An intriguing non-conference college basketball game tips at 11:30 a.m. ET Thursday as the Saint Joseph's Hawks face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. The Demon Deacons are favored by 3.5 in the current Wake Forest vs. St. Joseph's odds, with the over-under for total points scored set at 150.5. Saint Joe's is 2-0 with a pair of defining wins led by budding stars who missed most of last year, while Wake coach Danny Manning looks to build a new tradition in Winston-Salem. Before you make any Wake Forest vs. Saint Joseph's picks, you'll want to see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
This model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has raked in the winnings for those following its picks. Over the past two years, the SportsLine Projection Model has returned over $5,200 to $100 players on its top-rated selections. It entered this week on a 6-3 run on its top-rated picks, and anyone who has followed it is up big.
For Thursday, we can tell you the model is leaning Over, but it has also locked in an against the spread pick that hits in nearly 75 percent of its simulations. You can only see that strong pick at SportsLine.
The model knows St. Joseph's went 16-16 last year, but that was without its top two players. PG Lamaar Kimble played just one game before a foot injury ended his season, while SF Charlie Brown, a leading NBA prospect, didn't play at all after fracturing his wrist. They're both back, and the Hawks have looked impressive through two games, downing Old Dominion and Monmouth each by 15 points.
Pierfrancesco Oliva, a 6-8 forward who led the team in rebounding last season with 6.8, is contributing 10.5 points and 12 rebounds through two games and should continue to benefit from Kimble and Brown returning.
Just because St. Joseph's is clicking doesn't mean it can cover against a rebounding Wake Forest of the ACC.
The model also knows Wake went just 11-20 last year and its top-three scorers transferred, leaving question marks all over the court.
Some of them were answered in Game 1 for the Deacons by freshman Jaylen Hoard. The heralded 6-8 recruit had 19 points and 13 rebounds in his college debut, a 90-78 win over North Carolina A&T on Saturday. It was the first double-double debut for a Deacons player since 2008 (Al-Farouq Aminu).
The offense will be led by 6-0 junior Brandon Childress, who last year averaged 9.1 points and 3.7 assists per game. He went for eight points, six assists, four rebounds and one turnover in 36 minutes.
The Deacons don't have a proven post scorer, but their defense and rebounding look to be sound, with a pair of 6-10, 240-pound returnees, as well as 7-foot rim protector Olivier Sarr. On Saturday, Wake out-rebounded A&T 44-22, including 17 on the offensive end.
So which side of Saint Joseph's vs. Wake Forest do you need to be all over? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Saint Joseph's vs. Wake Forest spread you can count nearly 75 percent of the time, all from the model that has crushed college hoops, and find out.