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NCAAB-March Madness-Betting preview

San Francisco at No. 7 Gonzaga (ESPN, 9:00 p.m. ET)

Opening Odds: Gonzaga -13, Total 140 ½

Betting Matchup

San Francisco opened tournament play with a tight 71-70 overtime victory against Pacific as a three-point favorite. The total went OVER 136 points in that game after it had stayed UNDER in six of its previous eight games.

The Dons came in as the fourth seed with a straight-up 9-9 record in conference play. They only covered in eight of those 18 games, but they were a perfect 2-0 against the spread in two previous losses to Gonzaga closing as double-digit underdogs both at home and on the road.

Guards’ Jordan Ratinho (20 points) and Frankie Ferrari (17 points) led the way on Saturday with junior forward Matt McCarthy adding 14 points in the winning cause. San Francisco shot 46.7 percent from the field and it was 10-for-26 from three-point range.

On the year, the Dons have four players averaging at least 10 points per game as part of a team scoring average of 68.9. They have exceeded this average in five of their last six games. Defensively, they are allowing 67.8 PPG.

The Bulldogs have now won their last 12 games SU with Saturday’s 83-69 victory against Loyola Marymount. They failed to cover as 19-point favorites and the total went OVER the closing 149 ½-point line.

Gonzaga (28-4) has failed to cover in 11 of its last 14 games as part of a 12-18-1 record ATS overall. It is 2-3 ATS this season at a neutral site and 11-16-1 when closing as a favorite. The Bulldogs beat San Francisco by 10 points on the road in mid-January before posting a nine-point victory at home on Jan. 27.

Gonzaga took a one-point lead into halftime of Saturday’s game before pulling away down the stretch. The trio of Killian Tillie, Johnathan Williams and Zach Norvell Jr. combined to score 61 of the Bulldogs’ 83 points while adding 22 rebounds and five assists.

Williams has been the team’s leading scorer this season with 13.8 PPG and he is also pulling down a team-high 8.1 rebounds a game. Gonzaga is ranked ninth in the nation in scoring with an average of 84.7 PPG.

Betting Trends

–The Dons have failed to cover in four of their last five neutral-site games and the total has stayed UNDER in 20 of their last 28 games following a SU win.

–The Bulldogs are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games coming off a SU win and the total has gone OVER in their last four games played at a neutral site.

–Head-to-head, San Francisco has a 5-3 edge ATS in the last eight meetings and the total has gone OVER in seven of the last nine matchups.

BYU at No. 22 Saint Mary’s, CA (ESPN2, 11:30 p.m. ET)

Opening Odds: Saint Mary’s -5 ½, Total 136

Betting Matchup

The Cougars went 11-7 both SU and ATS in WCC play to earn the third seed in this tournament. They got past San Diego on Saturday 85-79 as 4 ½-point favorites to get a third shot this season at taking down the Gaels.

They lost the first meeting to Saint Mary’s at home by 10 points as two-point underdogs before getting beat by 13 points on the road as 8 ½-point underdogs. BYU has gone 2-4 ATS in its last six games and the total has gone OVER in eight of its last 10 contests.

For the third time to be the charm, the Cougars are going to need another huge effort from junior guard Elijah Bryant and sophomore forward Yoeli Childs after they combined to score 49 points in Saturday’s win.

These two have been the big guns all season with each player averaging 18 PPG. Childs leads the team in rebounds with 8.7 while connecting on 54.4 percent of his shots from the floor. Bryant is shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range. Overall, the Cougars have averaged 74.3 PPG.

Saint Mary’s was just one game back of Gonzaga in the final WCC standings at 16-2 SU with the road team winning each meeting SU and ATS. It failed to cover as a heavy 15 ½-point favorite in Saturday’s 69-66 squeaker against Pepperdine in its first tournament game. The Gaels are a costly 2-6 ATS in their last eight contests with the total staying UNDER or ending as a PUSH in their last 13 games. They have now failed to cover in three of four neutral-site games this season.

The Gaels trailed by five points at the half against Pepperdine and at one point that deficit was 15 points against a team that had won just two conference games all season long. Saint Mary’s ended the game with four of five starters in double figures led by sophomore guard Jordan Ford’s game-high 19 points.

Senior center Jock Landale added 17 points and 19 rebounds in the winning cause. The Gaels were able to connect of 50 percent of its 22 shots from three-point range to help pullout the win.

Betting Trends

–The Cougars have failed to cover in eight of their last 11 Monday games and the total has gone OVER in their last five games following a SU win.

–The Gaels are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games played on Monday and the total has stayed UNDER in their last four games against a team with a SU winning record.

–The favorite in this WCC clash has covered the spread in 10 of the last 11 meetings and the total stayed UNDER in the last four matchups.

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