College Basketball Odds, Pick, Prediction: Saint Mary’s vs. Santa Clara (Tuesday, February 8)
Loren Orr/Getty Images. Pictured: Camaron Tongue
- Saint Mary's is a slight favorite in tonight's WCC matchup with Santa Clara.
- It's a contrast in styles in this one as Santa Clara likes to get out and run while Saint Mary's plays at a methodical pace.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Saint Mary’s vs. Santa Clara Odds
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Santa Clara Odds|
-110o / -110u
Saint Mary’s is flying under the radar in the West Coast Conference and has won seven consecutive league games headed into a Tuesday night road trip to Santa Clara. The Gaels are just one game behind Gonzaga for first place in the league.
The Gaels have established themselves as the league’s second-best team following a come-from-behind road win at San Francisco and prior home win against Santa Clara. But is this a spot to fade them as the Broncos look for revenge at home on Tuesday?
Santa Clara is the clear fifth team in the WCC, but has played BYU, San Francisco and Saint Mary’s tough. The Broncos beat BYU at home in a one-point thriller, lost to USF by three on the road and were tied with Saint Mary’s late in Moraga.
Catching points at home now, with Saint Mary’s due for some negative regression based on some underlying metrics, is a great spot to back the Broncos to potentially pull off the upset at home.
Looking at pure ShotQuality metrics, the Gaels are one of the more overrated teams in the entire country. Only six teams have a bigger spread between their actual record (18-4) and their expected record (14-8) than the Gaels. Saint Mary’s operates almost exclusively in the half-court on offense, ranking 25th in the country in half-court frequency and 334th in transition.
Randy Bennett’s squad is notorious for operating out of the post-up sets and this team is no different. But ShotQuality really doesn’t think they get great looks from those frequent post-ups. Despite being top 30 in frequency, the Gaels are outside the top 100 in SQ in the half-court and SQ in post-up looks.
Saint Mary’s doesn’t take a ton of 3s and doesn’t shoot it that well either, which means the Gaels won’t be able to expose the weaker perimeter defense for the Broncos. Instead, they’ll be looking to go inside to Matthias Tass and Dan Fotu.
Santa Clara’s defense is top 50 at preventing good half-court looks, good midrange looks and actually defends the rim at a pretty solid rate. SC can struggle with isolation and players off the dribble, but that isn’t the Saint Mary’s offense.
Santa Clara is facing an active and excellent Saint Mary’s defense that is improved at forcing turnovers. But the Broncos rank fourth offensively in turnover rate in the WCC and are top 50 nationally. We saw what happened to USF in the second half against Saint Mary’s when turnovers became an issue.
But the Dons were able to get great first half looks when they took care of the ball in that game and I expect the Broncos to have similar success in the half-court. Santa Clara doesn’t shoot a ton of 3s generally, but is selective and effective with those looks.
The Broncos rank second in league play from behind the arc and from inside the arc. This offense should be able to generate looks off the dribble against a Saint Mary’s defense that is 312th in defending off-the-dribble 3-pointers.
Santa Clara has four guys shooting at least 39% from beyond the arc, so while they don’t shoot a ton of 3s, this could be a game for them to get open shots with the athleticism advantage on the perimeter.
The Broncos will look to control the pace and tempo and I think they’ll be able to better do that on the road in this matchup.
Saint Mary’s vs. Santa Clara Betting Pick
This is a classic battle of slow-paced and fast-paced tempo teams as Santa Clara ranks 26th in adjusted tempo and the Saint Mary’s ranks 338th. Saint Mary’s is just 271st in defensive transition ShotQuality allowed, which could be a major issue in upcoming games with Gonzaga and will be an issue in this game.
The Gaels can try to control tempo, but it’s much harder to do that away from home. If the Broncos can run, they can win this game and are a live underdog to do so.
But the Gaels are also a bit overrated in the market right now and probably shouldn’t be laying a full three on the road against the Broncos.
Santa Clara was a team with high preseason expectations. They underperformed early, but the Broncos have recently played like the team everyone thought they could be in November. At home, this should be close to a pick’em and I’ll grab the +2 or better.