NCAAB Betting Guide for San Francisco vs. Gonzaga
Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Anton Watson (Gonzaga)
San Francisco vs Gonzaga Odds
|San Francisco Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Gonzaga had a heartbreaking road loss at Saint Mary’s on Saturday night, as the Bulldogs led by double digits in the second half and ultimately lost in overtime.
The Zags now have to run the WCC table and get help if they want to win the league and catch the Gaels in the standings.
That chase begins on Thursday night at home against San Francisco, a team that gave the Bulldogs a real scare early in league play.
The Dons lost both of their games last weekend — at Saint Mary’s and at home against Santa Clara — and will conclude their brutal scheduling stretch in The Kennel. San Francisco only lost by two at home to Gonzaga, but is now a 14-point road underdog in the rematch.
Gonzaga still has an elite offense — as always — but can the Dons score enough against the Bulldogs’ flawed defense to stay within the number?
San Francisco was able to remain competitive with Gonzaga in the first meeting because its pick-and-roll offense caused major problems for the Bulldogs’ defense.
The Dons are in the 86th percentile in Synergy usage of pick-and-roll roll man and 71st percentile in ball-handler usage.
First-year head coach Chris Gerlufsen loves to get the ball into Khalil Shabazz’s hands off PnRs, letting him make decisions to score or feed the ball down low. They’re quite efficient offensively there.
Saint Mary’s showed in the second half — and overtime — against Gonzaga just how vulnerable the Bulldogs’ ball-screen defense is. They’re below-average in guarding isolation and also below the 40th percentile in guarding the pick-and-roll.
Shabazz scored 17 points in the first meeting and also chipped in nine rebounds to help overcome the Bulldogs’ height advantage on the glass.
Another major key for the Dons is their ability to defend in transition. If you turn the ball over often and let Gonzaga run, you’re going to give up big scoring runs and easy paint looks at the rim.
But the Dons rank in the 91st percentile in transition defense this season and should be able to slow down Gonzaga enough from extending large margin.
Gonzaga’s interior defense was always going to take a step back this season when you consider it lost the best rim protector in the nation in Chet Holmgren.
But the more alarming drop-off has come from the Bulldogs’ perimeter defensive metrics this season. It’s a big reason why they’ve been overvalued in the market more often than not on a game-to-game basis.
The Bulldogs’ offense isn’t as elite as years past because their transition game isn’t as overwhelming. They’ve dipped from elite to average in that department, and the result is a great but not earth-shattering offense.
The defensive drop-off from the perimeter is remarkable when you look at the underlying stats, though.
Per ShotQuality, the Bulldogs are 343rd in average SQ allowed vs. 3-point attempts. Given that they’re playing a team that loves to shoot, that could be meaningful on Thursday.
SQ also has them 324th in the country and eighth in the WCC in pick-and-roll defense. Synergy also shows major flaws for them there, so San Francisco should be able to find success in this matchup.
Gonzaga should be plenty motivated and certainly could blow out San Francisco in this home spot off of a heartbreaking loss. But its defense still has major holes that will hurt its ability to get margin.
San Francisco vs Gonzaga Betting Pick
San Francisco shoots 3s at one of the highest rates in the entire country, which inherently makes it a very high-variance team.
If the Dons are hitting below their season averages, that leads to long rebounds and transition opportunities for Gonzaga to potentially blow them out.
But Gonzaga has a very flawed perimeter defense this season and will give plenty of open looks to the Dons in this game.
If the Dons can shoot just their average — or slightly better — they’ll slow down Gonzaga’s offense and keep this game within the 14 points, which is a point or two too high in my view.
The Dons have a solid transition defense and an above-average post defense to prevent Drew Timme from completely taking over the game.
I wouldn’t play this below 14, but at +14 or better, I’d bet the Dons to keep it competitive in The Kennel.
Pick: San Francisco +14 or Better
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