Alex Ducas gestures after a bucket

St. Mary’s guard Alex Ducas (44) in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin at the Maui Invitational in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

  • Saint Mary’s is a 1.5-point favorite over San Diego State on Friday, December 17th at the Jerry Colangelo Classic at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Both of these teams rank top-20 in the country in scoring defense
  • Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction

If you like fast paced, high scoring basketball you might want to sit out the Saint Mary’s vs San Diego State contest on Friday (Dec. 17). The two defensive minded teams are set to square off at the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix, Arizona in a game with an extremely low total.

Saint Mary’s vs San Diego State Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Saint Mary’s Gaels -125 -1.5 (-110) O 117.5 (-110)
San Diego State Aztecs +105 +1.5 (-110) U 117.5 (-110)

Odds as of Dec. 16th at FanDuel.

The over/under opened at just 117.5, while the Gaels are a short 1.5-point favorite. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 pm ET at the Footprint Center, with Saint Mary’s looking for their fifth win in six games.

Saint Mary’s Gaels Betting Analysis

The Gaels enter play fresh off back-to-back wins. Last time out they routed Division II program Stanislaus State 76-39, and prior to that they beat up UC Santa Barbara 80-59.

Matthias Tass led the way versus the Gauchos with 22 points, on 10-of-11 shooting. Alex Duras added 12, while two other Saint Mary’s players also reached double-figures.

The Gaels shot 51.7% from the field, and 47% from three, which is well above their season average in both categories. They finished plus-13 on the glass, and plus-12 in the assist department, which is again a bit of an outlier.

For the season, Saint Mary’s ranks 218th in points per game, and 139th in three-point efficiency. They’re not a dominant team on the glass, ranking 234th in total rebounding, and fall outside the top-100 in assists.

Defense is their calling card, and was once again versus UCSB. They held the Gauchos to 44.9% from the field, and 27.3% from three, while forcing 15 turnovers and racking up 10 steals.

The Gaels rank 20th in the country in scoring defense, and 40th in opponent field goal makes. They’re yielding only 4.9 three’s per game, while allowing the second fewest assists per contest in the nation (7.6).

San Diego State Aztecs Betting Analysis

The Aztecs meanwhile, have alternated wins and losses in their last four outings, with both defeats coming versus ranked opponents. Last time out, they took down Cal State Fullerton 66-56, led by a trio of seniors.

Guard Matt Bradley led the way with 22, while fellow seniors Trey Pulliam added 15, and Adam Seiko poured in 11. San Diego State features five upperclassmen in their starting lineup, four of which are seniors.

The Aztecs shot 45.3% versus the Titans, and 44.4% from three, numbers which exceed their season averages. They won the rebounding and assist battle, while playing lock down defense – like they typically do.

They held Cal State Fullerton to 38.9% from the field, while racking up 11 steals, and forcing 16 turnovers. San Diego State ranks 19th in scoring defense this season, and is holding opponents to the 17th lowest effective field goal percentage in the country.

Offensively, their performance versus the Titans appears to have been an outlier. This is a team that ranks 283rd or worst in points per game, effective field goal percentage, three-point efficiency, and assists.

St. Mary’s vs San Diego State Pick

The Aztecs have cleared 68 points only twice all season, and both of those contests were versus teams ranked outside the top-125. That kind of offense won’t win you many games, unless you have an elite defense – which they do. San Diego State has yielded more than 70 points once all season, while holding four of its past five opponents below 60 points.

Not to be outdone, Saint Mary’s has held eight of its 12 opponents below 60 points, while clearing 67 points themselves just once in their past seven matchups versus DI programs.

Not surprisingly, the under has dominated in both of these teams’ outings so far. Seven of nine Aztec games have failed to clear the number, as have eight of the Gaels’ 11 contests.

Another reason to expect a low scoring affair is the slow pace at which both teams play at. San Diego State ranks 290th in tempo, while Saint Mary’s ranks 316th in tempo, and 310th in average possession length.

Pick: Under 117.5 (-110)

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Chris Amberley

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