College Basketball Odds & Picks for Gonzaga vs. Baylor: Saturday’s Betting Value on Over/Under
William Mancebo & John E. Moore III/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Corey Kispert (24) of the Gonzaga Bulldogs & Davion Mitchell (45) of the Baylor Bears.
- No. 1 faces No. 2 when Mark Few looks to improve to 5-0 in his career against Baylor on Saturday.
- The Bulldogs have already beaten Kansas and West Virginia, while Scott Drew’s team is coming off a big win over Illinois.
- Tanner McGrath lays out why he’s betting the under in what should be an exciting early-season clash.
Editor’s Note: Saturday’s Gonzaga vs. Baylor game has been canceled due to issues related to COVID-19.
Gonzaga vs. Baylor Odds
|Gonzaga Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Baylor Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-141 / +120 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||155.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 1 p.m. ET|
What a start to the college basketball season.
After a week-plus of very entertaining non-conference games, the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs face the second-ranked Baylor Bears Saturday afternoon.
Both teams enter this matchup 3-0, with Gonzaga already having two wins over KenPom top-10 teams (Kansas and West Virginia). Baylor looked very composed in its victory over Illinois on Wednesday, proving that Scott Drew’s club will be a force again this year.
It’s worth noting that in head-to-head matchups, Mark Few has outclassed Drew. Few’s Bulldogs are 4-0 against Drew’s Bears since 2006, with the most recent victory coming in the 2019 Sweet 16.
It will be tough to pick a side in this game. However, I see value in a play on the total.
The Bulldogs are an offensive juggernaut. They rank first in the nation in offensive efficiency per KenPom, 15th in effective FG% and fourth in 2P%. They scored 102 points against Kansas, 90 against Auburn and 87 against West Virginia.
Gonzaga also has three elite offensive weapons in Drew Timme, Corey Kispert and Jalen Suggs. Timme is averaging 23.3 points per game on 60.4% shooting while Kispert is averaging 22.3 points per game on 60.5% shooting and 45% shooting from 3. Additionally, Suggs scored 24 points and added eight assists in the Bulldogs’ opening day win against Kansas.
Suggs’ status for Saturday’s game is uncertain after suffering an apparent injury against West Virginia. He returned to the game after a trip to the locker room, but his contributions were limited down the stretch (four points on 2-for-6 shooting). The Bulldogs have reported the injury as an ankle sprain, and Suggs’ status will be important to monitor closer to tipoff.
The Bulldogs are 2-1 against the spread this season, easily covering against Kansas and Auburn but allowing West Virginia to sneak inside the 8.5-point spread.
All in all, they are still the clear favorites to cut down the nets in March.
Baylor might have the best backcourt in the nation. Jared Butler, MaCio Teague and Davion Mitchell are all talented two-way guards who excel at both scoring and passing the ball. Against Illinois, the trio combined for 38 points and 10 assists while collectively holding Ayo Dosunmu to 6-for-18 shooting.
Baylor is second in the nation in KenPom offensive efficiency, just lagging behind Gonzaga. However, Baylor has the edge defensively in this matchup.
Coming off a 2019-20 season where the Bears finished fourth in KenPom defensive efficiency, they currently rank eighth in that metric through three games. Drew’s no-middle defense, à la Chris Beard at Texas Tech, has been very effective since the start of 2019.
Baylor is missing Freddie Gillespie this season, but Mark Vital and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua have been more than adequate so far. Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn scored just seven points on four shots Wednesday night while adding only four rebounds.
Cockburn’s low rebounding total is not surprising. Baylor finished eighth in Offensive Rebound percentage last season and ranks fourth in that metric this season. The Bears out-rebounded Illinois 38-to-35 on Wednesday night — with 16 of those being offensive rebounds (to Illinois’ 11).
Baylor is a complete team that does everything well. The Bears are 3-0 against the spread and are one of only two teams that rank top-10 in both offensive and defensive efficiency (the other being Duke).
It’s early in the season, but the Bears already look like a NCAA tournament one-seed.
Betting Analysis & Pick
The No. 1 and No. 2 offenses are playing on a neutral court in the biggest game so far this year. Gonzaga has more offensive firepower than any team in recent memory and Baylor has three guards that all score at an elite level. The over is the play here, right?
I disagree, for a few reasons.
First, the Baylor defense is really good. The Bears have the defensive prowess to contain Kisper and Suggs (given he plays) on the perimeter. I would be worried about defending Timme inside, but the way Baylor dismantled Cockburn alleviates that worry.
Second, since 2005, there have been nine games between No. 1- and No. 2-ranked teams. Per our SportsInsights database, the under is 5-4 with two of those losses coming in games that went to overtime.
Over that same time span — in neutral court games where the closing total was between 145 and 180 — the under is winning at a 55% clip (851-696-17). If you had bet $100 on each of those games, you would be up almost $10,000.
Given Gonzaga and Baylor’s firepower, I believe the public will be betting the over. However, I think there’s value on the under in this spot.
Pick: Under 160 or better