There is a strong series 'under' trend for bettors to consider between Saint Mary's and Gonzaga as the WCC rivals meet with unbeaten conference records for Thursday's college basketball odds clash.
One of the better rivalries is part of Thursday's college basketball betting card, and it's a real shame that most of the country won't get a chance to see it.
Forgive me if I get on my soapbox too often with rants about the West Coast Conference not getting its due when it comes to nationally televised games. Yes, I understand the games are played when much of the country has already turned in, but it would be well worth being a little tired a couple of mornings per season to catch this league in action.
Especially when that action is between the conference's biggest rivals, the Saint Mary's Gaels and Gonzaga Bulldogs. The first meeting between the two this season finds both teams unbeaten and tied atop the league ranks as they prepare to tip things a little past 11 PM (ET) at McCarthey Athletic Center.
It's a pretty big number Gonzaga backers are faced with giving up with the Bulldogs favored by 14½; SBR's live NCAA Basketball Odds will have a total later this morning.
Zags & 'Under' Solid Trends In Series
It has been a very lopsided rivalry overall and in recent years. Gonzaga owns a 60-27 stranglehold over Saint Mary's, winning the last six and 12 of the last 16. The schools have met three times six consecutive seasons, the Bulldogs sweeping those series 3-0 each of the last two years.
Not only does Mark Few's gang dominate on the floor, the Zags have also dominated for college basketball bettors, bringing home the cash with five straight covers and eight spread-beaters in the last 11 collisions.
Likewise, 'under' bettors have equally enjoyed the series. The last five matchups never made it to the totals, those numbers ranging from 133½ in last year's WCC Tournament to 141½ two years ago when the Gaels hosted the Bulldogs.
Gaels Reach Spokane On 9-Game Run SU, 8-0 ATS
"I've never had a nine-game streak that didn't feel like we had a streak at all. It feels like it's been just one tough game after another," Saint Mary's (15-3 straight up, 11-3-2 against the spread) head coach Randy Bennett said after Saturday's 82-77 win over BYU. The eight lined games in the stretch have all gone in the Gaels' favor, each of those as 2-10 point chalk depending when a where your wager was made.
Now they're the underdogs and looking for their first win in Spokane since 2011. Carthey Athletic Center has turned into a Little Shop of Horrors the last three visits, especially from beyond the arc where the Gaels are a combined 13-for-60 (21.6%) in three consecutive losses.
'Dogs On Shooting Tear In Search Of 12th-Straight Win
Gonzaga (18-1 SU, 8-6-2 ATS) just saw a string of 7-straight 'overs' snapped in Saturday's 72-55 at Loyola-Marymount. That's despite the Bulldogs shooting better than 50% from the field for a fifth consecutive game -- and 14th time this season. The Zags top a list of a half-dozen teams hitting 50% or more on the field goal front, and the only team topping break-even in West Coast confrontations.
Being in 'tough games' as Bennett put it could have Saint Mary's primed for an upset, or at least an underdog cover with the Bulldogs having dropped three in a row at the window. I'm more interested in the total, however, and think the recent trend to the 'under' could be in line for an upset.
Series totals tend to be a little higher on Gonzaga's home floor, but if the number hangs 141 or lower, the 'over' is the way I'm leaning this time.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Over 141 at one of our top-rated sportsbook
Season: 23-26 (-5.60)