The seventh-seeded Saint Mary’s Gaels will look to prove they’re really elite when hey take on a 10th-seeded VCU Rams team that is playing its best basketball of the season heading into the national championship tournament. With both championship hopefuls looking to advance, let’s find out where the value in this West Region matchup lies.
How To Bet The VCU Rams Vs St. Mary’s Gaels Odds & TV Info
The Rams and Gaels will square off on Thursday, March 16 at 7:20 PM ET, live from Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah with this matchup airing live on TBS.
VCU Rams (26-8) vs St. Mary’s Gaels (28-4)
When: Thursday, March 16, at 7:20 PM ET
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Odds: St. Mary’s -4
Why Bet The VCU Rams Odds at +4
There are plenty of good reasons to back the 10th-seeded Rams in this matchup as they make their seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance after falling to Rhode Island 70-63 in the Atlantic 10 Conference tournament title game Sunday.
VCU averages a modest 74.7 points per game (142nd) but shoots a solid 46.1 percent from the field (78th). More importantly, the Rams have an outstanding defense that limits the opposition to just 66.4 points per game (47th) on 41.8 percent shooting (79th).
The Rams have just two double-digit scorers on the roster in guard JeQuan Lewis (14.7 points, 4.6 assists) and forward Justin Tillman (12.4 points, 8.8 rebounds).
Why Bet The St. Mary’s Gaels Odds at -4
The seventh-seeded Gaels have only lost four games this season, but three came against previously No. 1 conference rival Gonzaga. St. Mary’s averages a modest 72.0 points per game (203rd), but shoots a stellar 49.6 percent from the field (eighth) and 39.9 percent from three-point distance (18th). The Gales have a phenomenal defense that limits the opposition to just 56.5 points per game, second in the nation only to Virginia (55.6).
St. Mary’s only has two double-digit scorers on the roster, but one of them is a likely NBA performer in 6-11junior center Jock Landale. The hulking Australian is averaging a team-high 16.8 points on 60.9 percent shooting while chipping in 9.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. Junior forward Calvin Hermanson is the only other player on Saint Mary’s averaging in double figures at 12.9 points per game.
VCU Vs St. Mary’s Pick & Final Score Prediction
57 percent of the betting public likes St. Mary’s to win and advance, but I’m going against the grain with my pick on this first round matchup to back VCU.
While St. Mary’s has gone 4-0 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games as a favorite, 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall and 13-4-1 ATS in their last 18 non-conference games, the VCU rams are 13-2 ATS in their last 15 NCAA Tournament games as an underdog, a robust 15-3 ATS in their last 18 NCAA Tournament games and 13-6 ATS in their last 19 neutral site games.
The Rams cover the spread by upsetting a St. Mary’s team that just doesn’t play enough quality competition outside of conference rival Gonzaga.
My final score prediction VCU 66 St. Mary’s 63