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Vermont vs. Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: NCAAB Betting Guide for Thursday

Vermont vs. Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: NCAAB Betting Guide for Thursday article feature image
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Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Randy Bennett (Saint Mary’s)

Vermont vs. Saint Mary’s Odds

Thursday, Nov. 10
10 p.m. ET
WCC
Vermont Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+8.5
-118
131.5
-110o / -110u
+275
Saint Mary’s Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-8.5
-104
131.5
-110o / -110u
-350
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Vermont and Saint Mary’s have never played each other, and geographically, these two are further apart than any two teams in college basketball.

However, metaphorically, these teams are closer than you think.

These are two top-tier mid-major teams with two highly-respected and tenured coaches. And both are searching for back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances.

Moreover, both coaches are re-tooling, having moved on from five-year, All-Conference team leaders — Tommy Kuhse graduated from Saint Mary’s while Ryan Davis graduated from Vermont.

But these two coaches and programs are well known for their player development, and new starts have already developed.

Saint Mary’s Aidan Mahaney dropped 25 points in an opening-night win over Oral Roberts, the most ever scored in a Gael debut in the Randy Bennett era.

Meanwhile, Vermont’s Aaron Deloney dropped a career-high 32 points in an opening-night win over Brown, looking to pull an America East “James Harden” and go from conference Sixth Man of the Year to Player of the Year.

But pleasantries aside, we have a basketball game to gamble on. Saint Mary’s is an eight-point home favorite while the total sits at 132.5.

Where’s the value?


Vermont Catamounts

Vermont’s offseason story is all about Dylan Penn. The Bellarmine transfer was coach John Becker’s transfer portal Mona Lisa, as he stole one of mid-majordum’s best guards.

Penn is known for his dribble penetration and paint scoring, and I liked how Becker schemed him in the opening game. Returning lead guards Finn Sullivan and Deloney initiated the offense while Penn used backdoor cuts to get interior scoring opportunities.

Unfortunately, Penn broke his hand only a month ago. He was limited in his preseason Vermont initiation and looked limited on the court. He finished with just eight points while turning it over four times.

Luckily, Vermont has an incredibly deep guard corps, and Sullivan and Deloney were able to pick up the slack.

Deloney couldn’t miss against Brown. He shot 11-for-13 from the field, including 4-for-5 from 3 and 6-for-6 from the line. I wouldn’t expect him to score 30 points per game this season, but it does attest to the Cats’ ability to have anyone step up.

Additionally, Deloney’s five assists were a nice touch.

Sullivan looked poised running the point, pouring in 14 himself.

But none of this addresses Vermont’s most significant issue: the frontcourt. Brown finished 11-of-16 shots at the rim and 17-of-34 shots from 2-point range, which poises trouble for the Cats in the future.

Becker will run plenty of four-guard lineups, which could prove detrimental defensively. Nick Fiorillo needs to step up as a rim protector.

Vermont is going to score just as efficiently as last year. Moreover, the Cats should rebound effectively — as they did last year (far-above-average 83.9% defensive rebounding rate against Brown).

But not everything is roses in Burlington.

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Saint Mary’s Gaels

Saint Mary’s lost Kuhse and Matthias Tass in the offseason, but it looks to be business as usual in Moraga for Bennett’s crew.

The Gaels are going to run at a sub-350 tempo, never turn the ball over, create great shots and play defense.

The Gaels have finished outside the top 100 in defensive efficiency four times in Bennett’s 22 years. They are particularly adept at preventing assists, cutting off passing lanes before they open.

Also, Saint Mary’s rebounds well and runs everyone off of the 3-point line.

Mahaney was the story of the Gaels’ opening game, but look out for Mitchell Saxen. He already looks like a clone of Tass, as his offensive and defensive positional IQ is off the charts.

Saxen is the next great Saint Mary’s big, and he began his starting lineup career with 16 points, eight rebounds, five assists and three steals.

So, Mahoney and Saxen project to replicate what Bennett built with Kuhse and Tass. However, the Gaels return fifth-year wing Logan Johnson, fourth-year wing Alex Ducas and fourth-year wing Kyle Bowen.

Those three guys have length and can play two-way ball.

Given the whole roster construction, I’m cautiously optimistic about the Gaels this season.


Vermont vs. Saint Mary’s Betting Pick

Vermont is going to fill it up. This is an offense that consistently scores efficiently under Becker.

Everyone can drive, shoot and dish.

Theoretically, this is a bad matchup for the Cats. Vermont likes to shoot 3s and generally has a high assist rate, which are the two strengths of Saint Mary’s defense.

However, Oral Roberts poured in 70 points on the Gaels. Max Abmas is incredible, but he finished with just 14 points, and it doesn’t explain how the Golden Eagles managed 30 3-point attempts and 11 assists.

Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s has a clear length advantage on the Catamounts and a longer advantage on the interior.

I was already worried about Vermont’s interior defense, but the Gaels driving and rim-scoring ability will be a massive step up from Brown’s.

If Saint Mary’s defensive performance against Oral Roberts wasn’t an anomaly — and I’m not convinced either way — I love the over in this game. Vermont’s four-guard lineup will get the shots it wants, while Saint Mary’s will be deadly efficient from inside the arc.

Both teams cruised over their respective totals in their opening-night games, making me think there’s a market inefficiency concerning the two defenses.

I may quickly be proved wrong, and the two teams’ defensive rebounding prowess and tempos are not conducive to an over. However, EvanMiya projects this total at just over 140, and my early-season eye test agrees with the model.

Pick: Lean Over 132.5 (-110) 

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