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Utah State Saint Mary’s Betting – Gaels Come Out On Top In Bracket Buster Tilt

Posted by Washington Tucker on 2/6/2014 1:50:34 AM
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Saturday, February 19th, 9:00 PM ET
  • Where: McKeon Pavilion, Moraga, CA
  • Pick: Saint Mary’s Gaels

(All numbers as of Wednesday, February 16th)

Sports betting players will get a tasty matchup between a pair of mid-majors on Saturday night as Utah State heads to Saint Mary’s, and the Gaels have a couple of victories over the Aggies from 2009 under their belts. In what should be an exciting game, the Gaels should have enough experience in the backcourt, combined with a raucous home advantage, to pull out a crucial win.

Why Bet On Utah State (23-3, 12-1 Western Athletic Conference)

On Wednesday, the No.24 Aggies will host Montana-Western, an NAIA team, and they should serve as a good warm-up before they head to Saint Mary’s. Utah State is pulling away from the rest of the WAC, and while they’re only 111th in the nation in points scored, they shoot 46.7% from the floor, which is 47th. Senior forward Tai Wesley has been battling through a broken nose, but still shooting almost 60% from the field, while junior point guard Brockeith Pane is doing a very good job of running the show in his first year as a starter. A pair of senior guards, Pooh Williams and Brian Green, are deadly from beyond the arc, which opens up things inside for Wesley. This is an experienced group who has been to the NCAA Tournament two straight years, and they’re not afraid of big games as they’ve held their own on the road in losses at BYU and Georgetown.

The main gripe on the Aggies is that they don’t force a lot of turnovers, but they counter that with solid fundamental defense and they’re fifth in the country in points allowed. Also, the Aggies aren’t a big team and they don’t block a lot of shots, but again, they play hard on the perimeter, keeping their opponents on the outside, and they box out to get position for rebounds.

Why Bet On Saint Mary’s(22-4, 10-1 West Coast Conference)

The Gaels are just outside of the top 25 ahead of a trip to San Diego, who are last in the WCC but gave Saint Mary’s a tough game in Moraga on January 19th. The guard duo of senior Mickey McConnell and sophomore Matthew Dellavedova power an offense that is 11th in points scored, and they’re fourth in field-goal percentage, so you know they don’t waste shots. Like Wesley for Utah State, junior forward Rob Jones is the de facto big man, but he can also step out and hit the trey, which is a huge weapon for Saint Mary’s. The Gaels are ninth in the country in three-pointers made and 18th in three-point percentage, and they also take excellent care of the ball, coming in seventh in assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. Sophomore forward Mitchell Young helps out Jones in the post, and he shoots almost 62% from the floor.

Saint Mary’s can sometimes struggle in defending the three-point shot (179th in three-point defense), and the opposition shoots 43% from the field, coming in 167th. Like the Aggies, the Gaels don’t block a lot of shots (ranking 139th, 32 spots ahead of Utah State). And the guard duo of McConnell and Dellavedova play a ton of minutes, and you have to wonder if fatigue will catch up to them.

How The Game Will Play Out

NCAA basketball betting odds will likely favor the Gaels at home, where they have won 19 in a row, which is the fourth-longest streak in the country behind Duke, Kentucky and ironically, Utah State. These two have met twice, with the Gaels pulling out an 11-point win at home in February 2009, and then posting a five-point win at Utah State 10 months later, covering the spread in both instances. That was the last time the Aggies lost at home, so there is a revenge factor in this matchup but not only that, the winner of this “BracketBuster” showdown will have a great victory to put on their Tournament resume if they happen to need an at-large bid. The matchup to watch here is Wesley against Jones, and Jones may be able to bring Wesley outside with his shooting ability. We also think Saint Mary’s guards are better, and McConnell has more experience than Pane, which will allow the Gaels to control the pace of the game. Take Saint Mary’s at home in your online betting picks.

Utah State Saint Mary’s Betting Pick: Saint Mary’s Gaels

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