Saint Mary’s vs. Gonzaga Betting Preview February 25: Not So Fast, Gaels

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Richie Saunders #15 of the Brigham Young Cougars blocks a shot by Logan Johnson #0 of the Saint Mary's Gaels.Chris Gardner/Getty Images/AFP.

NCAAB Pick: Under 142.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Under 142.5 (-110)
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Is this the year the Saint Mary’s Gaels finally overthrow the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the West Coast Conference? They’ve already locked down the regular season title heading into Saturday’s finale in Spokane, but the No. 12 Bulldogs (24-5 SU, 10-17-1 ATS) are still ahead of the No. 15 Gaels (25-5 SU, 16-11-2 ATS) in the polls.

Beating Gonzaga on their own court should change all that. But don’t plan the parade just yet; despite all appearances, the Bulldogs are actually the right choice for your college basketball picks as 5-point home faves at BetOnline and every other Washington betting site.

It’s only a slight lean, though. There will be more value in betting the Under on that 142.5-point total established at the NCAAB odds, maybe even enough to invest one unit of your bankroll. This is where Saint Mary’s (Under 15-14) can really help us out by doing what they do best: eat the clock.

Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Saturday, February 25, 2023 – 10:00 PM EST at McCarthey Athletic Center

Didn’t You Recommend Saint Mary’s Last Time?

Well, yes – but we also recommended Gonzaga. Both teams were among our preferred NCAAB picks for February 16, with the Gaels favored by 13 points over San Diego, and the Bulldogs by 7.5 over Loyola Marymount.

One out of two ain’t bad. Gonzaga destroyed the Lions 108-65, but not only did Saint Mary’s let the Toreros earn the matador cover, they almost lost the whole thing before prevailing 62-59. Sheesh.

That game did go Under 135.5 by a healthy amount, though, and it’s a perfect illustration of what we hope will happen again this Saturday. The Gaels are one of the slowest teams in Division I, ranking No. 359 out 363 on Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency charts at 62.2 possessions per game, according to his Adjusted Tempo metric.

Saint Mary’s also ranks No. 6 in defensive efficiency, as opposed to No. 40 on offense. This is exactly the kind of profile you want to see when you’re betting the Under. Which we are, thank you kindly.

Didn’t Their Last Game With Gonzaga Go Over?

It did, but with an asterisk: They went to overtime before Saint Mary’s pulled out the 78-70 victory (Over 137) as 3-point home faves. These two Left Coast rivals scored a combined 122 points in regulation before the Gaels went ham in extra time.

This is part of the reason why we’re okay recommending Gonzaga -5 for a small sum; it’s also why we’re not too worried about the Bulldogs (Over 17-11) being exactly the opposite of what we want for our Under bet:

  • Offense: No. 1
  • Defense: No. 86
  • Tempo: No. 40 (70.7 possessions per game)

Again, not ideal. But you can’t score if you don’t have the basketball, and Saint Mary’s will do their level best to play keep-away this Saturday night.

What Do The Projections Say?

According to the ones we’re scoping out here at the home office, Gonzaga should end up scoring around 73-74 points in this contest, with Saint Mary’s checking in at 68. That leaves us with slightly more of a cushion against the total than the point spread.

There’s one thing about this contest that could shake things up just a little: Gonzaga center Efton Reid III (minus-9.4 BPM at Sports Reference) is questionable for Saturday with a back injury that’s cost him the past two games.

Reid only played three minutes the last time Gonzaga faced Saint Mary’s, but he’s been awful this year, while forward Ben Gregg (plus-7.5 BPM) has been excellent coming off the bench. Every minute counts, so bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

NCAAB Pick: Gonzaga -5 (-110) at BetOnline

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Gonzaga -5 (-110)
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*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.