Saint Mary’s vs BYU Odds, Picks: Target Total in WCC Duel

Saint Mary’s vs BYU Odds, Picks: Target Total in WCC Duel article feature image

Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Mark Pope (BYU)

Saint Mary's vs. BYU Odds

Saturday, Jan. 28
10 p.m. ET
Saint Mary's Odds
-110o / -110u
BYU Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

BYU and Saint Mary’s are both 11-10 on unders this season, so there has not been much of a trend for either. However, the two will meet in a West Coast Conference clash on Saturday in a polar opposite display of basketball tempos.

Saint Mary’s ranks 351st, according to KenPom’s Adjusted Tempo metric, while BYU ranks 36th.

That said, both teams have a top-30 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, which should be the primary focus of this basketball game.

Since each team can rebound on the defensive end much better than the other can on offense, this game should finish under the total.

The Saint Mary’s Gaels are the best team in the WCC right now and could very well be come season’s end.

On the other hand, it's incredibly hard to lay over five points on the road against a decent conference foe, so betting the spread may not be wise.

Saint Mary's Gaels

Saint Mary’s ranks sixth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom. It holds opponents to around 31% from 3-point range and 43.3% inside the arc.

It also restrict opponents to strictly shooting 2s, only allowing a 31.4% 3-point attempt rate. This should benefit the Gaels in this game because BYU averages a 41.1% 3-point attempt percentage.

Since the Cougars only shoot 31.9% from outside the perimeter, expect Saint Mary’s to hold them in check.

Photo by CBB Analytics

As touched on above, the Gaels are an elite defensive rebounding team. They are holding opponents to 20.8% on the offensive glass. They are also hauling in 33.3% on the offensive end.

BYU can rebound defensively, as well, holding the opposition to 22.7%.

There should not be many second chances on the glass for either squad Saturday night, which is usually conducive to an under.

Lastly, the Gaels only turn the ball over 16.4% of the time offensively. BYU does not force many turnovers on defense (19.2%), so do not expect many points in transition for the Cougars.

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BYU Cougars

On the other end of the court, BYU does struggle with turnovers (22.2%), while Saint Mary’s turns opponents over 20.1% of the time.

Since the Gaels average 20.2 seconds per possession, they should slow the ball down after most of these turnovers, though.

BYU is holding opponents to 47.4% on 2-pointers this season. Saint Mary’s is shooting 52.1% from inside the perimeter and has manufactured around 52% of its total points this year on 2s.

Per ShotQuality, the Cougars are holding opponents to 0.95 points per possession. The Gaels like to keep the game in the half-court, so that may play right into the Cougars’ hands here.

Photo by CBB Analytics

One concern for betting an under is always free-throw shooting. BYU does rank 296th in defensive free-throw attempt percentage. Luckily for it, it's playing at home, and the Gaels rank 273rd in this same metric on offense.

Saint Mary’s ranks 139th on defense in free-throw attempt percentage, with BYU ranking 140th, so these two essentially even one another out.

Building off of that Saint Mary’s only shoots 65.8% from the strike and BYU shoots around 72%.

Neither team jumps off of the page with success from the free-throw line.

Saint Mary's vs. BYU Betting Pick

BYU will give up some open 3s, but it ranks 51st in Rim & 3 Rate, per ShotQuality. It will not allow many easy buckets inside to the Gaels.

Saint Mary’s should slow the pace to its liking and not allow BYU to launch many 3s.

Since both teams are strong at defensive rebounding, this game should go under the total.

Take this from 129 (-110), and play it to 127.5 (-110).

A low-scoring affair usually yields a tighter game, so if there is a side to take, it would be BYU. But I will be avoiding the line.

Pick: Under 129 (Play to 127.5)

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Doug Ziefel
Jun 23, 2024 UTC