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How to bet No. 5 Saint Mary’s vs No. 12 VCU in the NCAA Tournament

Alex Ducas

Alex Ducas

Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Vaughn Dalzell breaks down how to bet the No. 5 Saint Mary’s Gaels versus the No. 12 VCU Rams in the NCAA Tournament.

VCU vs. Saint Mary’s (-5): O/U 122.5

VCU has been my Cinderella all season and we will not stop here.

The Rams get the No. 12 seed versus the Saint Mary’s Gaels, who come in as a No. 5 seed. VCU and Saint Mary’s matchup well in what should be a offensive struggle (total is 122.5).

VCU ranks No. 17 in adjusted defensive efficiency and No. 6 in defensive turnover percentage, while Saint Mary’s is No. 9 in efficiency and defensive rebounds at the second-best rate in the country.

Both teams have similar height in the starting lineup but there’s one area that catches my attention.

VCU scores a majority of its points from two (52.6%, 116th) and the free-throw line (21.8%, 24th), while Saint Mary’s permits 53.5% of its points to come from two (85th) and 19.6% of points from the charity stripe (104th).

VCU will attack those two areas as they are a physical team that won’t rely on threes unless they have to. VCU will rely on pressure and forcing turnovers. Saint Mary’s turned the ball over 22 times in the past two games.

VCU won 11-straight road and neutral court games compared to Saint Mary’s who is 3-3 in the past six.

There is upset potential here for the No. 12 seed, so give VCU +5 down to +3.5. We will sprinkle the ML at +175 down to +140.

Pick: VCU +5 (1u), VCU ML (0.25u)

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