One of the best games of the day takes place in the West Coast Conference Semifinal as the 21-10 Santa Clara Broncos take on the 24-5 Saint Mary's Gaels at 8:30 p.m. PST.
The Broncos have covered the spread in three straight with their offense looking dominant. They've scored 89 or more points in three straight and hope for a similar result to their 77-72 win over Saint Mary's in February.
The Gaels, meanwhile, also have a win over Santa Clara this year, albeit in January, and have won four straight, including a huge win over Gonzaga their last time out.
Where does the value lie in what should be a closely-contested game with a trip to the conference finals on the line?
Let's check out the odds via WynnBET to help us find a winner:
Santa Clara vs Saint Mary's Odds, Spread and Total
- Santa Clara +4.5 (-110)
- Saint Mary's -4.5 (-110)
- Santa Clara: +165
- Saint Mary's: -200
- 138 (Over -110/Under -110)
Santa Clara vs Saint Mary's Prediction and Pick
If the nation wasn't already in tune to how talented Saint Mary's is, everyone should be well-aware now. A double-digit victory over Gonzaga does wonders for a team's reputation, and the Gaels defense is no laughing matter.
Saint Mary's ranks in the 97th percentile in defensive rating on the year thanks to a 99th percentile in steal rating. The Gaels force turnovers at a frenetic pace and prevent offenses from getting comfortable. But their offense does leave something to be desired, ranking in just the 11th percentile in their last five games as their shooters have gone cold.
Santa Clara is basically the inverse of the Gaels, with a 99th-percentile ranking in offensive rating over their last five but a 16th-percentile ranking in defensive rating over that same time frame. The Broncos don't force turnovers and are a terrible offensive rebounding team, meaning they'll need to hit their shots the first time or else they won't be hitting them.
With their offense on fire, the Broncos have been an excellent underdog bet. They've covered in four of their last five as an underdog and won two of those games outright, including one over Saint Mary's.
I think we could have a let-down spot for the Gaels after such an incredible win over Gonzaga. They likely already punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament while Santa Clara needs to win this tournament to solidify its spot. Give me the Broncos to keep it close.
Pick: Santa Clara +4.5 (-110)
Follow all of Joe Summers' betting picks here.