Saint Mary’s vs. San Francisco Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting

Saint Mary’s vs. San Francisco Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting article feature image

Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Saint Mary’s guard Logan Johnson.

  • It'll be a battle of contrasting styles as Saint Mary's and San Francisco go head-to-head Saturday night.
  • The Gaels are a perfect 4-0 in WCC play, while the Dons are off to a slow 1-4 start in conference action.
  • Keg breaks down the game and offers up his best bet below.

Saint Mary's vs. San Francisco Odds

Saturday, Jan. 14
11 p.m. ET
NBC Sports Bay Area
Saint Mary's Odds
-110o / -110u
San Francisco Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The Saint Mary's Gaels and San Francisco Dons both had impressive showings in nonconference play, but the two teams have gone down very different paths since WCC play began.

Saint Mary's has yet to lose a game and has posted an impressive 4-0 record in conference play. San Francisco, meanwhile, has been in a bit of a free fall,  losing its first three conference games and owning a 1-4 WCC record.

The two teams also play with completely different styles. The Dons love to push the pace and get as many shots up as possible, while Saint Mary's ranks as one of the 25 slowest teams in the nation and is top-20 when it comes to limiting opponents' field goal and 3-point attempts.

If Saint Mary's can control the pace on the road at Sobrato Center, do the Dons stand a chance?

Saint Mary's Gaels

Saint Mary's loves to slow the game down and limit shooting. The Gaels rank 350th in adjusted tempo and 17th in the nation in terms of field goal attempts allowed per game at just 51.7. They're even better at limiting 3s, sitting 11th nationally, giving up just 16.2 long-range shots per contest.

The Dons rely heavily on their perimeter shooting, ranking fourth in the nation in attempts and seventh when it comes to made 3s per game.

In conference play, no WCC team has been better defending on the perimeter. Saint Mary's has held teams to just 22.7% from 3-point range.

On defense, the Gaels should be able to take advantage of a San Fran team that has struggled with turnovers. Through their first five conference games, the Dons have turned the ball over on 20.4% of their possessions and are the second-worst team in the conference in that area.

Saint Mary's ranks fourth in the conference in turnovers, forcing opponents to turn the ball over on 18.7% of possessions. It's been even better overall as well, forcing a turnover on 19.9% of the time.

On the offensive end, the Gaels take a majority of their shots at the rim. However, they haven't had much success of late, hitting just 62.1%.

That could improve against the Dons, as San Francisco has allowed conference opponents to hit at a 66.2% clip at the rim.

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San Francisco Dons

San Francisco's offense needs to get a ton of shots in the air, and it has to be on point from 3-point range. I don't expect it to find much success in those areas against the Gaels.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Dons' best chance at slowing down Saint Mary's will be at the rim.

The Gaels average 12.3 offensive rebounds per game and rack up 13.3 second-chance points. One of San Francisco's few bright spots on defense has been its ability to keep a lid on teams on the offensive glass. The Dons have held teams to just 8.4 offensive rebounds per game in conference play. On the season, they've kept teams to just 8.6 second-chance points per contest.

Their height disadvantage against Saint Mary's could affect their ability on the glass, but I still think this is their best chance to make an impact against this Saint Mary's offense.

Saint Mary's vs. San Francisco Betting Pick

This Saint Mary's defense is on another level and matches up well in every area the Dons have struggled in so far. The Gaels are the better team at both ends of the court by a wide margin, and I think we see that tonight — even with the Dons having the home-court advantage.

That home-court advantage also hasn't done them any favors of late. San Francisco is just 4-6 against the spread at home and 2-3 in conference games.

Pick: Saint Mary's -7.5 (Play to -8)

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