Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Odds, Picks: Why Zags Will Cover
Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Julian Strawther (Gonzaga)
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Odds
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-115o / -105u
-115o / -105u
This is for all of the marbles in West Coast Conference play as the Saint Mary’s Gaels will travel to Spokane, Washington to play the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Saint Mary’s currently has a one-game lead in the standings and won the first matchup between these two in overtime.
If Gonzaga wins this meeting, the Gaels and Zags will be tied at 14-2, both with a 25-5 overall record. At that point, their respective NET rankings will come into play, as the higher of the two will be crowed champions of the WCC.
As of Friday afternoon, the Gaels rank seventh in the NET rankings while the Bulldogs come in at 10th.
As a short home favorite, look for the Bulldogs to make this conundrum come to fruition and cover their end of the spread. Who knows how much this alters the NET rankings between the two, but it will be interesting.
The Gaels are a defensive-heavy team. They rank 40th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency and sixth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom.
However, they’re facing the No. 1 offense in the country on Saturday on the road.
Gonzaga shoots 37.5% from deep and 58.7% from inside the arc, so this offense can run on all engines. In addition, it ranks 105th in free-throw attempt rate, so it can get to the line, too.
Primarily, the Zags run the ball through Drew Timme in the post. They rank 305th in 3-point attempt rate, even though they’re efficient from out there.
Photo by CBB Analytics
The Gaels are holding opponents to 44.1% from inside the arc, which is about as good as a team can do (eighth in the country).
They’re allowing a 3-point percentage of 32.3%, so this may be concerning when guarding the efficient Bulldog shooters like Rasir Bolton, Julian Strawther and Malachi Smith, who are all hitting 3s at a 39%+ clip.
Building off of that, the Gaels have been lucky at times because, per Shot Quality, they rank 275th in catch-and-shoot 3 points per possession (PPP), 279th in off-the-dribble PPP and 282nd in Open 3 Rate.
The shooters for the Zags will have a solid day when provided the opportunity.
Now, as touched on above, the Zags, of course, will get the ball to Timme. They rank 42nd in post-up PPP (ShotQuality) and 57th in finishing at the rim.
They also do well with pick-and-roll ball screens, ranking 26th at 1.04 PPP and 16th in isolations at 1.01 PPP.
Drew Timme led Gonzaga to a win over San Diego last night.
1 BLK@drewtimme2 @ZagMBB pic.twitter.com/gcMMqJyF0L
— SLAM University (@slam_university) February 24, 2023
On defense, although the Gaels are getting good results on 2s, they rank 164th in PPP (1.16) on shots at the rim, 252nd on pick-and-roll PPP (0.98) and 300th in PPP (0.95) on isos.
Gonzaga should be able to get whatever shots it wants on the Gaels, as it did for much of the first matchup before losing in OT.
The elephant in the room here is the Zags’ defense. Saint Mary’s can hit 3s at a 36.6% rate and shoots over 51% on 2s, so it’s not inept.
The Zags rank horribly in defending pick-and-rolls, shots at the rim and shots beyond the arc. They also maintain the 183rd-ranked Open 3 Rate, and Saint Mary’s will hoist deep balls.
The Zags need to hold the Gaels in check, or this game could have a similar ending to last time.
Saint Mary’s vs Gonzaga Betting Pick
Saint Mary’s has been the better team this year, but it has been benefiting from offenses missing shots.
This is one area the Bulldogs do not struggle.
If Gonzaga can hold the Gaels just a little on the defensive end, it will cover the spread at home.
Take the Bulldogs at -4 (-110), and play them to -5 (-110).
Pick: Gonzaga -4 (Play to -5)
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