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Saint Mary’s vs. BYU Odds & Picks: How to Bet This College Basketball WCC Game

Saint Mary’s vs. BYU Odds & Picks: How to Bet This College Basketball WCC Game article feature image

Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Barcello.

  • Saint Mary's faces off against BYU in a thrilling mid-major clash in the WCC.
  • The Gaels and Cougars represent the second tier of their conference -- alongside San Francisco and potentially Santa Clara -- behind Gonzaga.
  • D.J. James breaks down the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Saint Mary’s vs. BYU Odds

Saturday, Jan. 8
10 p.m. ET
Saint Mary’s Odds
-105o / -115u
BYU Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

BYU and Saint Mary’s clash in their first WCC meeting of the year.

Both teams look poised to make an NCAA Tournament appearance — even as at-large bids behind the Gonzaga Bulldogs — so this is quite an underrated matchup heading into Saturday’s evening slate.

Each team has three losses on the season and both squads love to slow the pace down on the offensive end, so instead of the spread, the total should be the target here.

Saint Mary’s Gaels

The Saint Mary’s Gaels rank 302nd, per KenPom’s Adjusted Tempo metric. Translation: the Gaels take their time on both offense and defense, and they love to make other teams do the same. This season they are averaging 18.5 seconds per possession on offense and 18.0 seconds per possession on defense.

BYU may play at a faster pace overall, but it averages around the same on the offensive end. With the Gaels’ stealthy defense, they will make BYU utilize much of its shot clock each time down the floor.

In addition, each of these teams can flaunt how well they rebound the ball defensively. The Gaels are second in the nation at allowing offensive rebounds for their opponents at 18.7%. Anything under 20% is elite, and this will factor greatly into this total.

Essentially, they will prevent second chances off of the glass for the Cougars every time they are on offense. Kyle Bowen, Matthias Tass and Dan Fotu combine for an average of 16 rebounds per game from the forward position.

BYU Cougars

The Cougars can crash the glass extremely well on both sides of the ball. They also limit the opposition, only permitting 23.3% of offensive rebounding chances.

Fousseyni Traore, Caleb Lohner and Gideon George carry the rebounding on this team, combining for even more boards than the Gael warriors in the paint (20.7 RPG). BYU does not rebound as well from the guard position, but it should be able to limit second chances for Saint Mary’s.

The Cougars also do a very good job defending the perimeter. The Gaels usually average around 33% from downtown, and most of their 3s come from Alex Ducas.

However, the BYU guards should be able to contain any open shots from outside. After all, opponents are only averaging 27.0% from 3-point range this season.

One area which could affect the total is how Saint Mary’s defends BYU. The Cougars average around 35% from deep, and the Gaels permit 34.3% of opponent 3s to sink.

Look for Logan Johnson or Augustas Marciulionis to guard the prolific shooter, Alex Barcello, who is knocking down 49.4% of his 3s on the season.

If the Gaels can somewhat contain Barcello, this would prevent damage to the under in this ballgame. Trevin Knell (for BYU) also shoots over 35% from downtown, so this is another player to keep an eye on for the total.

Saint Mary’s loves to get the ball into the post, if given the opportunity. Only 30.7% of its points come from outside the arc on the season.

BYU defends well inside, ranking 52nd in the NCAA in opponent two-point percentage. Traore and Seneca Knight are BYU’s best defensive assets inside, so they should limit the Gaels’ production in that regard.

Saint Mary’s vs. BYU Betting Pick

Both of these teams can rebound well, particularly on the defensive end, which should limit any second chances for the opponent. Saint Mary’s does need to be able to defend the arc well, otherwise Barcello will light it up and jeopardize the potential under in this game.

On the other hand, given each team’s effectiveness on the defensive side and their abilities to slow the ball down on offense, the under should be in play. Take the under at 133 and play it to 129.5.

Pick: Under 133 (Play to 129.5)

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