The 5th-seeded Saint Mary’s Gaels (27-7) square off with the 4th-seeded Connecticut Huskies (26-8) Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Tip from MVP Arena in Albany, N.Y., is set for 6:10 p.m. ET (TNT). Below, we analyze Tipico Sportsbook’s lines around the Saint Mary’s vs. UConn odds, and make our expert college basketball picks, predictions and best bets.
No.19 in the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll Saint Mary’s handled VCU 63-51 Friday in a game pegged by many to be an upset. No. 12 ranked UConn enters off an 87-63 dismantling of Iona in its first-round affair Friday.
While the Gaels want to use a slow pace and their 5th-ranked scoring defense (59.9 points allowed per game) to muddy things up, UConn will want to play a more-up tempo game with its 29th-ranked offense (78.7 points per game).
UConn also has an elite defense though, allowing just 65.0 points per game (40th), and if it can hold the Gaels down to that average there is very little chance that Saint Mary’s will be able to keep up. If the Gaels are able to get closer to their average of 71.1 points per game (184th), they could make this a close game to the end.
Saint Mary’s at UConn odds
Provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 9:34 a.m. ET.
- Moneyline (ML): Saint Mary’s +160 (bet $100 to win $160) | UConn -190 (bet $190 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): Saint Mary’s +4.5 (-115) | UConn -4.5 (-105)
- Over/Under (O/U): 127.5 (O: -112 | U: -108)
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Saint Mary’s at UConn picks and predictions
UConn 71, Saint Mary’s 64
UConn punched its ticket to the second round because it demolished an Iona team with a more prolific offense than Saint Mary’s by holding them to just 63 points.
Saint Mary’s will need to slow down this game to remain close, but the athleticism of UConn will eventually overcome and the Huskies will pull away. However, while UConn (-190) is too steep for a straight wager, it is okay for an addition to a parlay.
BET UCONN -4.5 (-105).
Freshman G Aidan Mahaney has been stellar for Saint Mary’s all season, but he was held to 0 points and 2 assists with 4 fouls in 18 minutes in the first round. UConn can also limit what he can do while also providing a far superior offense than that of VCU.
Huskies F Adama Sanogo can take over the game as he did in the first round when he shot 13-for-17 for 28 points and added 13 rebounds. He’ll force the Gaels to try to keep him out of the paint, but with his talent and the surrounding cast, the Huskies will be able to cover this margin.
Playing approximately 130 miles from campus, UConn will have a major advantage in fan support. This will lead the Huskies to a victory and a Sweet 16 berth against Arkansas.
While everything says this game should go Under, the number of 127.5 is just too low for the taking.
Saint Mary’s has gone Under in 8 of its past 11 tournament games while UConn has gone Under in 4 straight games following an ATS win and 4 straight games after a straight-up win.
However, the offensive potential of UConn playing near home coupled with the Gaels having to make a cross-country trip for 2 games in 3 days, makes the Over a better play. In a case of mismatched value, it is better to just avoid the play entirely.
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