Saint Mary’s Gaels vs VCU Rams March Madness Betting Preview

5th Seed Stands 93-51 Against 12th Seed All-Time

We start our Saint Mary’s Gaels vs. VCU Rams preview with a glance at the current odds for either team’s chances to win the March Madness tournament. The Gaels are +3500 to win while the Bulldogs are +30000. Not exactly odds that will make us run to the book to bet on either team, but perhaps the game provides a better opportunity to add to our College Basketball betting picks list.

SMC Saint Mary’s Gaels vs VCU Rams VCU

Date, time:
Location: MVP Arena, Albany, New York
Region: West

Gaels Looking for National Respect

Of the five losses Gonzaga has this season, the Saint Mary’s Gaels (26-7, 11th net rankings) are proud to say they own one of them. That gave them one of two quad-one wins with the other being a neutral court win against San Diego State, 68-61. They also lost to the #1 Houston Cougars by just five points in early December. All that in their resume’ and the public still has very little idea how good this team has been because they’ve been overshadowed by Gonzaga. This will be Saint Mary’s 12th appearance in the tournament, with four of those coming in the last 6 years. One time in program history they made the Elite 8 (1959) where they lost to California, 66-46. In 2010, the Gaels made their second Sweet 16 appearance after beating 7th seed Richmond and 2nd seed Villanova before losing to 3rd seed Baylor, 72-49. The Gaels were 16-12-2 ATS this season and 34-22-4 ATS (60.71%) over the last two seasons.

How the Gaels Got Here

The Gaels got here on defense. Randy Bennett’s team will not give their opponents space on the floor, forcing you to beat them for 40 minutes. Saint Mary’s held their opponents to 60.1PPG, a list that includes #1 Houston (53 points). The only concern is that statistic is based on a ton of quad-three games. Against quad one or two teams, the Gaels allowed under 65 points. Still not shabby, but in three games against the Zags the Gaels allowed at least 70 points a game. The question will be, can St.marys stay with teams that force the game into the 70’s?

How Far Can St. Mary’s Go?

Bennett’s team will likely move on with a first-round win, but then they’ll meet the UConn Huskies which we’re very high on. History will tell us that the great teams are usually teams that will get those extra 10-15 points from the line. The Gaels are one of the worst free-throw shooting teams in College Basketball (69.6%). Hard to believe that if the free ones aren’t going down that they’ll beat the Huskies. Let’s continue our Saint Mary’s vs. VCU preview by turning our attention to VCU.

Rams Hope to relive Past Glory

If the Gaels feel like they’re slighted from national recognition, the Rams must feel downright ignored. The Rams have won nine straight games and are in the tournament for the 19th time, and 10th since 2011 when they went to the Final Four before losing to Butler, 70-62. The Rams finished 17-10-1 ATS this season overall and 14-8-1 as a favorite. Over the last two seasons, the Rams have been kind to bettors with a 35-21 combined ATS mark (62.50%). Their +$1088 (based on a $100 wager) is the 8th best in College Basketball in that span.

How the Rams Got Here

The Rams got their invitation to the Big Dance after winning the A-10 championship with a win over the Dayton Flyers. This was a close call for VCU who played just one quad-one team, Memphis, losing by 15 early in the season. They were 5-3 against quad two teams but really feasted on a steady diet of quad three and four teams where their combined record was 22-3. That likely wasn’t going enough to be enough to impress the committee if they hadn’t won their postseason tournament despite winning the regular season title.

How Far Will VCU Go?

We project that this will be the end of the line for the Rams against Saint Mary’s. Although they come into this one covering 7 of their last 8 games, questions linger about their toughness and their ability to get those extra points from the charity stripe. The Rams shot just 70.5% from the line and we believe that’s what’s going to hurt Mike Rhoades’ team.

Handicapping the Game

To conclude our Saint Mary’s vs. VCU preview by jumping into the betting numbers for each team.

The Gaels were 14-10-2 ATS as a favorite this season and 5-2 as a neutral court favorite. They are just 5-7-1 ATS against teams playing .550 ball this season but 5-2-2 against teams with a spread winning percentage of .500 or better. VCU is 3-2 as an underdog and 11-5 in that spot over the last couple of years. The Rams are 3-1-1 ATS on a neutral court this year and 17-9-1 ATS against teams playing .550 ball or better. As you can see, historical numbers don’t lay out an easy path to cashing tickets but we’re going with St. Mary’s minus the points.

That concludes our Saint Mary’s vs. VCU preview, we wish you the best with this year’s tournament. (Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)


Last Updated: 03/14/2023 Teams
Spread: Gaels -4.5
Total: 122.5
Moneyline: Gaels -190, Rams +160
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