Gonzaga vs. Fairleigh Dickinson Betting Guide: Will Elevation, Overlook Be a Factor?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rui Hachimura and Darnell Edge
#1 Gonzaga vs. #16 Fairleigh Dickinson NCAA Tournament Betting Odds
- Spread: Gonzaga -28
- Over/Under: 152.5
- Time: Thursday, 7:27 p.m. ET
- TV: truTV
- Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
>> All odds as of Thursday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.
Fairleigh Dickinson won and covered the 16-seed play-in game against Prairie View A&M. Aided by 42% from 3-point range and dominant rebounding, the Knights will pick up and make the flight to Salt Lake City for the first round against No. 1 seed Gonzaga.
The top-ranked Bulldogs will have had nine days off when the NCAA tournament starts, unlike many other top seeds. A 60-47 upset loss to Saint Mary’s in the WCC Finals exposed a Zags team that shot 12% from 3-point range while being out rebounded 34-27.
Gonzaga should be well rested and motivated after that embarrassing loss. The committee was kind enough to put Florida State as the projected Sweet 16 matchup, a potential revenge game from last year’s tournament exit.
Can Fairleigh Dickinson Make This Interesting?
The Northeast Conference champions ride a nine-game winning streak into Salt Lake City with a strength of schedule of 339th. And there are a few advanced metrics that could make this game interesting from a betting perspective.
FDU is fifth in the country in 3-point percentage, and although the Knights don’t shoot from the arc that often, it is a weapon that can keep this game within covering range.
The Knights are close to the worst rebounding team in the nation, ranking 115th in offensive rebound percentage but a lowly 328th on the defensive side. But if the Zags have a weakness, it’s on the boards (128th overall in rebounding).
How to Beat Gonzaga
We have to assume Gonzaga will not shoot 12% from 3-point range like the WCC Championship against Saint Mary’s (though it’s worth noting that teams with great perimeter defense can stop Gonzaga, like Saint Mary’s, so mark that down for future rounds).
If there is a game for Gonzaga to get shooting back on track, it is against Fairleigh Dickinson, which ranks 215th against defending 3-pointers.
The Knights don’t have the athleticism to defend the Zags on the perimeter.
If you have listened to the Action Network Colleges podcast, I have singled this game out as an under spot.
Salt Lake City has an elevation over 4,000 feet, which has an affect even at the pro level for visiting teams going against the Utah Jazz or Denver Nuggets.
On the Gonzaga side of the ball, the Bulldogs will be playing a zone defense in the form of a 2-3 Syracuse or a 1-3-1 Baylor in their next game. I think Mark Few has spent the week preparing for a zone attack rather than Fairleigh Dickinson.
The first half and full game under should be considered.
As for the side, Fairleigh Dickinson does a few things that can get an inflated spread to the window. The Knights are 60th in the nation in free throw percentage, 115th on the offensive glass, and an average possession length on offense that ranks 260th translates to a lower scoring game.
I expect this number to steam, and Fairleigh Dickinson to potentially be on my card.
Collin’s Pick: Lean Under, Fairleigh Dickinson +27.5 or better
Action Network Projected Odds
Get point spreads for this game and every possible tournament matchup with our bracket simulator built by Sean Koerner, our Director of Predictive Analytics, a former oddsmaker and FantasyPros’ most accurate in-season fantasy football ranker from 2015-2017.
- Spread: Gonzaga -28
- Over/Under: 153
- Score vs. FDU: Gonzaga 90.5 | FDU 62.53
- Win Probability for Gonzaga-FDU: Gonzaga 99.3% | FDU 0.7%
Editor’s note: The opinions on these games are from the individual writer and are based on his research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.