Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s Odds, Pick, Prediction: Can the Gaels Crush the Broncos? (Thursday, Jan. 20)
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tommy Kuhse.
- The Saint Mary's Gaels will face the Santa Clara Broncos in a WCC college basketball matchup on Thursday night.
- The Broncos stunned the Gaels last season, so expect a focused showing from Saint Mary's.
- Keg shares his top betting pick for this conference contest below.
Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s Odds
|Santa Clara Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
Saint Mary’s will host Santa Clara in a pivotal WCC matchup on Thursday night. The Broncos and the Gaels find themselves both at 1-1 in conference play, and this game could show just how deep the talent is in the WCC this year.
Santa Clara dropped its last game to the WCC powerhouse and leader in Gonzaga but had won its four previous games — all by double-digits — with two of those wins coming on the road.
For Saint Mary’s, it’s won three of its last four games overall with the lone loss coming to BYU, which is also typically one of the top teams in the conference. The Gaels have only gotten better as the season has gone on, posting wins over Oregon, Notre Dame, and Utah State.
Santa Clara stunned Saint Mary’s last year in their only meeting. And while the Gaels have won eight of the last 10 meetings, the Broncos are a dangerous team on the road.
Road wins against Pacific and San Jose State still look good regardless of how bad those teams have been. The Broncos also posted a 19-point win over TCU on a neutral court.
Taking down Saint Mary’s on the road would be a great start way to get back on track in conference play after the 32-point beatdown at the hands of Gonzaga.
But when the Broncos take the floor at Saint Mary’s, they will be without Jaden Bediako (undisclosed), who is averaging 17.6 minutes per game and is second on the team in blocks. He also post 4.6 points and four rebounds per game, which could be hard to recreate given his size.
With how strong the WCC is this season, the Gaels know this game won’t be easy. But they do have a major advantage in not dealing with any injuries like the Broncos have.
Santa Clara’s offense has been one of the best in the West Coast Conference. It still scored 83 points against Gonzaga.
On the season, the Broncos rank 35th in the country in scoring offense with 77.3 points per game. They have also impressed when it comes to effective field goal percentage (23rd), free-throw shooting (31st), and 3-point shooting (26th).
Jalen Williams has been one of the best scorers in the WCC and leads the Broncos with 18.9 points per game. Santa Clara has three other double-digit scorers as well, with two of them shooting over 43% from 3-point range.
There is some concern on the defensive end, however, especially after allowing Gonzaga to score 115. The Broncos rank 245th nationally in scoring defense, but given Saint Mary’s struggles on offense, they should be able to limit the Gales considerably.
Saint Mary’s plays at one of the slowest paces in the country, ranking 318th in adjusted tempo. And while Santa Clara’s defense is far from elite, I think the tempo will factor significantly into this being a low-scoring bout.
The Gaels have just three players averaging double figures. Matthias Tass leads the team with 12.4 points per game, while Logan Johnson contributes 10.7 per contest and Tommy Kuhse is posting 10.1.
And while Khuse may only average 10.1 points per game, he is a leader on the team and should play a major role in holding off Santa Clara.
On defense, the Gaels are one of the best teams in the country. Ranking 10th in adjusted defensive efficiency, they are limiting teams to only 59.2 points per game.
They also rank third in opponent rebounds per game, allowing just 28.4 per contest.
Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s Betting Pick
The Gaels may not excel on the offensive end, but against one of the worst defenses in the conference, their experience should play a big factor in leading them past the Broncos.
Saint Mary’s ranks 77th in experience compared to Santa Clara at just 112th. And while they aren’t a high-scoring team, the Gaels are efficient, ranking 108th in shooting efficiency.
Pair that with a top-10 defense that should be able to limit the high-scoring output of the Broncos, and I believe it should be enough to propel the Gaels to not only a win, but a cover.
Santa Clara is also 1-4 against the spread in its last five games against a team with a winning percentage above .600. Saint Mary’s, meanwhile, is 4-0 ATS in its last four home games.
I’m taking the Gaels as a 9-point favorite and would take them as high as -10.