NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet Talented Saint Mary's -7.5 Against Cal Poly

Willie Bee

Monday, December 14, 2015 1:38 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 1:38 PM GMT

The final game on Monday's NCAA basketball odds board finds Saint Mary's hosting a Cal Poly team that is about to embark on a six game road trip over the next month.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Saint Mary's -7.5
Best Line Offered: at Bet365

The bad news for Joe Callero and the Cal Poly Mustangs is they are about to spend the next month away from home on a 6-game road trip that includes three contests in Texas over the Christmas and New Year's holidays. The good news is the journey begins with a short venture less than 20 miles from the Mustangs' home in San Luis Obispo.

There's bad news within that good news, however, since Monday's matchup is against the Saint Mary's Gaels who are coming off their first loss of the season and own a huge advantage in this rivalry that started more than 100 years ago. Tip-off at McKeon Pavilion in Moraga is 10 PM (ET), and the game can be seen on television regionally out west on the Pac-12 Network.

Current NCAA basketball odds do suggest Cal Poly has a decent chance of handing the Gaels their first setback of the season. Saint Mary's opened as 8½ point chalk, that spread since whittled down to 8 or even 7½ thanks to early action on the Mustangs. The total first went out at 136½, but has since climbed a point at 5Dimes.

These two schools used to get together quite often with Monday's tilt the 82nd meeting, but it has not been an annual encounter recently. Saint Mary's holds a dominating 64-17 advantage in the series, including the victories both straight up and against the spread in the last four encounters.

Last year's collision also occurred in Moraga where the Gaels posted an easy 86-52 decision on a -12½ point spread. Cal Poly's last triumph at McKeon Pavilion came in 2002 when the Mustangs upset the Gaels, 59-52, as 10 point underdogs.

 

Ponies Look For 6th Win In Seven Tries
Cal Poly (5-3 straight up, 3-3 against the spread) began the season with a couple of losses at UCLA and UNLV, though the Mustangs did managed to keep the games close and cover against similar spreads as we're seeing tonight. Callero's crew has since won five of six, but have only gone 1-3 ATS in the four contests that made it to the college basketball betting board.

It has been nine days since the Ponies last took the floor, bouncing back from an upset loss to IPFW with a 77-65 win over Fresno State. Cal Poly led from start to finish in that one, making up for disadvantages on the boards and in the turnover column by shooting 50% from the field. Taylor Sutlive led the way with 16 points, connecting on all three of his 3-point attempts.

The Mustangs will be missing a couple of bit players for this game and beyond. Forward  Aleks Abrams injured his shoulder in a late-November victory over Antelope Valley and isn't likely to play at all on this road trip. Guard Sergine Athj is out for the season after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.

 

Gaels 3rd In Country From 3-Point Range
Considering this was supposed to be a big rebuilding year for Randy Bennett and Saint Mary's (6-1 SU, 5-0 ATS), the young Gaels are proving to be quick learners. Lights-out shooting has been the story so far, Saint Mary's third in the country connecting on 53% from the field -- 3rd in 3-point shooting also at 47.6% -- and 75th in scoring (78.5 PPG).

That hot shooting let the Gaels down on Saturday when they made the short trip to Berkeley to take on Cal. Saint Mary's did hit on a respectable 42% from the field, and 50% from beyond the arc, but never could get inside on the Bears and get to the free-throw line in a game the Gaels lost by four, 63-59. Saint Mary's backers did go home happy, however, getting +7 at the closing bell.

I'm looking for the Gaels to come out very focused after that loss, and like the downward movement on the spread right now. My free NCAA basketball pick will be on Bennett's boys.

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