VCU vs Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

VCU vs Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks: NCAA Tournament Betting Preview article feature image

Getty Images. Design by Matt Roembke/Action Network. Pictured from left: Logan Johnson of Saint Mary’s and Ace Baldwin of VCU.

VCU vs Saint Mary's Odds

Friday, March 17
2 p.m. ET
VCU Odds
-110o / -110u
Saint Mary's Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

After winning the regular-season WCC title by a hair and losing the WCC Tournament crown by a landslide to the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the Saint Mary’s Gaels were given a five-seed in the NCAA tournament.

They will face the VCU Rams, the lone representative out of the Atlantic 10.

Saint Mary’s played with fire down the stretch of conference play, but it came out on top in every game except matchups vs. Loyola Marymount and Gonzaga.

The Gaels tout the ninth-best Adjusted Defensive Efficiency and play at the 359th-slowest Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom.

VCU ranks 147th in Adjusted Tempo and also owns a top-17 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency, per KenPom.

That said, Saint Mary’s is much better on the offensive end, which should differentiate the two down the stretch.

VCU Rams

VCU mainly manufactures points inside the arc and from the free-throw line. It ranks 302nd in 3-point attempt rate and ninth in free-throw attempt rate.

The free-throw line is one of the few areas that may keep the Rams in the game against the Gaels, who rank 190th in free-throw attempt rate offensively and 155th defensively.

The Gaels will foul at times, and the Rams can exploit this.

However, the Rams may not be able to score in other areas. The Gaels rank 60th in Rim & 3 Rate. They do have a tendency to leave opponents open on 3s, but this will not be as big of a factor in this game, as the Rams rarely shoot 3s.

The Rams do rank 19th in points per possession at the rim. Saint Mary’s ranks 184th in PPP at the rim on defense, so VCU could have its way on offense inside.

This is one reason to potentially avoid the under in this game because the Rams have the same — if not worse — issues defensively.

Saint Mary's Gaels

VCU ranks 303rd in PPP at the rim on defense, while Saint Mary’s ranks 110th on offense. This may not seems like the Gaels have much of an edge, but VCU ranks 241st in defensive rebounding percentage.

The Gaels rank 45th, so they will get plenty of shots at the rim on second chances.

Overall, the Rams rank 170th in rebounding, while Saint Mary’s ranks 56th, so the Gaels will hold an edge on the glass.

In addition, Saint Mary’s is a deep-threat program. It's shooting nearly 37% from 3-point land.

Aidan Mahaney, Alex Ducas and Kyle Bowen are all shooting around 40%+. VCU ranks 200th in Open 3 Rate. The Gaels will have open looks the entire game and will knock down 3s when given the chance.

Aidan Mahaney (@amahaney_2) hit the jumper with 0.3 seconds left to win it for #22 Saint Mary’s 57-56 over BYU

— NCAA Buzzer Beaters & Game Winners (@NCAABuzzerBters) January 29, 2023

VCU is the beneficiary of some good fortune defensively because opponents maintain an eFG% of only 47%. On defense, the Rams rank 343rd in Open 3 Rate, 303rd on catch-and-shoot 3s, 318th in transition and 352nd in the half-court.

Saint Mary’s thrives in a slow-paced game, so it will have its pick of the litter when it comes to open shots on offense.

VCU may be holding teams in check, loosely, but Saint Mary’s can score when needed.

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VCU vs Saint Mary's Betting Pick

The Gaels are clearly the better of the two in this game. Typically, the Gaels may not get shots inside or be efficient on 2s, but they should hit open looks inside and out on an overrated VCU defense.

If the Gaels own the glass — as they can — this will be a longer day than usual for VCU.

Take Saint Mary’s at -4 (-110), and play to -5 (-110).

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