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College Basketball Picks

Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Analysis and Prediction

In the most high-profile NCAA basketball games today, the No. 6 Baylor Bears will play the No. 14 Gonzaga Bulldogs at 8 p.m. ET Friday at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

While this game doesn’t count toward Gonzaga Bulldogs’ standings in conference play, their nonconference NCAAB schedule has been chalked full of tough games against ranked opponents designed to help them in the NCAA Tournament.

It gives those making Baylor vs Gonzaga picks plenty of data points as each team has played tough college basketball teams before conference play, in theory making their league games easier.

Baylor knows that well, suffering a 96-70 loss at Marquette on Tuesday. The Zags have wins against Kentucky and Michigan State but blowout losses to Purdue and Texas.

Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Odds

NCAAB odds show Gonzaga is favored by 1.5 points with an over/under of 162 points, which is down from an opening of 165. Baylor Bears odds are +100 to Gonzaga’s -120 on the moneyline.

Matchup Information

  • Date: Friday, December 2nd, 2022
  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Venue: Sanford Pentagon
  • Location: Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • How to Watch: Peacock

Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Preview

Baylor Bears Preview

Baylor (5-2) has one of the best offenses in college basketball. The Bears rank seventh in scoring 88.1 points per game.

They are 18th in converting 50.3% of field goal attempts and 45th in making 38.4% of 3-pointers.

However, they are below average defensively. The Bears rank 253rd in allowing opponents to score 71.7 points per game.

Baylors’ Defense

They are 306th defensively, allowing teams to make 45.8% of field goals, and 348th at defending on the perimeter, allowing opponents to make 39.6% of 3-pointers.

Despite the high pace of play, there aren’t a lot of rebounds to go around. Baylor pulls in 31.4 per contest, ranking 241st. The Bears’ opponents only grab 25.6, which ranks ninth nationally.

Part of that is tough news to the college basketball injury report when Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua, a key member of the frontcourt, was ruled out with a season-ending knee injury before the season even began.

Lineup Breakdown

It’s left a guard-heavy roster that is not short on talent. LJ Cryer is one of the top basketball players in the country and is scoring 17.9 points to go with 1.3 steals per game.

Adam Flagler is among the best college basketball players in the country, making 54.2% of 3-point attempts while averaging 16.9 points, 6.9 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.

Keyonte George is the final scorer in double figures, averaging 14.4 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.9 rebounds per game.

The frontcourt is bolstered by Jalen Bridges, Caleb Lohner – who has a team-best 5.0 rebounds per game – and Flo Thomba.

This season the Bears are 3-4 against the spread and 6-1 on over/unders. They are 1-1 on neutral courts. This will be their first game as underdogs. They are 1-2 against the spread at night and 1-1 on a neutral court.

It’s been an up-and-down season so far for the Bears, who had a trio of easy wins before a seven-point loss to Virginia, followed by a five-point win against UCLA – both on neutral courts.

But Scott Drew has built up a program that has staying power and expects to contend for conference championships and NCAA tournament berths.

Gonzaga (5-2) is built similarly to its counterparts. The Bulldogs are 23rd in scoring 83.7 points per game and sixth at making 51.8% of field goals.

Their 40.7% 3-point percentage is the 14th best in the country. Should the game come down to free throws, the Bulldogs rank 73rd at converting 74.0% of their freebies?

Defensively, of course, it is a different story. The Bears rank 331st in allowing 76.7 points per game, but more troubling is the defensive efficiency due to the fast pace Gonzaga likes to play.

They are 255th in allowing teams to make 44.3% of field goal attempts and 240th in allowing 34.7% of 3-point shots to go in.

Gonzaga Bulldogs Preview

Gonzaga is 128th in grabbing 34.1 rebounds per game but allows 29.7 per game, which is 118th defensively.

The coach’s son, Joe Few, is out indefinitely due to undisclosed reasons, and Kaden Perry is out indefinitely with a back injury.

Lineup Breakdown

The Bulldogs returned All-American Drew Timme, who is leading the way averaging 20.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game.

Guard Julian Strawther is next at 14.1 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds per game. He also makes 45.1% of 3-pointers. Rasir Bolton averages 13.0 points per game and makes 45.5% of his 3-pointers.

Gonzaga is 2-5 against the spread and 5-2 on over/unders this season. The Bulldogs are 4-1 on a neutral court.

They are also 1-3 against the spread as favorites, though this is the smallest spread they have faced. They are 1-4 against the spread on a neutral court and 1-3 against the spread at night.

Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Pick and Prediction

Those making Baylor vs Gonzaga picks may have shades of the 2021 national championship game when Baylor was dominant from tip-off to the final buzzer.

However, these two teams are very different as Baylor sent several players to play professionally, as did Gonzaga.

The systems the coaches place on their teams are very similar, though. It is what allows them to be atop their respective college basketball standings on the regular.

Though there are still nonconference tests upcoming for both teams, this is the marquee matchup remaining on their respective schedules.

The public Baylor vs Gonzaga picks heavily favor the Bulldogs, with 77% of public bets on them to cover the 1.5 points. Another 60% are taking the over.

That seems to be a good play with how the two teams mirror each other with great offenses yet bad defenses. 

In Gonzaga’s four games against Power Five teams, two have gone over (Kentucky 155, Texas 144.5), and two have gone under (Michigan State 142, Purdue 153).

Meanwhile, both of Baylor’s Power Five games have gone over (Virginia, 132.5, UCLA, 147).

Who to Bet On?

There are a lot of points to get to the over, and with both teams having to travel to South Dakota, including Baylor, after playing in Wisconsin, we’ll go under 162.5, even with it riding under, because of the unfamiliarity of the venue. 

We also like the Bulldogs to cover -1.5 because of Timme and no answer from Baylor’s post. Regardless, these are two great NCAA basketball teams that will put on a show tonight.

NCAAB Pick: Gonzaga -2.5 (-110)

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