Saint Mary’s stands alone in the West Coast Conference as the Gaels have shook off some early-season struggles. Saint Mary’s, which started 3-5, has won 11 of 12 overall and are off to a 5-0 start in league play. Will they keep that momentum as a gargantuan favorite Thursday night against Pacific at home?
Pacific has been in free fall since Thanksgiving. After a 4-3 start, the Tigers have lost 11 of 13 and have dropped the first five games in league action. Do they have a chance at staying within the number against the first-place Gaels?
Here’s a betting preview for Thursday’s conference clash with a best bet.
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Pacific vs. Saint Mary’s odds, spread and total
Pacific vs. Saint Mary’s betting trends
- Pacific is 3-15 ATS this season
- Saint Mary’s is 9-10 ATS this season
- Pacific is 3-10 ATS as an underdog this season
- Saint Mary’s is 7-10 ATS as a favorite this season
- The OVER is 7-11 in Pacific games this season
- The OVER is 10-9 in Saint Mary’s games this season
Pacific vs. Saint Mary’s how to watch
- Date: Thursday, Jan. 25
- Game time: 11 p.m. EST
- Venue: University Credit Union Pavilion
- How to watch (TV): CBS Sports Network
- Pacific record: 6-14 (0-5 WCC)
- Saint Mary’s record: 14-6 (5-0 WCC)
Pacific vs. Saint Mary’s key players to watch
Cam Denson: The 6-foot-7 junior guard averages 8.4 points per game and leads the Tigers in rebounds at 4.8 per night. Pacific’s offense had some life earlier this month with Denson improving as a scorer. In a two-game stretch against Loyola Marymount and Portland, he combined for 31 points on 13-of-21 shooting with nine rebounds. He couldn’t build off those outings, though, and was held scoreless in 15 minutes (0-of-2 shooting) in the loss to Santa Clara on Jan. 18.
Aidan Mahaney: The sophomore guard started 26 games as a true freshman last season and has returned as the focal point to the Gaels offense, averaging 14.7 points and 2.9 assists per game. Since being held to a season-low two points against Kent State Dec. 29, Mahaney has been great in January, scoring 20-plus points in three of five games. He’s hit 16 three-pointers over the last three contests and is coming off a 22-point performance in the Gaels’ 77-60 win over San Francisco.
Pacific vs. Saint Mary’s prediction and pick
Saint Mary’s should have no trouble cruising past Pacific, but by how much? Saint Mary’s is built on defense and has stymied conference opponents in five games this season, ranking second in the WCC in effective field goal percentage and first in turnover and offensive rebounding percentage.
Overall, Saint Mary’s is top-10 in the country in getting offensive boards and limiting them on the defensive end. But can the Gaels win by such a big margin? The Saint Mary’s offense is No. 79 overall in KenPom in efficiency, but ranks No. 118 in shooting from inside the arc and No. 248 in shooting from the perimeter.
Saint Mary’s offense has a great matchup against a lowly Pacific club, which boasts a defense that ranks No. 338 overall and is one of the worst in the country in effective field goal percentage (No. 352) and defending 2-point shots (No. 355).
The biggest concern is how Saint Mary’s style of play impacts their chances of blowing out Pacific. The Gaels’ rank No. 355 in adjusted tempo, which is the eighth-slowest mark in the nation. With that hampering the possibility of a blowout, trust the Saint Mary’s defense to suffocate a Pacific offense that is one of the worst in the country.
Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.