Rams still in play without Matthews
There is only one top 25 men's college basketball team in action Friday night and that's No. 16 Rhode Island. Here's why the Rams are still an intriguing play, even though a key starter might not play.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book YouWager, Rhode Island opened as a mere 1-point road favorite at St. Bonaventure tonight (7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2). That said, with 69% of the betting tickets wagered at online sportsbooks on the Rams (not to mention 82% of the money according to SportsInsights), the road team in this matchup was bet up to -2.5.
Granted, some online sportsbooks have already adjusted the line back down to 2 so if you like the Rams, you can shop around and avoid the hook (not to mention by the number to 1.5 if you so desire). Here's why you need to track the line movement on this game very closely throughout the day.
On Tuesday night Rhode Island hosted Richmond and guard E.C. Matthews injured his knee while attempting to bounce on a loose ball. He was helped off the court in what looked to be a devastating knee injury for the Rams' star player. That said, Rhode Island noted the following day that Matthews didn't need an MRI and despite there being inflammation in his knee, the news was positive. His official status as of Friday morning was questionable but it seems unlikely that he would suit up just three nights after needing assistance to walk off the court.
Still, it's not as if the Rams are helpless without Matthews. They shot 62.5 percent over the final 20 minutes of their victory over Richmond and turned a five-point game into a runaway thanks to a 13-3 run. Rhode Island's bench accounted for 41 points in Friday night's 72-59 victory over Davidson, so the Rams have solid depth.
Here's my betting strategy for this game: If Matthews is ruled out but the line doesn't drop, I'll snag the Rams at -2 or better. Beating the Bonnies without Matthews won't be easy but Rhode Island isn't a one-man wrecking crew.