Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: How to Bet Massive WCC Duel
Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images. Pictured: Keshawn Justice (Santa Clara)
Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s Odds
|Santa Clara Odds|
-110o / -110u
|Saint Mary’s Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Saint Mary’s Gaels have the WCC title for their taking after Loyola Marymount took Gonzaga down on the road on Thursday night.
The Gaels will host the Santa Clara Broncos Saturday night in what should be one of the best regular season WCC games.
Santa Clara is now ranked third in the conference after taking down BYU on Thursday.
The Gaels boast one of the best defenses in the country. They rank fourth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom, and slow the game down to their liking. They are also an elite rebounding team, which could cause issues for some opponents.
However, Santa Clara is nearly as good on the glass and can shoot from deep with the best of them. Given Saint Mary’s and its preferable slow pace, expect the Broncos to cover this number on the road.
Santa Clara is no joke, and Brandin Podziemski leads the charge. The sophomore transfer from Illinois has burst onto the scene and is truly prospering.
He’s also shooting over 41% from 3-point range with his teammate, Carlos Stewart. These two are crucial deep threats for this team’s success.
Saint Mary’s is an elite defensive team, but teams are shooting above 30% from outside the arc on it, and Santa Clara is definitely better than many of the Gaels’ opponents on the season from that area.
The Gaels rank 28th in allowed 3-pointers, but Santa Clara does not only need 3s to get the engine going. The Broncos just need to be efficient when provided the open opportunity, and Saint Mary’s ranks 291st in open 3 rate, per ShotQuality.
The Gaels also rank 312th in points per possession (PPP) on off-the-dribble 3s and 273rd in catch-and-shoot PPP. Even though the Broncos will not produce a plethora of 3-point opportunities, they will be able to take advantage of these holes.
— CBS Sports CBB (@CBSSportsCBB) January 20, 2023
On top of that, the Broncos rank 27th in holding opponents to a 24% offensive rebounding clip. They also haul in 32.8% of offensive boards.
Jaden Bediako, Podziemski and Camaron Tongue should be boosts on the glass for them throughout the game.
Now, Saint Mary’s is no slouch, either. It’s probably the best team in the WCC. The Gaels are first in allowed offensive rebounding percentage (20.4%) and are 59th in offensive rebounding percentage themselves (33%).
They will get their fair share of shots and should restrict Santa Clara’s ability to produce second chances on offense.
The Gaels also shoot better from deep at 36.9% as a unit and are shooting 51.9% on 2s versus Santa Clara’s 49.4% 2-point field goal percentage. This is clearly an offensive edge.
The Saint Mary’s bigs do more than just crash boards.
The Broncos rank 21st on PPP off of post-ups and 69th in PPP on defending finishing at the rim. This says the bigs on the Broncos can keep up with the likes of Mitchell Saxen in the paint.
Lastly, Saint Mary’s ranks 143rd in free-throw attempt percentage on defense. It fouls more than the elite teams in the country should. Meanwhile, Santa Clara ranks 25th.
On offense, Saint Mary’s ranks 262nd in this metric, while only making 65.5% of their free-throw shots. Santa Clara should be able to negate the home advantage Saint Mary’s might get.
Santa Clara vs. Saint Mary’s Betting Pick
Santa Clara is an underrated team in the WCC, and Podziemski is an NBA prospect. Last time out, Saint Mary’s won in Santa Clara by only three points.
Expect a similar battle in this game, as the Broncos have strengths in all the areas the Gaels do. In fact, they might have a few more and be able to exploit the few problems Saint Mary’s has had on the season.
Take the Broncos at +12 (-110), and play them to +9.5 (-110).