Yale vs. Saint Mary’s NCAA Basketball Picks and Odds Analysis

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Matthue Cotton #10 of the Yale Bulldogs. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images/AFP

Yale is heading West to face the Saint Mary’s Gaels in California to close out the non-conference schedule. The trip is, at least in part, to send a message to the rest of New England. 

The Bulldogs coaching staff believes that local teams refuse to play the preseason Ivy League favorites, forcing the Bulldogs to travel far and wide to find an opponent not afraid to play them.

Keep reading to check the NCAAB odds and start cashing out at the top-rated books!

Yale Bulldogs vs. Saint Mary’s Gaels 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at University Credit Union Pavilion 

Yale hasn’t played another team from Connecticut since 2016. The Bulldogs haven’t faced UConn, the biggest name in the state, since 2014, when Yale beat the Huskies.  

“It’s extremely frustrating that we can’t get anybody in the state of Connecticut to play us on a regular basis,” coach James Jones said. “We used to play everybody, all the time. … “There’s a party in New England, and we’re not invited.” 

Yale didn’t make life any easier on itself by beating UMass—the one New England team willing to travel to play the Bulldogs in Connecticut—by 20 in the second game of the season.  

Yale has also traveled to Seton Hall and Auburn this season and now embarks on its biggest trip. The 11-3 Gaels are a tough way to send a message to the neighbors, however.  

Daunting Schedule 

Underscoring its scheduling challenge, Yale has played more than half of its games this season either on the road or neutral sites, which is a big reason the Bulldogs are 6-7. Yale has lost two straight and three of the last four.  

All seven of their losses this season have been to teams that are at least two games over .500. The combined record for the teams that have beaten Yale is 63-20, .759. In addition to UMass, Yale has wins over Milwaukee and Siena, and all six wins have been by double-digits.  

Yale has been off since December 14th, after a pre-Christmas game against Howard was canceled due to COVID issues on the Bison. In a rarity for an Ivy League team, the Bulldogs will be looking to speed up the pace against the glacial Gaels.

Three Yale players average in double figures, led by senior guard Azar Swain at 19.3. Two other upperclassmen, junior Matthue Cotton (10.8 ppg) and senior Jalen Gabbidon (10.4), who is the former Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year, round out the Bulldog attack.  

West Coast Power 

Saint Mary’s doesn’t have a big name, but the Gaels are expected to be one of the top mid-majors in the country. They have wins over Notre Dame, Oregon, and Utah State this season, and the three losses are to Wisconsin, Colorado State, and San Diego State. So the Gaels are certainly toughened by their non-conference schedule.  

Saint Mary’s will be looking to grind it out against Yale—and everyone else. The Gaels play the No. 317 tempo in the country and dominate the game inside. Saint Mary’s is No. 2 in the country on the defensive boards, No. 49 in blocked shot rate, and among the top teams in the nation in two-point shooting and two-point defense.  

Senior Matthias Tass has been leading the Gaels, averaging 15.9 ppg over the last seven games and hitting more than two-thirds of his shots. He’s 6-foot-10, one of four Gaels in the top six in the rotation who are 6-foot-7 or taller. Of the seven Saint Mary’s players who get the most playing time, four are seniors and two are juniors.   

The Pick 

For your NCAAB pick consider that the line on this game seems far out of proportion to the relative talent levels. Yale is far better than most sub-.500 teams, and even though the Bulldogs will be playing on the opposite coast, it seems likely that they’ll be able to stay within a dozen points, especially given the style Saint Mary’s likes to play.  

NCAAB Pick: Yale +12.5 (-108) with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Yale +12.5 (-108) 
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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.