San Francisco vs Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: Favorable Matchup for Gaels

San Francisco vs Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: Favorable Matchup for Gaels article feature image
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Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Kunen (San Francisco)

San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's Odds

Thursday, Feb. 2
11 p.m. ET
ESPNU
San Francisco Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+11.5
-105
129.5
-110o / -110u
+550
Saint Mary's Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-11.5
-115
129.5
-110o / -110u
-820
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

San Francisco makes the short trip to take on Saint Mary's to cap off Thursday's college basketball action.

San Francisco has had an up and down season. The Dons have had highs, like blowing out Arizona State at home, but they've also had lows, like losing to San Diego by double digits at home.

The Dons are likely going to need to win out, and that might not even be enough to get them an at-large bid. But beating Saint Mary's on the road will certainly boost their resume.

Saint Mary's narrowly survived in Provo on Saturday night with Adrian Mahaney hitting the go-ahead jumper with one second left on the clock.

🗣 IT'S GOOD! IT'S GOOD! Mahaney gives the Gaels the lead!

We have goosebumps hearing @ajensen86 call last night's game-winner from Aidan Mahaney!#GaelsRisepic.twitter.com/dKDUkWjKpz

— Saint Mary's Hoops (@saintmaryshoops) January 30, 2023

Saint Mary's is a perfect 8-0 during WCC play and is up to seventh in adjusted efficiency differential on KenPom.

However, the Gaels have a massive showdown with Gonzaga on Saturday night, so this is a huge lookahead spot for them.


San Francisco Dons

To say that the Dons live or die by 3-pointers would be an understatement.

San Francisco is taking 3-pointers on 49.3% of its field goal attempts, which is the fourth-highest rate in the country, per KenPom.

San Francisco does do a good job of spacing the floor and creating good shot attempts, and the way it does that is by utilizing the pick-and-roll.

Per ShotQuality, San Francisco is 14th in the nation in spacing, 77th in shot selection and is putting up 1.00 PPP on the pick-and-roll, which also a top-100 mark in the country.

In the last meeting with Saint Mary's, San Francisco shot over 38% from beyond the arc, but it only put up 61 points and 0.92 PPP.

The reason for that is because the Dons shot just 45.2% from inside the arc, so that's where they will need to improve the second time around against one of the best defenses in the country.

One thing San Francisco does very well is it forces teams into a lot of mid-range jumpers. The Dons are 50th in the country in Rim & 3-Point Rate Allowed and also 116th in Open 3-Point Rate Allowed.

However, they've been very average at defending in the half-court, which is a problem against one of the most efficient half-court offenses in the country.

Saint Mary's Gaels

Saint Mary's is the best mid-major in the country up until this point in the season.

The Gaels are doing it with a really slow pace and are being incredibly efficient with their half-court offense. The Gaels are seventh in the nation in PPP in the half-court at 1.06.

The reason they're so efficient is because of their utilization of the pick-and-roll, which they run at the sixth-highest frequency in the country.

The Gaels are putting up 1.04 PPP, which is the 25th-best mark nationally. They're shooting the ball well from deep at over 38% in conference play.

However, in the previous meeting with San Francisco, Saint Mary's shot the lights out, going over 50% from the floor and 11-of-21 from behind the arc.

If you look at the ShotQuality numbers from that game, the Gaels shot way above what they were expected to:

Image via ShotQuality

Saint Mary's also attacks the rim at a top-35 frequency in the country, but it isn't very effective in doing so, only hitting 56.6% on those shot attempts at the rim, which is 281st in the country, per Hoop-math.com.

The reason Saint Mary's is up to seventh in the KenPom rankings is because of its defense.

The Gaels are fifth in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency because of their incredible ability to defend inside the arc. Close to 40% of their opponents' shots are coming at the rim, and they're only allowing 49.6%, which is the seventh-best mark in the country.

Image via Hoop-Math

With that being said, in the previous meeting with San Francisco, they were very fortunate to only give up 14 points at the rim.

Image via ShotQuality

The biggest question in this matchup: can they hold San Francisco in check from beyond the arc?

The Gaels are only allowing 29.3% from beyond the arc in conference play, but are also allowing the second-highest Open 3-Point Rate in the WCC.

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San Francisco vs. Saint Mary's Betting Pick

This is a fantastic spot for San Francisco with Saint Mary's in a massive lookahead spot.

If the Dons can finish better at the rim and Saint Mary's doesn't shoot way above where it's expected to from behind the arc like the last meeting, then San Francisco can absolutely hang in this game.

Saint Mary's is also giving up a lot of open 3-pointers, which is a major problem when you are facing the fourth-highest 3-point frequency team in the country.

So, I like the value on San Francisco to cover at +12.5 (FanDuel).

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