Santa Clara vs Saint Mary’s Basketball Prediction & Picks: Gaels go for nine in a row

By | January 21, 2023

Santa Clara has had an excellent season thus far, but the Broncos need quality wins to have a chance to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Hall of Famer Steve Nash led the program to three straight appearances from 1994 to 1996.

One such opportunity awaits them tonight as they visit Saint Mary’s, who is alone in first in the West Coast Conference thanks to Gonzaga’s stunning upset loss at home to Loyola Marymount on Thursday.

The Gaels (17-4, 6-0 WCC), who are 24th in this week’s Coaches Poll, have won eight straight games, while the Broncos (16-5, 4-2 WCC) are 8-2 in their last ten games with home losses to Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga.

But while the Gaels rank seventh in the NET entering today, the Broncos sit at 80th, and they won’t have many opportunities like this one.

Can they somehow pull the road upset, or will the home team continue its blazing run? Read on for our Santa Clara vs Saint Mary’s prediction and picks.

Santa Clara vs Saint Mary’s Odds

Odds are via FanDuel as of Saturday, January 21, 2023, at 2:20 pm ET. This article may also include odds from our other recommended legal sports betting sites.

Spread

  • Santa Clara +12.5 (-118)
  • Saint Mary’s -12.5 (-104)

Over/Under

  • Over 134.5 (-110)
  • Under 134.5 (-110)

Moneyline

  • Santa Clara +580
  • Saint Mary’s -880

Can Santa Clara Play Saint Mary’s Close Again?

Thus far, the Gaels’ closest conference contest was when they visited the Broncos on New Year’s Eve and left the Leavey Center with a 67-64 win.

In that first meeting, Saint Mary’s led 55-41 with eight minutes remaining, but Santa Clara rallied to make a game of it before ultimately falling short.

But can they be competitive in Moraga? The Gaels’ closest home game in conference play is a 76-62 win over Loyola Marymount nine days ago. In their other home games, they beat San Diego by 27 and Portland by 42.

Defensive Statistics and Metrics for Saint Mary’s

  • Points Allowed Per Game: 57.1 (4th in Division I)
  • FG%: 39.2% (22nd in Division I)
  • 3PT%: 30.1% (46th in Division I)
  • Defensive Efficiency: 4th

While defense is the Gaels’ calling card, they also rank 47th in the country in defensive efficiency, and they have scored 73+ points in their last five games.

Can the Broncos shoot well enough to compete? In the first meeting, the Broncos were 21 of 23 (91.3%) from the free-throw line. But they negated that by going 19 of 52 (36.4%) from the field and 5 of 15 (33.3%) from the free-throw line.

Santa Clara vs Saint Mary’s Prediction and Picks

Santa Clara vs Saint Mary’s Prediction: Saint Mary’s to win

Santa Clara vs Saint Mary’s Picks: Santa Clara +12.5 (Best Value: BetMGM) & Santa Clara team total over 61.5 (Best Value: Caesars Sportsbook)

It will take some serious heroics for the Broncos to win this game, but I do think we will another competitive game between these two teams.

The Broncos are led by a talented and productive trio of Brandin Podziemski, Keshawn Justice, and Carlos Stewart, who combined for only 42 points in the first meeting against Saint Mary’s but combined for 61 on 21 of 39 (53.8%) shooting in Santa Clara’s 83-76 win over BYU on Thursday.

Leading Players for Santa Clara

  • Brandin Podziemski: 18.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 3.5 APG, 2.1 SPG, 40.0% 3PT
  • Carlos Stewart: 15.2 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.7 SPG, 37.1% 3PT
  • Keshawn Justice: 13.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 3.0 APG, 36.6% 3PT

If they can get big games from even two of that trio, the Broncos should have an excellent chance to cover, and if all three can go off, an upset could very well be in the cards.

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