The NCAA tournament continues with first-round games on Friday, March 17, and here you can take a look at the best Rams vs. Gaels betting pick and odds.

VCU will meet St. Mary’s at MVP Arena in Albany, NY, in the first round of the NCAA tournament. The Gaels are 4-point favorites on BookMaker Sportsbook, while the total is set at 122 points. These non-conference rivals will face for the first time since 2017. The winner of this game will face UConn or Iona in the next round.

Rams beat Dayton to win the Atlantic 10 title

The No 12. VCU Rams (27-7, 17-15-2 ATS) concluded the regular season with six consecutive wins and then defeated Davidson, St. Louis, and Dayton to win the Atlantic 10 title. It was the Rams’ first Atlantic 10 tournament title since 2015 and it was a fully deserved one as they limited the Dayton Flyers to 20 points in the second half to celebrate a 68-56 victory. VCU kept Dayton to 32.1% from the field and made eight three-pointers opposite the Flyers’ three, while the Rams were also better in assists (17-11).

Junior guard Adrian Baldwin Jr. led the Rams with 16 points and game-high seven assists. Jalen DeLoach posted a double-double of 13 points and team-high ten rebounds along with two blocks, while Jamir Watkins chipped in 13 points and eight boards off the bench.

Gaels were destroyed by Gonzaga in the WCC final

The No. 5 St. Mary’s Gaels (26-7, 17-13-2 ATS) shared a regular-season title with the Gonzaga Bulldogs and beat the BYU Cougars in the WCC tournament semifinal, but the Zags dismantled them in the final. The Gaels scored just 19 first-half points and were miserable from the floor (33.3%) in a massive 77-51 defeat to Gonzaga. St. Mary’s made four triples opposite the Bulldogs’ eight, while Gonzaga was better in assists (17-8).

Senior guard Logan Johnson led the Gaels with a game-high 20 points, four rebounds, and two steals. Alex Ducas added ten points and team-high seven boards, but the rest of the players finished the game in single digits. St. Mary’s bench contributed only seven points, all seven scored by Josh Jefferson, while Gonzaga’s scored 28.




St. Mary’s:

  • 12-1 ATS in the last 13 games following a straight-up loss
  • 16-4-1 ATS in the last 21 games following an ATS loss
  • 6-1 ATS in the last seven games following a double-digit loss at home
  • 4-1 ATS in the last five neutral site games

VCU Rams vs. St. Mary’s Gaels Pick

Interestingly, both teams have identical offenses when it comes to points per game this season as both average 71.4 ppg. St. Mary’s defense has been a bit stronger; the Gaels allow 60.1 points per contest, which is the fifth-best D in college basketball, while the Rams also have a solid defense as they concede 62.9 ppg. I am giving a slight advantage to the Gaels because of that rock-solid defense, and also because they are coming from a stronger and more competitive conference. Logan Johnson, Aidan Mahaney, and Alex Ducas will lead their team to the second round. Mahaney shot just 2-8 from the floor and scored seven against Gonzaga, so I expect him to bounce back here.

Pick: Take the Gaels at -2.5 (-133)

The Total

The reason for such a low total offered by the bookies is clear – both defenses have been fantastic this season. However, this is a chance for the Over bettors, such as myself, to take it and make some profit. St. Mary’s allowed 69+ points in the last three games, and even though two of them were against Gonzaga, I think VCU can score at least 60 here. The Gaels scored 62+ in each of their previous ten games. Over is 6-1 in the Rams’ last seven NCAA Tournament games; Over is 4-1 in the Gaels’ previous five games following an ATS loss, while Over is 8-3 in St. Mary’s last 11 neutral site games.

Pick: Go Over 120.5 points (-133)