Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. UConn Huskies March Madness Betting Preview
Huskies 17-6 ATS in Their Last 23 Tournament Games
Strong Second Half Pushes Gaels Into Round Two
We stated in previous previews that Saint Mary’s was going to be a tough out and that proved true at least through one round after the Gaels outscored VCU by 11 to blow open a 1-point game at the half. Center, Mitchell Saxen, scored 17 points on 73% shooting to lead Saint Mary’s. It should be noted that VCA was playing without Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year – Ace Baldwin – after suffering an achilles tendon and groin injury after pulling up for a jumper.
The junior guard did return for a few minutes but left for good with about six minutes left in a tight game. In his absence, the Rams lost seven points off a 4-point deficit. Bettors need to factor that in when finishing their postgame assessment of the Gaels who easily covered the 4-point spread.
Despite the cover, Saint Mary’s has failed to cover seven of their last 12 games. With players constantly fishing for big moneyline dogs, the public was let down with the Gaels win after 84% of the moneyline money came in on the Rams, pushing the opening moneyline number down from -250 to -185. Let’s continue our Saint Mary’s vs. UConn preview by turning our attention to Connecticut. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)
Huskies Build Tournament Character in Iona Win
We always think it’s better when a team that is supposed to go far in the ‘Big Dance’ struggles in the first round. That’s usually an indication that good things are to come. Now the team has the conference tournament residue burnt off and can focus on the task at hand. That can be said for the Huskies who trailed 39-37 to Rick Pitino’s squad at the half.
UConn changed their fortunes in the second half on the back of a 17-4 run that was the catalyst to the Huskies’ 50-24 second-half advantage. In the end, UConn easily advanced, 87-63, win. Behind 28 points from junior guard Adama Sanogo and a bench that scored another 26 points, the Huskies’ depth and talent were too much for the Gaels. This is one of the few match-ups that bettors got right overall but ultimately the house got the cash. Just 21% of the tickets wagers were on the Gaels moneyline, but that money was enough to push the number down from -580 to open to -450 with smaller bets making up the other 79%.
Obviously, the Huskies covered the nine-point spread to cover for the 10th time in their last 14 games. The game also broke a small four-game under streak for Dan Hurley’s team after hitting the 150 mark after bettors pounded this number down 3 ½ points to 141. To conclude our Saint Mary’s vs UConn preview let’s focus on the betting numbers and the shape way to bet on this compelling match-up.
Handicapping the Game
The Huskies opened up as a -3 ½ point favorite and hasn’t budged since. Early betting shows some Huskies money coming in but not enough to move the number. So far, the team is receiving the second most action on the Sunday board behind Kentucky and Kansas State so anticipate a move in UConn’s direction sometime Saturday.
It appears that the books will have the most liability on the total where 98% of the early cash has come in on the under. The total has settled down to 129.5 after opening at 130.5. The regular season is about betting College Basketball spreads, but in the tournament, it shifts more towards the public looking for that big moneyline dog to come in, a trend that is bucked in this second-round clash. UConn is a -175 moneyline favorite with only a slight movement in the Husky direction.
Betting movement by the public is usually an indication of who they think will go deep into the tournament. Betting patterns definitely indicate that the Huskies are a favorite to go deep because they’re one of the few teams where bettors are scared off attempting to cash that plus money on the moneyline. For our next March Madness bet, we recommend betting on the Huskies and the over.
That does it for our Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. UConn Huskies preview, we wish you nothing but the best heading into the second round. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)
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