West Coast Conference Tournament Betting – One to Buy, One to Sell

By Mike Rose

The Gonzaga Bulldogs just won at least a share of the West Coast Conference regular season title for the seventh straight season. They did so by rattling off six straight wins to close out the season which included a revenge dub at home against St. Mary’s in their home finale. Even so, I haven’t been sold on Mark Few’s team all season and put my money where my mouth was when the Gaels hosted them back on February 4 – a game they’d ultimately go on to win 78-70 in overtime which earned them a share of conference bragging rights.


Taking a look at the current bracket, St. Mary’s will run up against Portland, San Diego, BYU, or Loyola Marymount in the semis. Randy Bennett’s kids went 7-1 SU and 3-4-1 ATS versus those teams in the regular season with the lone defeat coming in the form of a 78-74 overtime loss at LMU. They beat the Lions 76-62 as 14-point home chalk in the first go-round. I think it’s pretty safe to assume Aidan Mahaney and Co. make it to the finals, so I recommend throwing a unit investment on them to win it at BetRivers Sportsbook. Take some of the cash we won backing the Gaels to win the regular season title – you’re welcome!


But what about the other side of the WCC bracket? No. 2 seeded Gonzaga will get to sit back and relax before taking on either Pacific, Pepperdine, San Francisco, or Santa Clara in the semis. Let’s dig into the current odds to win the MWC Conference Tournament and see if we can’t find the right team to back and fade to reach the finals!


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Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-3BUY: Santa Clara Broncos +2500


Herb Sendek did a tremendous job leading the Santa Clara Broncos to a 23-8 overall record which included being the only other team besides the Gaels and Zags to tally double-digit wins in conference play (11-5). The team invades Sin City red hot having rattled off seven straight wins which included a home win over LMU (71-69) and 81-74 handling of BYU on the road. The offense can fill it up evidenced by tickling the twine for better than 77 points per game. The 3-point shot is a huge aspect with it being converted at a 37.1 percent clip (No. 47).


While the defense leaves a bit to be desired with it serving up 73.0 points per game (No. 267), you can’t argue with the guard talent on this roster. Brandin Podziemski is the unit’s PTPer in averaging 19.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Carlos Stewart and Keshawn Justice round out the double-digit scorers with 15.1 and 13.4 points respectively. Every one of the Lions’ Bigs are seniors and has size for days! SC went 5-1 SU and 4-2 ATS versus Pacific, Pepperdine, and San Francisco in the regular season. Though it failed to log a win against either St. Mary’s or Gonzaga, it split both matchups ATS. If this team gets hot from deep, it can defeat any of the other eight teams in this tournament. That’s worth a half unit beer money investment at 25-1!


SELL: Gonzaga Bulldogs -155


What a slap in the face it is to the Gaels that Gonzaga enters this tournament the odds-on favorite to win it a fourth straight time. I get pedigree and all, but this year’s version of the Zags is by no means as dominant as prior editions. Because of it, I refuse to entertain the thought of laying chalk with them to be the last team standing. Yes, Drew Timme is one of the more dominant post players in the country, but the rest of the pieces around him are too hit or miss for my tastes.


On top of that, the Bulldogs sport a less than stellar defense that’s been ripped for nearly 74 points per game and ranks No. 88 in efficiency per the Pomeroy Ratings. While always a danger fading this club when the offense goes HAM, the late stages of this tourney will find the Zags taking on the best offenses the conference has to offer. On a neutral court and without “The Kennel” to help propel it to victory, Gonzaga will be ripe to go down!


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