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College Basketball Odds & Picks for Memphis vs. Saint Mary’s: The Case for Live Betting the Tigers

College Basketball Odds & Picks for Memphis vs. Saint Mary’s: The Case for Live Betting the Tigers article feature image

Joe Murphy/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayden Hardaway (left) and Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway.

  • A ranked Memphis squad battles Saint Mary's in South Dakota on Wednesday afternoon.
  • The Tigers have lost some key pieces, but Roberto Arguello still think they're worth a live bet.
  • Arguello breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.

Memphis vs. Saint Mary’s Odds

Memphis Odds -6 [BET NOW]
Saint Mary’s Odds +6 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -265/+215 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 134 [BET NOW]
Time Wednesday, 2 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

The Memphis Tigers take on the Saint Mary’s Gaels in the first game of the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic in South Dakota on Wednesday afternoon. Both teams have lots of roster turnover and new faces that will star in new roles this season.

Memphis lost two players from its highly touted 2019 recruiting class to the 2020 NBA Draft in James Wiseman (second overall pick) and Precious Achiuwa (20th pick). The Tigers return just four upperclassmen and no seniors.

The Gaels must replace over 72% of their scoring from last season with the departure of their big three — Jordan Ford, Malik Fitts and Tanner Krebs.

With more uncertainty than usual as we tip off the 2020-21 season, I will be live-betting this game according to a few potential outcomes.

Memphis Tigers

Despite losing two of the top big men from all of college basketball last season (although Wiseman played fewer than five games for Memphis), the Tigers have been picked by the coaches to finish second in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) behind Houston. The coaches have confidence in Memphis, as the Tigers have reloaded at the center position with highly-touted recruit Moussa Cisse.

Cisse has been projected by the AAC coaches as the Preseason Rookie of the Year. A potential first-round pick in the next NBA Draft, he has elite shot-blocking skills and should be dominant defensively due to his athletic 6-foot-10 frame and 7-foot-4 wingspan. His offensive repertoire is still relatively raw, but he will be one of the most dangerous lob threats in the country from Day 1. He will be the key cog as Memphis plays a fast-paced and defensively-driven style.

The Tigers also will rely on their two AAC preseason second-team selections in D.J. Jeffries and Landers Nolley II. Jeffries, a sophomore forward, started 13 games last season while averaging 10.8 points and 4.3 rebounds. He is the leading returning scorer from 2019. Nolley, a sophomore forward, averaged 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists at Virginia Tech last season. Nolley was named to the ACC All-Freshman Team after his first season in Blacksburg.

Unfortunately for Memphis, it will likely miss a few contributors this week in South Dakota. Ahmad Rand, a 6-foot-8 junior college transfer, will miss all three games due to COVID-19 contact tracing. Rand led all JUCO players last year with five blocks per game.

Evansville transfer DeAndre Williams has not yet had his transfer waiver request cleared (allegedly due to a hold up from Evansville), so he’s not yet available to play. Sophomore guard Lester Quinones has been dealing with minor tendinitis but is expected to play against Saint Mary’s.

Saint Mary’s Gaels

The Gaels enter the 2020-21 season after finishing 26-8 last season with an appearance in the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship. It was their fifth consecutive 22-win season and what would have been another NCAA Tournament appearance.

Despite the team’s success, no returning Gaels averaged more than seven points in 2019. Saint Mary’s was picked to finish third in the WCC this year behind Gonzaga and BYU.

Matthias Tass, a 6-foot-10 junior from Estonia, figures to lead the Gaels, as he has been selected to the preseason first-team WCC. He averaged 6.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.3 blocks before tearing his ACL on Dec. 21, 2019.

Logan Johnson and former walk-on Tommy Kuhse will lead the Gaels’ backcourt. Kuhse led the team in assists last year and should once again serve as the lead facilitator. He and Johnson will present a tough matchup for Memphis with their ball-handling and shooting. Sophomore guard Alex Ducas will also play a key role this season after shooting 41.4% from 3-point range last year.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

I recommend waiting until right around tipoff to place bets just to make sure that key players on each team are playing — there’s nothing worse than seeing your bet lose before the game even starts.

With that in mind, both teams need new players to step up as leaders, as there’s more uncertainty going into this opening game than most others on Wednesday. The key matchup will be down low with Tass battling freshman Cisse. Tass presents a challenge for the Tigers as a versatile big who can score down low but also act as a facilitator to set up his teammates for easy buckets.

If Tass is successful as a scorer and facilitator, Saint Mary’s will have a good chance to win. But, if he gets in foul trouble on the other end guarding Cisse, I don’t see a path to victory for the Gaels against the more talented Tigers.

While I like the value of the Saint Mary’s moneyline at +275, I will be live-betting this game according to how the Tass vs. Cisse matchup unfolds. If Cisse can avoid foul trouble and provide a challenge for Tass on the defensive end, then I like Memphis to win. Because basketball is a game of runs, I will try to bet on the Tigers after a Gaels run when the odds drop below -120.

Alternatively, if Tass can get Cisse into foul trouble in his first college game and force Memphis to win without a dominant presence inside, then I like the value on the Saint Mary’s moneyline down to +200 live.

Pick: Memphis Tigers live moneyline (to -120).

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