College Basketball Odds & Picks for Iowa vs. Gonzaga: Betting Value on the Bulldogs
Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Corey Kispert.
- The stage is set in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Saturday for college basketball's biggest game of the year thus far between Gonzaga and Iowa.
- Luka Garza leads the way for the Hawkeyes against head coach Mark Few's balanced, deep Zags team.
- BJ Cunningham explains why he's backing the Zags to prevail below.
Iowa vs. Gonzaga Odds
|Iowa Odds||+4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Gonzaga Odds||-4.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+166/-198 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||169.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 12 p.m. ET|
Saturday’s meeting between Iowa and Gonzaga in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, is potentially the game of the year. Both offenses rank first and second, per KenPom, so this is bound to a high-scoring thriller.
Gonzaga has played one of the toughest non-conference schedules this season, but this will be its biggest test so far. Head coach Mark Few has perhaps the most talented roster in the country, with a mixture of experience and talented freshmen.
Gonzaga is the unquestioned top team in the nation, but can it shut down the college game’s best player?
Iowa has ultra-high expectations this season, with Luka Garza deciding to stay in Iowa City for his senior season.
Additionally, the Hawkeyes brought back their entire starting five and have one of the deepest, most experienced teams. They’ve cruised through their first six games of the season by lighting up the scoreboard, but this will be by far the toughest defense they’ve seen all season.
This is the best team Iowa has had in almost two decades.
The Hawkeyes’ success this season sits on the back of Garza, the preseason Wooden Award favorite. The 6-foot-11 forward has one of the best post arsenals in the game and can step out to knock down shots from anywhere. He’s been so good this season, averaging 29.2 points and shooting almost 70% from the field.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking Garza is Iowa’s only option. Joe Wieskamp is a dynamic scorer at small forward and could be a matchup problem for Gonzaga, as he is shooting 50% from deep thus far.
The Hawkeyes are going to win most of their games in the 80s and 90s. They’ve already scored over 90 points in each of their first six games, which has led them to overtaking Gonzaga for the No. 1 ranking on KenPom for offensive efficiency.
However, the problem for Iowa is going to be on the defensive end of the floor. Last year, Iowa was 97th in defensive efficiency and right around the NCAA average in effective field-goal percentage allowed, two-point field goal percentage allowed, turnover percentage and defensive rebound percentage.
So far, the Hawkeyes rank 75th in defensive efficiency and will likely get a rude wake-up call when they face the No. 2 offense in the country.
Replacing Filip Petrusev, the WCC Player of the Year, was always going to be difficult, but Few added even more talent to the Bulldogs roster. He secured his first top-15 recruiting class by getting five-star recruit Jalen Suggs to come to Spokane.
Suggs is only the cherry on top, because three starters are back from last year’s squad that finished second in the KenPom rankings.
Last season, Gonzaga was far and away the best offensive team in country, ranking inside the top in effective field-goal percentage, 2-point percentage and 3-point percentage. However, what’s perhaps even more impressive is that the Zags didn’t turn the ball over and crashed the glass at a ridiculous rate.
Gonzaga was 12th in turnover percentage and grabbed offensive rebounds on 33.6% of chances.
Similar to Iowa, if Gonzaga is going to cut down the nets in Indianapolis, they’ll need to improve on defense. The Zags came into the season as the 14th-ranked team in terms of defensive efficiency per KenPom, but have already given up 80-plus points to Kansas and West Virginia.
Iowa is going to be the best offense it faces all season, so for the Zags to win they’ll need to find a way to hold the Hawkeyes in check on the defensive side.
Betting Analysis & Pick
We were all robbed of Baylor-Gonzaga a month ago because of a positive COVID-19 test in the Zags’ program, but this has the potential to be the best game of the year. Both teams play incredibly fast in terms of tempo, which is why the total is set at 170.5 points.
I think Gonzaga’s defense will be the difference in this game. The Zags are a deeper team than Iowa and should be able to score at will on the Hawkeyes.
I have Gonzaga projected as a -4.75 favorite, so I think there is some value on the Zags at -2.5 at FanDuel. However, I would only play it up to -3 on the line.
Pick: Gonzaga -2.5 (up to -3).