Gonzaga opened as a 6-point favorite over Saint Mary’s, but wiseguy action on the underdog has caused bookmakers to lower the line to 4½ as of 3 p.m. Monday for the West Coast Conference tournament title game scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at The Orleans.
“The market is bigger than your action. There’s a ton of public action on Gonzaga. Don’t let the line fool you,” Westgate sports book manager Ed Salmons said. “The public’s all over Gonzaga. It’s one of the bigger bet games. The public really knows both these teams well, but there’s decent money on Saint Mary’s with the wiseguys.
“We just took a decent-sized Saint Mary’s money-line bet.”
The Bulldogs (31-1 straight up, 21-7-1 against the spread), who have won the past four conference tournament titles, swept the season series from the Gaels (28-3, 16-10 ATS), cruising to a 79-56 win as 5-point home favorites Jan. 14 and covering as 4-point road favorites Feb. 11 in a 74-64 win.
Gonzaga was on a 17-2-1 ATS run before losing three of its past five games ATS, including Monday’s 77-68 win over Santa Clara as a 23½-point favorite.
Saint Mary’s is 5-1-1 ATS in its past seven, crushing Brigham Young 81-50 on Monday as an 8-point favorite.
Handicapper Bernie Fratto (Berniefratto.com), an ESPN Radio host, likes the Zags to win by 10.
“The first time they played them at home, Gonzaga put on an offensive clinic, shooting 65 percent from the field and 54 percent behind the arc. If you’ve ever been to the West Coast Conference tournament, it’s like a home game for Gonzaga,” Fratto said. “Saint Mary’s doesn’t match up well. They’ll have to double-team (Prezemek) Karnowski. I do think Saint Mary’s will put up a fight, but Gonzaga will pull away in the end and win by 10.”
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