Gonzaga vs. Saint. Mary’s Odds, Betting Picks, Predictions: Are Zags Overvalued?
William Mancebo/Getty Images. Pictured: Admon Gilder
- Updated odds list Gonzaga as a 5.5-point betting favorite over Saint Mary's on Saturday night in a pivotal West Coast Conference showdown.
- The Zags have won 16 straight games, but haven't been tested much against Quad 1 teams. Saint Mary's will try to use its efficient offense and slow pace to keep Gonzaga out of transition.
- Get our experts' picks for Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary's below.
Gonzaga vs. St. Mary’s Odds
- Odds: Gonzaga -6 at Saint Mary’s
- Total: 149
- Time: 10 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
- Location: Moraga, Calif.
Gonzaga will look to extend its winning streak to 17 games when it travels to Moraga, Calif., to take on rival Saint Mary’s.
Both teams boast efficient offenses, but do it in different ways.
Who has the edge on Saturday night? Let’s dive in.
How Odds Moved for Gonzaga-St. Mary’s
Nearly 75% of betting tickets are backing Gonzaga, but the money bet on this game is more evenly split at 55% for the Zags.
That’s caused the line to fall from -6.5 to -5.5 at some books, though other shops are still hanging -6.
The total fell at DraftKings and MGM from 150 to 148.5. — Steve Petrella
When St. Mary’s Has the Ball
Saint Mary’s will have to play to their strength with tempo and 3-point shooting. The Gaels have a grinder of an offense, ranking 348th in average possession length.
If the Saint Mary’s offense is effective in the half court, Gonzaga will have a tough time staying in rhythm. Despite Gonzaga’s size, the Zags are outside the top 100 in defending the perimeter, and Saint Mary’s is one of the best shooting teams in the country.
A limited Killian Tillie for Gonzaga may add to the Gaels’ success in draining the clock and finding an open man from long distance. — Collin Wilson
When Gonzaga Has the Ball
The Zags are the No. 1 team in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency. Saint Mary’s will have issues in shot disruption with an average height rank of 134th and defensive block rate rank of 310th.
Gonzaga is ranked No. 4 in the nation in average height and will have no issues in getting clean shots. Saint Mary’s does have a top 30 rank in defensive rebounding, but have not kept a game within single digits at home against Gonzaga since 2016. — Collin Wilson
Gonzaga is one of the most effective teams in the nation in transition offense, ranking No. 4 in shot rate in transition and No. 55 in transition effective FG%.
Saint Mary’s deliberate half-court offense will look to prevent the Zags from getting going in transition like they normally do. As Stuckey mentions below, their excellent turnover rate (No. 11 nationally) will keep Gonzaga from running. — Steve Petrella
Stuckey: Time to Sell the Zags
This nightcap should be a blast in Moraga, which should be rocking throughout.
This is only the fifth game Gonzaga will play against a team rated in my top 50. Here are the results from the other four:
- Won by 1 in OT on a neutral court against Oregon
- Lost by 18 to Michigan on a neutral court
- Won by 4 at Arizona
- Won by 23 at home over BYU
The Zags could easily be 2-2 if that coin flip game against Oregon went the other way and keep in mind that Yoeli Childs (BYU’s best player) didn’t play for the Cougars when they faced Gonzaga. And this will only mark the second road game of the season against a top 50 opponent.
There’s no doubt Gonzaga is one of the top 10 teams in the country; I have Mark Few’s bunch at No. 3 in my power ratings. The Zags run one of the most efficient offenses in the country (No. 1 adjusted efficiency, per Kenpom) but they’ve also benefited from a very favorable schedule.
Led by star point guard Jordan Ford, the Gaels also run a very efficient offense (10th in Adjusted Efficiency). They run beautiful sets and grind opposing defenses down in snail-like fashion, ranking 348th in average offensive possession time. They take exactly 5.0 more seconds per possession than a fast-tempo Gonzaga team that ranks No. 7 in that same category.
Mary’s not only grinds teams down, it doesn’t turn the ball over, which means Gonzaga will be limited in transition. And while both teams thrive in the half court offensively, it’s actually St. Mary’s that leads the nation in points per possession in the half court at 1.033, per Synergy. (Gonzaga ranks third for what it’s worth.) You’re in for a treat if you like watching efficient offenses.
The size advantage for Gonzaga is definitely a bit of a concern, but I love the Gaels here catching 6 at home in a game I make Gonzaga only a 2-point favorite. In fairness, I’ve been higher than most on St. Mary’s since the preseason, which is why I invested in a long shot future.
Also, keep in mind that Gonzaga struggles from the free throw line at 68.1% which could come into play late in the game with a cover still in question. — Stuckey
The Pick: Saint Mary’s +6