West Coast Conference Semifinals Betting Preview: Back Gonzaga to Cover Against Saint Mary’s

SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking focuses on the West Coast Conference tournament semifinal matchups on his Monday NCAA basketball betting card.
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Saint Mary’s Gaels at Gonzaga Bulldogs

A trip to the West Coast Conference tournament championship game is on the line when Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga meet tonight. Tipoff for the Gaels vs. Bulldogs battle is slated for 9:00 p.m. ET at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. These teams met twice during the regular season, and Gonzaga won both contests. The Bulldogs won the first meeting, 73–59 on Jan. 16, but failed to cover as 16­-point road favorites. Gonzaga won the second game, 87­–65 at home on Feb. 18, and covered as 20.5-point favorites.

Saint Mary’s (14–8, 4–6 WWC) entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed, which earned the Gaels a bye into the quarterfinal round. Saint Mary’s advanced to the semifinals with a 52–47 win over No. 5 Loyola Marymount Lions on Saturday. Led by Logan Johnson, who scored 25 points, and Tommy Kuhse who had 12 points, just four players recorded points for the Gaels. Saint Mary’s closed the regular season with wins at home against Pepperdine (66–61), and Pacific (58–46), and a 65–51 loss to BYU on the road.

Gonzaga (24–0, 15–0 WCC) is the No. 1 seed, which earned the Bulldogs a bye into the semifinals. After completing their first undefeated regular season in school history, which dates back to 1907, Gonzaga has not played since Feb. 27. The Bulldogs closed their season with wins at home against Santa Clara (89–75), and Loyola Marymount (86–69), but failed to cover the spread in both contests. Gonzaga has won the last five meetings against Saint Mary’s, and three of the victories were by at least 18 points.

Apart from 60–47 loss to Saint Mary’s, in the 2019 championship game, Gonzaga has won seven of the last eight WCC tournaments. Gonzaga enters this contest with a massive edge on offense as they average 92.9 ppg while Saint Mary’s scores 64.5 ppg. The Gaels have an edge on defense as they allow 61.6 ppg while the Bulldogs give up 69.3 ppg. Gonzaga defeated Saint Mary’s 84–66 during the WCC championship game last season. Expecting a similar result here, lay the points and back the Bulldogs.

Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs -17.5 (-110) at DraftKings

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 9:00 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 9:00 p.m. ET

Bet on College Basketball All Season at DraftKings

Pepperdine Waves at BYU Cougars

The second WCC tournament semifinal features Pepperdine battling BYU. Tipoff for the Waves vs. Cougars contest is slated for 11:59 p.m. ET at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. These teams split a home-and-home series during the regular season. The first contest was a PUSH as BYU won 65–54 as 11-point favorites at home on Jan 23. Pepperdine won the rematch as they upset the Cougars 76–73 on Jan. 27 as 6.5-point dogs at home. Prior to that, the Waves lost six straight games against the Cougars.

Pepperdine (12–11, 7–6 WCC) entered the tournament as the No. 3 seed, which earned the Waves a bye into the quarterfinal round. Pepperdine advanced to the semifinal round following a 78–70 win over Santa Clara on Saturday. The Waves drained 17 of 21 free throw attempts, plus nine of 27 shots from three-point range, and covered as 4.5-point favorites. Prior to that, Pepperdine snapped a three-game losing streak with a 90–84 win on the road against San Diego to close out their regular season schedule.

BYU (19–5, 10–3 WCC) entered the tournament as the No. 2 seed, which earned the Cougars a bye into the semifinal round. Following an 82–71 loss to Gonzaga, as 11-point underdogs at home on Feb. 8, BYU closed the regular season with four straight wins. The Cougars covered the spread during road wins against Pacific (80–52) and Loyola Marymount (88–71). That was followed by a non-cover as 10-point chalk against San Francisco (79–73) and a cover against St. Mary’s (65–­51) during two home games.

These teams are close on offense as BYU averages 78.6 ppg while Pepperdine scores 76.2 ppg. The Cougars have an edge on defense as they allow 67.3 ppg while the Waves give up 74.3 ppg. BYU is 8–3 straight up and 8-2-1 against the spread during road games this season. Including their quarterfinal victory, Pepperdine is 5–6 straight up and 8-2-1 ATS on the road. While I feel BYU will win outright, Pepperdine has enough talent on offense to keep this contest close. Take the points and back the Waves.

Pick: Pepperdine Waves +9 (-110) at DraftKings

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 11:59 p.m. ET

Betting Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook – Game Time 11:59 p.m. ET

2020–21 NCAA Basketball Betting Record: 29-25 ATS


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