Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for March 17 NCAA Tournament Game (Expect a Defensive Battle)

Larry Rupp
Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU prediction, odds and betting insights for NCAA Tournament game.
Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU prediction, odds and betting insights for NCAA Tournament game. / AP Photos/Frank Franklin II

Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU Game Info

  • 2022-23 NCAA Tournament Game
  • No. 16 Saint Mary's (CA) (26-7) vs. VCU (27-7)
  • Date: Friday, March 17, 2023
  • Time: 2:00 PM ET
  • Venue: MVP Arena -- Albany, New York
  • Coverage: TBS

The 2023 NCAA Tournament continues on Friday with a thrilling Round of 64 matchup between the No. 12 VCU Rams and No. 5 Saint Mary's Gaels. VCU is back in the big dance for the first the 11th time in the last 13 tourneys, while Saint Mary's is making its 12th appearance in school history.

VCU is in the midst of a nine-game winning streak that was extended with a 68-56 win over Dayton in the A-10 Championship game. Meanwhile, Saint Mary's has won five of its last seven games, but fell short in a 77-51 loss to Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament. Which team will advance with a victory?

Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU Odds & Spread

Saint Mary's enters this contest as a moderate favorite on the moneyline and spread per FanDuel Sportsbook's odds. This 2 p.m. ET clash also features an over/under of 122.5 points, which is below average compared to Friday's projected totals.

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Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU Betting Trends

  • Saint Mary's (CA) has beaten the spread 17 times in 32 games.
  • The Gaels' ATS record as 3.5-point favorites or more is 14-13.
  • Out of 32 Saint Mary's (CA)'s games so far this year, 16 have gone over the total.
  • VCU's record against the spread is 18-16-0.
  • The Rams have two wins ATS (2-1) as a 3.5-point underdog or greater this season.
  • VCU has seen 14 of its 34 games hit the over.
Saint Mary's (CA) Rank Saint Mary's (CA) AVG VCU AVG VCU Rank
186th 71.4 Points Scored 71.4 186th
5th 60.1 Points Allowed 62.9 24th
129th 32.5 Rebounds 30.5 257th
123rd 9.1 Off. Rebounds 8 222nd
126th 7.8 3pt Made 6.1 310th
212th 12.6 Assists 13.2 164th
16th 9.6 Turnovers 12.8 271st

Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU Prediction & Pick

The NCAA committee did neither of these teams a favor by matching them up against one another. VCU and Saint Mary's play similar styles of basketball in that they rely on standout defense and shot-making to win. Neither team is afraid to slow the game down and take it one thought-out possession at a time.

It makes it hard to select a victor, but I find myself siding with Saint Mary's. VCU's best win on the season came against a Pittsburgh team that barely made the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels have beaten Gonzaga and lost by only five points to Houston. They have proven they can compete.

Saint Mary's has won each of its last five games as a favorite, so back the Gaels to advance here.

Final Score Prediction: Saint Mary's: 62 | VCU: 56

Saint Mary's (CA) vs VCU Best Bet

This game screams defensive battle. VCU and Saint Mary's each rank among the top 20 teams in points allowed per game (62.9 or less) and among the top 35 teams in opponent effective field goal percentage (47.0% or less). The Gaels average only 65.7 possessions per game (No. 346 in NCAA).

Fewer possessions and great defense point to a low-scoring game. The last four NCAA Tournament contests involving Saint Mary's have averaged 127.5 total points. The total has hit the under in 10 of VCU's last 14 games overall, too, so backing that trend to continue is the best way to go in this one.

Bet: Under 122.5 Total Points (-110)

Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.