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New Mexico vs Saint Mary’s Odds, Picks & Predictions for Nov. 9

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in College Basketball

Updated Nov 9, 2023 · 5:37 AM PST

Saint Mary's Gaels guard Aidan Mahaney and forward Josh Jefferson chest-bumping
March 6, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Saint Mary's Gaels guard Aidan Mahaney (20) and forward Josh Jefferson (5) celebrate against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half in the semifinals of the WCC Basketball Championships at Orleans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Two top-50 teams tangle in Moraga when the New Mexico Lobos visit the #23 Saint Mary’s Gaels
  • The Gaels were 16-2 on their homecourt last year, including wins over Gonzaga and North Texas, but lost to the Lobos
  • See the New Mexico vs Saint Mary’s odds, picks, and predictions for Thursday, Nov. 9

An under-the-radar game between two of the country’s best mid-majors is on tap tonight as the New Mexico Lobos (22-12, 16-15-2 ATS) visit the #23 Saint Mary’s Gaels (27-8, 20-14 ATS) at University Credit Union Pavilion in Moraga, CA, at 7 pm PT/10 pm ET.

Both teams opened their seasons with cupcake wins on Monday, but tonight brings an early chance to pad their NCAA Tournament resumes, especially for New Mexico, which doesn’t play another top-100 team until its Mountain West schedule begins.

The New Mexico vs Saint Mary’s point spread for tonight’s game favors the Gaels by a handful.

New Mexico vs Saint Mary’s Odds

Team Point Spread Moneyline Total
New Mexico Lobos +4.5 (-105) +180 O 142.5  (-110)
Saint Mary’s Gaels -4.5 (-115) -223 U 142.5 (-110)

The Gaels are currently 4.5-point home favorites and -223 on the moneyline in Thursday’s NCAA basketball odds. The Lobos come back as +180 road underdogs. The over/under is sitting at 142.5 with -110 odds both ways.

The broadcast will be carried by ESPN Plus. (Reminder that ESPN Bet launches next Tuesday, Nov. 14.)

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Saint Mary’s (+5933 on average) is just inside the top-30 favorites in the early odds to win March Madness. Despite sitting in the top 50 at KenPom, Haslametrics, and the Torvik ratings, New Mexico is not considered a top-50 favorite by oddsmakers.

Thursday’s game will be a contrast in styles. Saint Mary’s finished last season with the fifth-slowest tempo out of 363 DI teams, while New Mexico played at the 17th-fastest pace.

Saint Mary’s Returns Majority of 27-Win Team

The Gaels lost senior guard and leading scorer Logan Johnson (14.5 PPG, 3.6 APG) but they retained their other top-five scorers while adding impact transfer Mason Forbes from Harvard. Their season-opening rout of Cal St. Stanislaus, a DII team, was indicative of the scoring-by-committee approach we’re likely to see all year. Six Gaels scored in double-figures, led by 19 from Forbes off the bench.

Saint Mary’s is coming off an extremely good season by any standard, not just WCC benchmarks. The Gaels went 27-8 overall and earned a #5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After a 63-51 win over #12 VCU in the round of 64, they bowed out to eventual national-champion UConn (70-55) in the second round. During the 2022-23 season, they chalked up wins over Gonzaga (78-70 home) and national-runner-up San Diego State (68-61 neutral), plus an absolute demolition of North Texas (63-33 home), a team that finished the year rated 31st at KenPom.

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Sophomore guard Aidan Mahaney is considered an outside contender in the Wooden Award odds for national player of the year, currently listed at +6500 on the DraftKings Sportsbook app.

Perhaps burying the lede, one of Saint Mary’s two home losses last season came against New Mexico (69-65). The other was at the hands of Colorado State (62-60), another Mountain West team. Last year’s loss to the Lobos was all the more inexplicable for Saint Mary’s given the fact that they started the game on a 15-4 run.

New Mexico Needs to Replace a Lot of Faces

On the one hand, the Lobos are in an enviable position, returning two-guard Jamal Mashburn Jr (19.1 PPG, 3.2 RPG) and point guard Jalen House (16.9 PPG, 4.7 APG), their two leading scorers from last season. On the other hand, third-leading scorer and leading rebounder Morri Udeze (16.4 PPG) graduated while Josiah Allick (8.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG) and KJ Jenkins (7.4 PPG, 43.6% from three) both transferred.  Coach Richard Pitino brought in 6’10 center Nelly Junior Joseph (14.9 PPG, 9.3 RPG) from Iona to help replace the big bodies of Udeze and Allick, but it remains to be seen how effective the new-look Lobos are on the glass with so much frontcourt turnover.

There wasn’t any lack of chemistry in the team’s opener against Texas Southern. New Mexico started the game on a 16-2 run and cruised to a 92-55 victory. The Tigers never got within six points and the lead was at least 14 points throughout the second half. Pitino spread out the minutes during the rout and 11 different players had at least four points. Mashburn led the team with 15 in just 27 minutes.

Last year’s Lobos team started the season on a 14-0 run, including the aforementioned win at Saint Mary’s, before limping to an 8-12 finish. While their final 20 games included quality wins over San Diego State (76-67 away) and Boise State (81-79 home), it also featured ugly setbacks to Fresno State (71-67 away), Air Force (89-77 away), and a true head-scratcher at home to Wyoming (70-56), the MW’s last-place team.

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New Mexico vs Saint Mary’s Predictions

These teams were trending in opposite directions at the end of last season, and the Lobos are dealing with significantly more roster turnover than the Gaels. As mentioned, Saint Mary’s started last year’s contest on a 15-4 run and looked like the dominant home team they’ve become in recent years. Their defensive breakdowns throughout much of the final 30 minutes was unexpected and uncharacteristic for a group that finished 10th at KenPom in defensive efficiency.

Don’t expect a repeat performance from largely the same roster this time around. The Gaels will get their revenge.

New Mexico vs Saint Mary’s pick: Saint Mary’s Gaels -4.5 (-115)

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