Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s College Basketball Odds & Pick: Follow Bulldogs’ Road Betting Trend
Soobum Im/Getty Images. Pictured (left to right): Anton Watson, Drew Timme, Joel Ayayi, Jalen Suggs, and Corey Kispert.
Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s Odds
No. 1 Gonzaga has dominated throughout the season, earning a 13-0 record while averaging 96 points per game. The Bulldogs have a legitimate chance to finish the regular season undefeated.
Their biggest obstacle? Longtime West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary’s, which is the only other team to win the West Coast Conference Tournament since 2004.
The Gaels are the last team to beat Gonzaga in Spokane, as they picked up a 74-71 win back on Jan. 18, 2018.
Can the Gaels slow the Zags at home in the comforts of Moraga, or will the juggernaut Bulldogs earn a comfortable road win against their WCC rivals?
Do The Gaels Have the Bulldogs’ Kryptonite?
Head coach Randy Bennett’s Gaels have the WCC’s “best” schematic to compete with Gonzaga.
While they can never match the Bulldogs’ talent, they have been able to compete if they have executed three things: shooting well from 3, defending the 3, and matching Gonzaga on the boards.
Their current roster construction, however, only inspires confidence in one of those areas.
The Gaels pull down an average of 25.5 defensive rebounds per game, ranking 80th in the country. Saint Mary’s features three players who average over five rebounds per game. Forwards Kyle Bowen (6.2 rpg) and Matthias Tass (5.2 rpg) are joined by guard Alex Ducas (5.3 rpg) and are relied upon to limit the opponents to a litany of “one-and-dones.”
At 6-foot-10, Tass will need his best all-around game — and will likely need to tally his first double-double of the season — to keep the Gaels competitive.
Saint Mary’s has experienced a huge drop-off in overall offensive efficiency, shooting just 32% from 3-point range and a solid but not exceptional 51.1% from 2.
In its two conference games, those numbers plummet to 28% from beyond the arc and 44.3% from inside. Its free-throw percentage in its two two WCC losses to Santa Clara and BYU sits at just 67.7%.
Those numbers will not be good enough to compete with Gonzaga.
Gonzaga’s Offensive Dominance
Mark Few’s Bulldogs are scoring at an incredible pace with legendary efficiency.
Gonzaga ranks second in the country with 62.1% team 2-point accuracy.
While they shoot a modest 34.2% from beyond the arc, the Zags have one of the elite 3-point shooters in college basketball in forward Corey Kispert. The 6-foot-7 senior is among the nation’s leaders in 3-point accuracy, shooting a blistering 48.8% (41-of-84). He leads the team in scoring at 21.2 ppg while adding 4.8 rpg, 2.8 apg, and an overall field goal percentage of 60.2%.
Kispert’s marksmanship is balanced by super-frosh Jalen Suggs (14.2 ppg, 38.9% 3-point), Joel Ayayi (12.4 ppg, 37.1% 3-point), and 6-foot-10 sophomore Drew Timme (18.6 ppg).
Both Ayayi (7.9 rpg) and Timme (6.8 rpg) contribute directly to Gonzaga’s 20th-best offensive rebounding percentage, per KenPom. Ayayi posted Gonzaga’s first-ever triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists in a 116-88 win at Portland.
Yet, Gonzaga’s greatest strength may be its depth.
Former Florida starting point guard Andrew Nembhard (9.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.5 apg) has accepted a role as a non-starter, as has former Southern Illinois star Aaron Cook (3.5 ppg, 0.8 spg). Sophomore 6-foot-8 forward Anton Watson (8.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg) also had a career-high 23 points in the Zags’ victory over Portland.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While Bennett is one of the few coaches in the WCC or otherwise who has enjoyed a modicum of success against Gonzaga, he doesn’t have the talent to battle this season.
Betting on the Bulldogs on the road ATS in WCC play has been an EV-play over the past five seasons, especially at Saint Mary’s. The Bulldogs are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games at Moraga, including eight straight covers.
I’m backing the Bulldogs against their WCC rival with an offense that hasn’t been stopped all season.
Pick: Gonzaga -14.5 (up to -15.5).