Gonzaga vs. Baylor Betting Odds, Preview: The Bet to Make for Monday’s NCAA National Championship
Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: The Final Four logo at center court.
It’s rare for a national title to have real value for me. Lines just get so efficient by this point of the season. But the Baylor COVID-19 situation threw us a curveball we’ve never seen before and might not see again.
Prior to Feb. 1, I had Gonzaga and Baylor neck-and-neck in my power ratings as the clear two best teams in the country with a 5+ point gap over No. 3. Depending on the night of the week, if one of the two was in action, they may flip spots at the top. The point is the margin between them was negligible.
The Baylor COVID-19 situation led to a three-week pause in action. There were obviously struggles once they resumed play. You could just see they were a step slower on defense and the advanced efficiency metrics backed up the eye test.
What else is left to say about either team that hasn’t been said yet? This is 1 vs 1a. What we all wanted at the end of the tournament if you remove all biases and futures interest. This is the game.
The top-two seeds in the tournament facing off for all of the marbles will excite even the most casual sports fan, but this game is also so fascinating from a betting perspective. Why? Well, I think there is some real disagreement in the market about the difference between Baylor and Gonzaga.
You also might have some overreactions and recency bias influencing how people view these two teams after Saturday night. And that matters ahead of a game where public money can have a say given the volume.
For my money, Baylor has since fully recovered, winning all five of its tournament games by at least nine points. The defense is elite and so versatile, but it’s the seemingly unlimited number of perimeter shooters that makes the Bears especially scary.
Honestly, I think the only way you can beat this Gonzaga team is you have to match them offensively and then take it to the next level late.
UCLA almost did it on Saturday night.
Baylor is capable of doing it in the national championship on Monday.
I told myself I would not fade this Gonzaga juggernaut this tournament until the final when it could potentially meet Baylor. Well, that time has arrived.
Bottom line: I think Baylor is fully back and don’t think this line should be over 3. I found the 5 and hope you do too, but I can still recommend a smaller play on +4.5. I would be very hesitant to bet +4 and certainly wouldn’t go any lower.
Pick: Baylor +5 (Play to +4.5)