Gonzaga Player Prop Odds & Picks: Bet on Corey Kispert & Joel Ayayi In National Championship vs. Baylor
Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Joel Ayayi #11 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
- Gonzaga's lineup boasts a trio of phenomenal players in Jalen Suggs, Drew Timme, and Corey Kispert, plus Joel Ayayi and Andrew Nembhard.
- Unsurprisingly, there are a number of Zags players showing value in the props market.
- Brandon Anderson uses our props tool to find which players provide the biggest edge against the number below.
NCAA Championship Game Player Prop Picks
No. 1 Gonzaga vs. No. 1 Baylor
9:20 p.m. ET on CBS
Oh baby — we made it. The championship game is here, and this is the title game we’ve waited for all season: Gonzaga vs. Baylor, one last game, with everything on the line.
Everyone’s focused on Gonzaga’s incredible overtime win, but this game will not be a walkover. Don’t forget about that other game Saturday. Houston was really good, and Baylor absolutely mopped the floor with them, running up a 25-point first-half lead and playing near perfect basketball. Baylor has a pair of NBA-caliber guards, and the Bears are excellent on both offense and defense.
Davion Mitchell and Jared Butler were both All-Defense in conference play, and that duo should pressure the ball and make life very difficult for Jalen Suggs and Andrew Nembhard. Baylor is great at forcing turnovers, but the Bears’ defensive shot profile is nothing particularly special, and their 2-point defense is relatively average.
Since Gonzaga leads NCAA history this season making nearly 64% of its twos, that should lead the Zags to do what’s been working all tournament: feed Drew Timme, their star big man who’s scored 22 or more points in four straight games.
Gonzaga moves the ball well and ranks second in the nation with over 19 assists per game, but Baylor’s great guard defense help the team force more than 17 turnovers per game.
Suggs and Nembhard will have their hands full and will need a lot of help from Timme, Corey Kispert, and Joel Ayayi to finish the perfect season and win this title.
So how do we play Gonzaga’s player props with all that in mind?
For those who are new to this article, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NCAAB projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks. Each bet is then graded on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade.
Our props went 42-19-1 through the first two weekends of games, with an awesome 69% hit rate and an incredible 33% return on investment.
Below, I have laid out three prop bets that I’m playing from Monday night’s NCAA Tournament championship game matchup, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
Note: All photos below are via Getty Images.
Jalen Suggs, Gonzaga
You don’t love this one, I know. And really, that’s part of why we have to bet this under. Everyone and their crazy rich uncle will be betting on Suggs to have a huge title game after his incredible game-winning shot against UCLA. There is no more public player on the planet right now, and that means books are boosting this number, knowing bettors will still want to play the over.
We won’t fall for it. Suggs is awesome because of his all-around game, not because he’s an elite scorer. Suggs is a terrific passer and excellent positional rebounder. He’s also an outstanding defender, and he’s going to have his hands full trying to defend Mitchell and Baylor all night. He’ll also draw their defense and a whole lot of attention after the game he just had.
Suggs has gone under 16.5 points in four of his five tournament games, even including that amazing game he had against UCLA when that final 40-footer got him to 16. He’s actually gone under 16.5 points in 19-of-29 Gonzaga games, hitting this under 66% of the time.
In fact, Suggs has scored 20 or more points just four times all season, though those did come in four of Gonzaga’s toughest games — the guy clearly has a flair for the dramatic.
Still, Suggs’s median scoring output this season is 14 points, and he’s averaging 13.0 PPG in the tournament. I don’t see a big scoring night with Mitchell and Butler in his grill all night.
We project him at 14.8 points, and I’ll play the under 16.5 to -140.
Corey Kispert, Gonzaga
If Suggs and Nembhard aren’t going to score much, Gonzaga’s scoring will have to come from somewhere. Drew Timme could have another big night, but how about that other first team All-American?
As good as Kispert is, he hasn’t had a signature game yet this tournament, so maybe he’s been saving it for the final. Kispert led Gonzaga in scoring in the regular season at 19.5 points per game. He made almost three treys per game shooting 46% from beyond the arc, and he’s also an excellent cutter and finisher, scoring 65% of his 2s.
So far in tournament play (including the WCC tourney), Kispert’s scoring has been more muted at 16.4 PPG, with his shooting numbers down to 54% on 2-pointers and a hair below 40% on 3-pointers. But we know Kispert’s going to play most of Gonzaga’s minutes, and we know he’ll get plenty of shots up while he’s out there.
Besides, this is a pretty low bar for Kispert. He has scored at least 12 points in all but one game this season. That floor alone nearly puts us one extra make away from an over. Kispert has scored more than 15.5 points in 22-of-31 games, hitting this over 71% of the time. And even in this slightly muted tournament stretch, he’s still over in four of seven games, more than half the time.
Kispert is Gonzaga’s senior heart and soul, and this is the moment he’s waited for his entire career. Everyone’s talking about Suggs and Timme right now, but does Kispert have one more big scoring night in him?
Our projections sure think so, putting Kispert at 19.3 points and making this a clear play as high as -150.
Joel Ayayi, Gonzaga
We’ve played this one a few times now this tournament, so you know the drill. Joel Ayayi is the fourth guy on this Gonzaga team, typically a role player, but he was a star against UCLA in the first half. He’s a smart team defender, a nice passer, an awesome cutter, and a great positional rebounder.
Ayayi has at least six rebounds in all seven Gonzaga tournament games (including WCC play). He’s averaging 7.7 RPG during that stretch, including nearly two offensive rebounds per game, an area where Baylor can be beaten.
Ayayi is a key glue guy for Gonzaga. He played all but three minutes against UCLA and will be out there for all he can handle against Baylor. While Suggs and Nembhard could be outmatched at times by Butler and Mitchell, Ayayi is the better player in comparison to Baylor’s third guard MaCio Teague, and he’s a far better rebounder. This is another chance for Gonzaga’s unsung hero to play the mismatch to a big advantage, like he did against UCLA.
Ayayi is a really good rebounder. He has at least four boards in all but one game this season, and he’s gone over 6.5 in 17-of-31 games, hitting this over 55% of the time. He even has five games with double-digit boars and one huge 18-board night, so the ceiling is clear, and huge for a guard.
We project Ayayi at 7.5 rebounds, enough to go over. I’ll look for another sneaky big game from Ayayi and play the over to -140.