Last Updated Feb 04, 2023, 10:30 PM
Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary's Picks, Predictions, Odds
Sports Betting Expert
For the last two decades, Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have lorded over the rest of the West Coast Conference. Since 2004, Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have met in the WCC Championship Game a whopping 12 times.
The Bulldogs have almost always had the advantage over their conference rival, but the Gaels have been the better team so far this season. Saint Mary's is favored to move to 10-0 in WCC action on Saturday night, and a win here could lead to the Gaels being one of the top four seeds in their bracket for the NCAA Tournament.
The Saint Mary's Gaels will welcome the Gonzaga Bulldogs to the University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, California on Saturday, February 4, 2023, at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Saint Mary's Gaels Betting Prediction
Randy Bennett has been the head coach of Saint Mary's since 2002, and this might be the best team he has had yet. The Gaels earned their best seeding ever in the NCAA Tournament last year (a No. 5 seed), and they could be in line for an even better seed on Selection Sunday next month. They are ranked the seventh best team in the country by Ken Pomeroy, but they have just one Quad 1 win to their credit.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga is much more battle tested with three wins over Quad 1 opponents and victories over elite programs like Kentucky, Alabama, and Xavier. That makes the Bulldogs too tempting to pass off as a short road underdog on Saturday night.
Score Prediction: Gonzaga 68, Saint Mary's 66
Best Bet: Gonzaga +2.5 (-110)
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. St. Mary's Gaels Betting Odds
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. St. Mary's Gaels Betting Resources
Date: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023
TV-Time: ESPN, 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: University Credit Union Pavilion
Location: Moraga, California
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. St. Mary's Gaels Betting Stats
St. Mary's Gaels
Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)
Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Analysis
Drew Timme was one of the frontrunners to be named the Wooden Player of the Year at the start of the season. Timme was the fourth straight Gonzaga player to be named WCC Player of the Year last season, and he is posting career highs in every major category. He is averaging 21.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, and 3.5 APG, and he leads the Bulldogs in all of those categories. Unfortunately for Gonzaga, he is struggling from the perimeter and the free throw line, and he is making a career-low 59.1% of his free throws.
Julian Strawther has significantly improved as a three-point shooter this season, and that has helped make him the second leading scorer on Gonzaga behind Timme. He is averaging 14.6 PPG, and Strawther is making 43.2% of his threes. Strawther is the second leading rebounder on the Bulldogs too with 6.9 RPG.
The best three-point shooter in the country this season has been Malachi Smith. The reserve guard transferred in from Chattanooga this offseason, and he has become extremely efficient now that he doesn't have to pace the offense. Smith is making an absurd 54.2% of his threes, and he is averaging almost three attempts beyond the arc per game.
Gonzaga's offense ranks third in offensive efficiency per Pomeroy. The Bulldogs have a 57.3% effective field goal percentage, and the only thing they don't do well on offense is make free throws. Timme is the primary culprit there, but fellow forward Anton Watson is making just 58.2% of his free throws too.
Saint Mary's Gaels Betting Analysis
The Gaels have one of the best defenses in the country. Saint Mary's has the fourth best defense in the nation according to Pomeroy, and they haven't allowed more than 70 points in a single game. They held a good North Texas team to just 33 points in one of the most dominant performances of the season, and opponents have an effective field goal percentage of just 44.5% against the Gaels. Saint Mary's does an excellent job on the glass too, ranking third in limiting offensive rebounds.
Center Mitchell Saxen will be one of the keys to this game for Saint Mary's. Saxen is averaging 12.5 PPG and 8.3 RPG, and he is making 53.9% of his field goals. He is very good on the defensive end even though he doesn't register a lot of blocks, and he will benefit from Timme's lack of range this season. Saxen must stay on the court and limit his fouls as he has picked up four or more fouls in 10 games this year.
Saint Mary's has two guards that are superb three-point shooters in Aidan Mahaney and Alex Ducas. Mahaney has been the key to this team's potentially historic season as the freshman leads the Gaels with 14.8 PPG and is making 43.4% of his threes. Meanwhile, Ducas is averaging 12.4 PPG while making 43.3% of his triples. Kyle Bowen doesn't shoot much as he averages 5.8 PPG and 7.8 RPG, but he is nailing 44.3% of his threes on the uncommon occasion he fires away from distance.