Gonzaga vs. BYU Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide

Gonzaga vs. BYU Odds, Picks | College Basketball Betting Guide article feature image

Pictured: Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Malachi Smith. (Photo by Oliver McKenna/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

  • BYU hosts Gonzaga in a matchup between teams that like to push the pace.
  • Our analyst feels that lends value to the total and explains his position below.
  • Continue reading for D.J. James' pick and analysis.

Gonzaga vs. BYU Odds

Thursday, Jan. 12
9:30 p.m. ET
Gonzaga Odds
-114o / -106u
BYU Odds
-114o / -106u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

Thursday night is West Coast Conference night. The BYU Cougars host the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a classic late-night West Coast matchup. Gonzaga has rattled of nine straight victories and is undefeated in WCC play. BYU has wins over Pacific, Portland and San Diego but dropped a crucial game to Loyola Marymount last week.

The Bulldogs are one of the quickest-paced teams in the country, ranking 39th in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom. The Cougars rank 54th. Gonzaga’s main issue this season has been defense as it ranks 73rd in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency. BYU is the polar opposite, ranking 172nd in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, but 28th in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency.

That said, the Cougar fouls a ton on defense and allow teams to control the pace. The over should be in play from the tip.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga has the fourth-rated offense in the country (again, KenPom). It shoots 37.3% from deep and 56.8% from two-point range. The Bulldogs tend to get the ball inside and work through Drew Timme manufacturing 56.5% of their points from inside the arc.

BYU is only giving up a two-point field goal percentage of 45.6%, but teams are getting 32.5% of their points on twos off of the Cougars. This means there should still be opportunities for the Zags to produce inside.

The Zags are also going to get open looks outside. Opponents are shooting 33.1% on the Cougars. The Zags have four sharp-shooters in Nolan Hickman, Julian Strawther, Rasir Bolton and Malachi Smith. Hickman is shooting 35%, while the others are all eclipsing 40%. Expect them all to step up against this porous BYU three-point defense.

Now, BYU ranks sixth in allowed offensive rebounding percentage, and Gonzaga ranks 58th. Neither team is particularly strong on the offensive glass, but expect the pace for both teams to outweigh the need for second scoring chances.

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BYU Cougars

BYU has a more evenly-distributed offense. Still, it ranks 204th in eFG% and shoots only 30% from three-point range. This is not encouraging considering the Cougars shoot 41.7% of their field goals from beyond the arc. Gonzaga allows opponents to shoot 33% from deep. Noah Waterman and Spencer Johnson are the Cougars most efficient deep-ball threats, so they could have shots open. Otherwise, Gideon George, Jaxson Robinson and Rudi Williams have all launched at least 50 threes. They should knock down a few.

Inside, the Cougars are much more efficient (52.5%), and this is where Gonzaga struggles, giving up 51.8% shooting to the opposition on two pointers. This is egregious, so BYU should have open looks throughout the game.

Photo by CBB Analytics

One issue for the Cougars is coughing up the ball. Gonzaga ranks in the very middle of the NCAA in defensive turnover rate, but BYU turns the ball over 22.3% of the time. This should allow Gonzaga to get the ball in transition quickly and free up a few fast-break buckets.

Building off of that, the Zags don't get to the free throw line much, but BYU also ranks 301st in free-throw attempt percentage defensively. Timme has shot 119 free throws this season, so he should see some visits to the line.

Gonzaga vs. BYU Betting Pick

These rivals are too fast-paced for this game to go under the total. Even with BYU’s solid defensive metrics, the Cougars don't have many strengths in areas the Zags will likely take advantage. Look for both teams to shoot well from outside and for the Zags to get to the line and play bully ball inside when on offense.

Take this from 149.5 (-114), and play to 152 (-110).

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