College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for Gonzaga vs. San Francisco (Thursday, February 24)
Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Timme (Gonzaga)
- After losing to Portland, San Francisco is desperate for a massive quality win over Gonzaga to drastically help its NCAA Tournament resume.
- This is the smallest number the Zags have been favored by since the beginning of December against Alabama.
- Our analyst explains why this number feels too low and why he's backing the Zags below.
Gonzaga vs. San Francisco Odds
-110o / -110u
|San Francisco Odds|
-110o / -110u
Gonzaga continues to be a juggernaut, much to the chagrin of the extremely vocal minority that thinks the Bulldogs are frauds. Mark Few’s squad has ripped through league play, though it’s 0-2-1 against the number in its last three games.
Of note: this is only Gonzaga’s fifth road game of the season. It won at BYU by 33 and at Santa Clara by 32, though, so it’s not like leaving Spokane scares this team. This is, however, the Bulldogs’ toughest road game of the year.
Meanwhile, San Francisco is up against it. Dropping a Quad 4 game to Portland at home has made the Dons’ NCAA case tenuous. They remain in 128 of 132 brackets at BracketMatrix.com, but they are basically out of key win opportunities.
The one exception to that is this game. To feel comfortable on Selection Sunday, San Francisco likely needs to take down the top team in the country.
As mentioned, Gonzaga has not covered in its last three games. Of course, that means the Bulldogs have “only” won by 16, 20 and 12, and two of those games were against top-100 foes. Gonzaga just operates at a different level of expectation.
A huge part of why Gonzaga has elevated to another stratosphere: Chet Holmgren. The spindly freshman has emerged as the star that his recruiting pedigree implied, dominating on both ends of the court.
Perhaps no stat better demonstrates Holmgren’s dominance than the following. He leads the entire WCC in block rate — OK, no surprise, look at his arms — and 3-point percentage.
He’s making two triples per game in league play, so it’s not like he’s barely taking any. That’s a ludicrous combination and what inspires labels like “unicorn.”
Elsewhere, Gonzaga is the usual offensive terror. The Bulldogs have the shortest average possession length in the country, indicating their propensity to get quick shots in transition. If you cannot force the Bulldogs to play in the half-court, they will rack up points.
In such a desperate position, San Francisco is fortunate to be able to count on a magnificent trio of guards.
Super senior Jamaree Bouyea is the maestro, a calm and steady presence who never leaves the floor. He played his worst game of the season at Saint Mary’s last Thursday, but a dud like that is extremely rare for Bouyea.
Expect him to go toe-to-toe with Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard, a terrific lead guard in his own right.
The difference could be the play of Khalil Shabazz, a bolt of lightning-esque scorer, and Gabe Stefanini, a tough shot-maker. Both players have played outstanding lately, particularly in that SMC loss in which they combined for 45 points.
If the Dons can get Bouyea, Shabazz and Stefanini to all play well on the same night, they can keep this close.
It’s no Gonzaga frontcourt, but San Francisco also has some depth and physicality to contend with Holmgren and Drew Timme. Yauhen Massalski has battled Gonzaga for five years now (first four at San Diego) and Patrick Tape, Josh Kunen and Zane Meeks provide plenty of other options.
Gonzaga vs. San Francisco Betting Pick
Under Todd Golden, San Francisco has played Gonzaga as well as anyone. The Dons nearly pulled the upset twice in 2020, losing by four at home and again at the conference tournament. Earlier this year, they were tied in Spokane early in the second half before the Zags broke the game open.
The Dons should once again have a strong game plan here. Unfortunately, a game plan is rarely enough against a juggernaut like Gonzaga.
Holmgren’s rim protection forces opponents to consistently make jump shots. San Francisco went cold early in the first half in Spokane, leading to a nine-minute span in which the Dons tallied just two points.
This is the smallest number Gonzaga has been favored by since Dec. 4. For those who may not remember, that was when Alabama smacked the Zags in Seattle. Since then, it’s been 16 straight games as a double-digit favorite.
As much as I respect this San Francisco squad, this just feels too low to me. A motivated Gonzaga team can dominate its competition, and against one of the other top WCC squads, I’d guess Few will have his guys locked in.
I considered the under — I think San Francisco will try to slow this game down — but I prefer Gonzaga ever so slightly.
I’ll lay up to -11 as the Zags continue their march towards the NCAA Tournament’s top overall seed.