College Basketball Odds & Picks for West Virginia vs. Gonzaga: Wednesday’s Live Betting Value on Bulldogs
Mike Tedesco/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Ayayi.
- In another big college basketball matchup on Wednesday, top-ranked Gonzaga takes on No. 11 West Virginia.
- Mark Few's squad might be one of the most talented offensive units in recent college basketball memory, but Bob Huggins-coached teams typically thrive with stellar defense.
- Check out Roberto Arguello's full betting analysis with updated odds below.
West Virginia vs. Gonzaga Odds
|West Virginia||+9 [BET NOW]|
|Gonzaga||-9 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+330 / -435 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||156.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 7 p.m. ET|
The 11th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers will clash Wednesday in Indianapolis with the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in a battle of unbeaten teams as part of the Jimmy V Classic.
The Mountaineers went 3-0 in last week’s Crossover Classic, sweeping South Dakota State, VCU and Western Kentucky. The Zags also boast two impressive wins on neutral courts, toppling Kansas and Auburn to start their season.
West Virginia poses a stiff challenge as a top-14 team in both offensive and defensive efficiency, per KenPom, but the Zags will ultimately have too much firepower and prevail in a competitive game.
West Virginia Mountaineers
The Mountaineers might have the best frontcourt in the country in twin towers Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe. Culver and Tshiebwe are incredibly strong and dominant on the glass, and they are a big reason why West Virginia ranks 10th with an offensive rebound percentage of 43%.
While college basketball fans have known about Culver and Tshiebwe, senior Gabe Osabuohien has emerged as a key player for West Virginia this season. At 6-foot-7 and 235 pounds, he played a key role in the Mountaineers’ win Saturday over Western Kentucky, when Culver and Tshiebwe were dealing with foul trouble. He stepped up and scored eight points while adding eight rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block and helped lead West Virginia back from a 10-point second-half deficit to win. If the Mountaineers beat the Zags, he has to have an impact.
The Mountaineers were a top-10 team in defensive efficiency last year (finishing third per KenPom), but this West Virginia team is elite because it has increased its offensive efficiency rating from 67th to 14th. The perimeter Mountaineers — Sean McNeil, Miles McBride and Taz Sherman — have all improved, giving West Virginia more firepower and also giving its big men more spacing to operate with on the interior.
The Bulldogs are as loaded offensively as any team in recent college basketball history. The Zags have an elite player at three different positions — point guard, wing and post — with Jalen Suggs, Corey Kispert and Drew Timme. These three have led Gonzaga by combining to score 68.5 points per game.
Suggs, a five-star freshman from Minnesota, has everything you could ever want in a point guard with his size, athleticism, vision and smooth shot. He faced Marcus Garrett, one of the best perimeter defenders in the nation, in his first college game against Kansas but still erupted for 24 points on 9-of-15 shooting with eight assists and just one turnover. Suggs will draw another tough defensive matchup with McBride Wednesday.
Kispert plays a valuable role in spacing the floor on the wing for Gonzaga. He’s the team’s best shooter, but he also is a crafty scorer off the dribble and makes timely off-ball cuts for easy baskets. In two games, Kispert has averaged 24 points and five rebounds per game. If the Zags win and cover, Kispert will need to be efficient.
After averaging 9.8 points and 5.4 rebounds as a freshman, Timme has taken his game to another level. He ranked in the 97th percentile among Division I players as a freshman by averaging 1.11 points per possession in set offense, per Synergy.
With more usage this year, Timme has shown that he can still be incredibly productive in a bigger role, as he has averaged 26.5 points and 8.0 rebounds through two games against good competition. He will have his hands full inside against West Virginia’s bigs, but if he can limit their offensive rebounding and force one or both into foul trouble, that will go a long way in helping the Zags win.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Gonzaga has three elite scorers in Suggs, Kispert and Timme. But it also boasts other auxiliary playmakers, including Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard and Joel Ayayi, both of whom have averaged more than 10 points per game before.
The Mountaineers present a tough matchup with two great bigs in Tshiebwe and Culver, and I expect them to give Gonzaga trouble on the interior. A year ago, I would have picked this Gonzaga team to win by double digits against West Virginia, but the growth of the Mountaineer perimeter players, along with Osabuohien’s emergence, gives me confidence that West Virginia will make this a competitive game.
While I lean toward West Virginia at +8.5 among options currently on the board, I don’t love the value with this pick because of Gonzaga’s explosive offensive ability. I believe the Mountaineers will challenge the Zags for the majority of the game, and consequently, there will be better value live betting this game as it goes back and forth in the first half.
Ultimately, I believe the Zags will prevail due to their plethora of offensive weapons. As long as Suggs isn’t overwhelmed by McBride and West Virginia’s press defense, I will target the Gonzaga moneyline live at -150 or better, or Gonzaga -3.5 or better at even money.
Pick: Gonzaga live moneyline at -150 or better.