Gonzaga vs. BYU Odds & Pick: How to Bet the West Coast Conference Championship (Tuesday, March 9)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Ayayi.
- Mark Few's undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs will look to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated by beating Mark Pope's BYU Cougars in tonight's WCC Tournament Championship.
- The Zags have dominated the Cougars by double-digits twice this season, and Mike Randle thinks it's bound to happen again.
- Check out Randle's full betting preview, complete with updated odds and two picks below.
Gonzaga vs. BYU Odds
|Moneyline||-1250 / +750|
|Time | TV||Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET | ESPN|
|Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via DraftKings.|
No. 1 Gonzaga has dominated throughout the season, earning a 25-0 record while averaging 92.9 points per game.
The Bulldogs finished the regular season undefeated and are just one win away from becoming the 20th team to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated.
Their last obstacle is conference rival BYU, which was the last team to defeat Gonzaga in the regular season. The Cougars beat the Bulldogs, 91-78, at home last season behind 44 combined points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists from Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws.
Both players have since graduated, but the Cougars have still fought their way to the WCC title game.
Will tonight’s final be another Gonzaga coronation, or can the Cougars pull the upset of the year and gain valuable momentum heading into the NCAA Tournament?
Gonzaga Bulldogs | (25-0, 15-0 WCC)
Mark Few’s Bulldogs have scored at an incredible pace with legendary efficiency. Gonzaga ranks first in the country with 64.2% team 2-point accuracy.
They shoot a solid 36% from beyond the arc and have one of the elite 3-point shooters in college basketball in forward Corey Kispert. The 6-foot-7 senior is among the nation’s leaders in 3-point accuracy, shooting a blistering 44.7% (68-of-152). He leads the team in scoring at 19.3 PPG while adding 4.9 RPG, and an overall field goal percentage of 55%.
Kispert’s marksmanship is balanced by super-frosh Jalen Suggs (14 ppg, 33.3% 3-point), Joel Ayayi (11.5 PPG, 38.2% 3-point), and 6-foot-10 sophomore Drew Timme (18.9 ppg).
Both Ayayi (6.9 rpg) and Timme (7.1 rpg) contribute directly to Gonzaga’s top-80 offensive rebounding percentage, per KenPom. Ayayi posted Gonzaga’s first-ever triple-double with 12 points, 13 rebounds, and 14 assists in a 116-88 win at Portland on Jan. 9.
Yet, Gonzaga’s greatest strength may be its depth.
Former Florida starting point guard Andrew Nembhard (9.5 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.5 APG) has been moved into the starting lineup after graciously accepting a role as a non-starter for most of the season.
Sophomore 6-foot-8 forward Anton Watson (7.3 PPG, 3.5 rpg) has maintained efficiency coming off the bench, with 11 points and two steals in the Zags’ 86-69 end-of-season win over Loyola Marymount.
The glaring issue in this matchup is that BYU doesn’t force turnovers, ranking dead-last in WCC play. The recipe for beating Gonzaga will not involve some type of defensive pressure.
Matt Haarms usually has an advantage over the opposing big man but will not against the All-American level of Timme. There aren’t enough advantages for the Cougars to exploit to keep this game close.
BYU Cougars | (20-5, 10-3 WCC)
BYU can still score from deep, leading the conference with 39.8% accuracy in WCC play.
Alex Barcello (15.7 PPG, 48.9% 3P), Brandon Averette (11.4 PPG, 36.4% 3P), Caleb Lohner (7.3 PPG, 36% 3P), and Trevin Knell (5.9 PPG, 45.1% 3P) can all heat up quickly, giving BYU the ability to stay competitive with the Zags’ offense.
The Cougars rely on Haarms, the 7-foot-3 Purdue transfer, to control the interior, with 11 points and 4.7 rebounds per-game averages.
The Cougars defense has actually improved, ranking 25th in adjusted defensive efficiency while holding opponents to just 45.2% from inside the arc. However, the Cougars struggled in both games against Gonzaga, trailing by 20 points with under 10 minutes left in both games.
BYU was fortunate to escape with an overtime win over Pepperdine in last night’s WCC semifinals after the Waves shot a miserable 18% (5-of-27) from 3P. Gonzaga shot 37% (15-of-41) from deep combined in their two meetings this year.
BYU will need a season-best game from its backcourt of Barcello (15.7 PPG, 48.9% 3P) and Averette (11.4 PPG, 3.7 APG, 36.4% 3P). They combined to average almost five turnovers per game, which cannot happen against the Zags tonight.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Few has done a remarkable job of resting his players all season in blowouts. With a title on the line, the Bulldogs will leave no doubt as to their dominance.
With the Cougars coming off a late-night overtime win, I expect the Bulldogs to get up quickly in this game. They led both prior games at the half by 23 and 10 points each. The Gonzaga -7.5 first-half line is very appealing.
BYU head coach Mark Pope is a fantastic strategist, but the talent discrepancy is too large here. I’m laying the 14 points with the Zags as they finish off an amazing season with yet another WCC Tournament title.
Pick: Gonzaga 1H -7.5 | Gonzaga -14 (Up to -15)