both games were tight, but Richmond fell in both. 

Mr. Orange

Joseph Girard III leads Syracuse. He scored 18 points per game but only shot 39.5% from the field. The Orange have shot an effective field goal percentage of 53.9% and nailed 39.2% from downtown while scoring 52% inside the arc. 

Richmond isn’t a significant threat when turning the ball over and Syracuse has limited turnovers to 18.5% to begin the season. They’ll also have much more success on the offensive glass, gaining 32.4% of offensive rebounds. 

Stingy Spiders

On offense, the Spiders have earned just 22.6% of offensive rebounds. They’re still shooting a 50.9% effective field goal percentage. However, Richmond has shot just 30.9% from deep. Richmond has still scored 55.5% of shots from inside the arc. 

The Spiders are led by Tyler Burton, who has scored 19 points per game while shooting 49.1% from the field. 

The Pick

This game will come down to Richmond making their threes and earning offensive rebounds. Richmond is taking a lot of threes this season, and Syracuse has had trouble defending the three-point line. However, Richmond only shoots 30.9% from deep and rarely gets second chances off those misses. 

Therefore, I’ll back Syracuse against the spread for our first NCAAB pick

NCAAB Pick: Syracuse -3.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review


St. John’s Red Storm vs. Temple Owls 

Monday, November 21, 2022 - 09:30 PM EST at Barclays Center

The Temple Owls have been all over the place to begin the season. Temple has losses to Wagner and Vanderbilt but wins over Villanova and Rutgers. If you asked me about those four games prior to the season beginning, I would’ve predicted the opposite. 

But that’s why you play the games. 

Temple will face St. John’s, who are currently 4-0 on the year. The Red Storm defeated a bunch of really bad teams early but also beat a low-end high major team like Nebraska, 70-50. 

St. John’s Will Surprise Fans This Season

St. John’s are led by David Jones, who has scored 17.8 points per game on 46.6% from the field. The Red Storm have shot a 56.7% effective field goal percentage while earning 39% of offensive rebounds. 

St. John’s has also shot 37.1% from deep and 57.2% from inside the arc while rarely allowing its shots to get blocked

The Red Storm will turn the ball over 20% of the time, but Temple has only earned 15.2% of turnovers, which is currently 317th in college basketball. 

St. John’s isn’t getting to the line at a high rate but should dominate the offensive glass, knowing Temple has allowed close to 30% of offensive rebounds this season. They’ve also struggled to defend inside, giving up 52.2% from the field inside the arc. 

Temple is Above-Average

On the flip side, Temple is led by Damian Dunn, who has averaged 24 points per game on 57.4% from the field. The Owls are a very underrated offense but still shoot just a 48.7% effective field goal percentage. This team is above-average in every category, but so is the Red Storm defense. 

Temple only shoots 32.7% from deep and 48.5% from inside the arc. Meanwhile, St. John’s has held opponents to 29.7% from three and 49.6% from inside the arc. 

It’s still likely that Temple gets to the foul line more. But St. John’s isn’t going to foul Temple to the line above their season average. Offensive rebounds will also be harder for Temple against St. John’s, and turnovers should ultimately be higher. 

The Pick

Therefore, I’m backing the Red Storm. I know they’ve beaten up bad teams earlier this year, but they still match up better against Temple given the latest NCAAB odds

NCAAB Pick: St. Johns -5.5 (-105) at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.