Texas vs. Gonzaga College Basketball Odds, Picks, Prediction: Betting Preview for Saturday’s Top-5 Matchup

Texas vs. Gonzaga College Basketball Odds, Picks, Prediction: Betting Preview for Saturday’s Top-5 Matchup article feature image

Jamie Squire & Ed Zurga/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Drew Timme (2) of the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Courtney Ramey (3) of the Texas Longhorns.

  • No. 1 Gonzaga hosts No. 5 Texas in what should be one of the most-anticipated college basketball games of the season.
  • The Longhorns will be the highest-ranked team to travel to the Zags' home floor.
  • Shane McNichol breaks down the duel and provides his best bet.

Texas vs. Gonzaga Odds

Saturday, Nov. 13
10:30 p.m. ET
Texas Odds
-114o / -106u
Gonzaga Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

The early portion of college basketball's opening week featured four blue bloods at Madison Square Garden and some surprising upsets.

That was just the appetizer because this weekend's slate is loaded with not one, but two, top-five matchups.

The second is the one I'm focusing on as No. 5 Texas makes the trek up to No. 1 Gonzaga in what should be one of the most-anticipated games of the non-conference slate.

So, where does the value lie, and how should we bet this game? Check out my preview and pick below.

Texas Longhorns

Some teams need several years to rebuild after a coaching change. The folks in Austin would laugh at that concept.

After Shaka Smart's exit, Texas made a splash hire, corralling Texas alum and rising star Chris Beard from in-state rival Texas Tech.

In Beard's six years as a Division I head coach, his teams have finished every season in the KenPom top 60, with four NCAA Tournament appearances (fifth cancelled by COVID) and nine NCAA Tournament wins. Beard's teams at Tech were in the top 20 of defensive efficiency four years in a row.

The Longhorns are tying their wagons to a proven success.

Some of the players from Smart's era remain, like guards Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey.

Beard also blitzed the transfer market, coming away with five of the top names in the portal over the offseason.

Devin Askew was up-and-down as a very young freshman at Kentucky but he has a bright future. Christian Bishop was a productive big for Creighton. Timmy Allen scored 17 points per game for Utah each of the last two seasons. Tre Mitchell accomplished the same at UMass.

Lastly, Marcus Carr scored over 1,300 points in his time at Pitt and Minnesota, dropping 17.4 points and 5.7 assists per game in his two years as a Gopher.

Beard's task is simple: assimilate all of these talented players into a cohesive unit, especially on the defensive end where his teams have always succeeded.

This early in the season, that goal may be lofty. By March, however, you'd be smart to bet on one of the nation's best coaches and this objectively talent rich team.

His primary test will come on the offensive end, where each of the Texas guards has shown streaks of inefficiency in the past, especially Carr and his shoot-first tendencies at Minnesota.

If Beard can solve that issue, there is no ceiling for this Texas team.

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Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Gonzaga doubters must be getting exhausted. Mark Few's program was once the plucky West Coast Cinderella but has gradually grown into the Big Bad Wolf in college basketball.

The Zags are on top of the AP Poll once again, fresh off their trip to the National Championship last season.

In the past, like every other mid-major, Gonzaga ebbed and flowed while developing its next crop of stars. Now, Few has his program ready to reload year after year.

The Zags lost top-five NBA draft pick Jalen Suggs. They replaced him with his former high school teammate and consensus top-five recruit Chet Holmgren. Holmgren is a wiry, endlessly long 7-footer, with a smooth jump shot and alarmingly proper guard skills for his size.

He slides in next to All-American Drew Timme, a near perfect fit. Timme's old school, back-to-the-basket game is complemented by Holmgren's ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim.

Andrew Nembhard is back to run the point and is flanked by Iowa State transfer Rasir Bolton in the backcourt. Add in a few more top-100 recruits and returning Zags, and you have the heavy favorite to cut down the nets in April.

Many will question Mark Few and his teams until they reach that final milestone. Throughout the regular season, however, bettors are well aware how dominant this program can be.

Texas vs. Gonzaga Betting Pick

This game will come down to one specific stylistic clash between the two teams.

Texas is driven by four guards who can create off the dribble. Carr, Jones, Ramey and Askew are all at their best when they are aggressively trying to get into the paint. If the Texas guards settle for jump shots, Gonzaga is more than happy to allow them to hoist contested jumpers.

Gonzaga saw a team built around slashing guards not too long ago. Last April, that is exactly how Baylor attacked the Zags in the National Championship. Time after time, Davion Mitchell and the Bears put Timme into ball-screen actions and made him defend at the point of attack.

Few tried every pick-and-roll coverage in his arsenal before settling into a zone.

We will see if Timme improved his lateral quickness and defensive instincts this summer, but more importantly, we will see the impact of Holmgren on the defensive end.

Timme scrambled against Baylor with no help behind him. Now? He has a 7-foot tall, elastic teenager to defend the rim behind him. Expect to see Timme hedging hard on ball screens, with Holmgren playing free safety behind him in the paint.

If the Texas guards can adapt and use the available space to move the Gonzaga defense and keep the Bulldogs on their heels, the Longhorns have a chance.

In Austin or at a neutral site, I'd expect that from Texas. In the Kennel, that's a different story.

In the last 10 years, only 14 power-conference teams have made the trip to Spokane. The Zags lost just two of those games, with an average margin of victory of nearly 14 points.

Both losses came in the 2016 season, when Gonzaga was just an 11-seed in March.

The Zags at their new level in the college basketball hierarchy aren't to be doubted, especially not in their home gym.

Gonzaga hasn't lost a home game since January of 2018 and only two teams have stayed within 7.5 points of the Zags in their building since that loss.

Pick: Gonzaga -7.5 (Bet up to -9)

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