Georgia State vs. Gonzaga Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Zags Cover Massive First-Round NCAA Tournament Spread?

Georgia State vs. Gonzaga Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Zags Cover Massive First-Round NCAA Tournament Spread? article feature image

Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images. Pictured: Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga)

  • Georgia State is very unlikely to upset Gonzaga, but the Panthers were still under-seeded.
  • Does that mean Georgia State can cover the big spread in this first-round NCAA Tournament affair?
  • Our college basketball betting analysts offer their picks and predictions based on the latest odds below.

Georgia State vs. Gonzaga Odds

Thursday, March 17
4:15 p.m. ET
Georgia State Odds
-110o / -110u
Gonzaga Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

By Anthony Dabbundo

After losing in the national title game and failing to complete an undefeated season last year, Gonzaga is back in the top left corner of the NCAA Tournament bracket as the No. 1 overall seed.

Some think this Bulldogs team might be even better than last year’s because of Chet Holmgren’s rim protection and the improvement athleticism wise that he brings to the table.

The Bulldogs won by 43 against Norfolk State in the first round last year, but they’ve been given a considerably more difficult first-round game in 2022.

Georgia State was underseeded by the committee as Sun Belt champions, and played considerably better once healthy in the second half of the season.

Despite the fact Georgia State is more like a 14-seed, Gonzaga should have no problems advancing to the next round. However, the Panthers do have some matchups that enable them to be somewhat competitive when the two teams meet in Portland on Thursday.

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Georgia State Panthers

By Kyle Remillard

The tournament committee did no favors for Georgia State, which couldn’t have been pleased to hear its name called as a 16-seed.

The Panthers were the preseason favorites to win the Sun Belt Tournament, but stumbled out of the gates to a 6-9 record. Between COVID interruptions and injuries within the program, the roster was depleted for the first month of the season.

It seems the committee didn’t put much (if any) stock into that, as the program has been red hot lately. Since getting healthy, Rob Lanier’s group has won 10 games in a row en route to the Sun Belt Championship.

For reference, the Sun Belt ranks 16th out of college basketball’s 32 conferences, according to KenPom.

Georgia State has a triple threat offensively with Corey Allen, Kane Williams and Justin Roberts all averaging over 11 points per game.

Williams is more of a slasher that makes his money getting to the hoop. Allen and Roberts are the outside shooting threats who both converted on better than 36% of their 3-point attempts this season.

The Panthers are a scrappy defensive unit that force turnovers at a top-20 rate in the country. They’re strong defending the paint, holding opponents to just 35% on 2-point attempts. But the group has struggled defending the perimeter at times, allowing opponents to convert on 38% of their attempts.

The Panthers drew the short straw in terms of their tournament draw. But this group was peaking at just the right time heading into the tournament, and will show fight against the top team in the country.

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Gonzaga Bulldogs

By D.J. James

The Gonzaga Bulldogs rightfully earned themselves the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after running through the West Coast Conference and easily taking the conference tournament title.

They do have to face a solid Georgia State team, though, which is probably underseeded given its success in the Sun Belt Conference this season.

Gonzaga touts the best overall offense, per KenPom. It knocks down 3s at a 37.9% clip and hits almost 61% of its 2-pointers.

Yes, these numbers are fantastic at face value, but diving a bit deeper, the Bulldogs excel because of their talent. Per ShotQuality, Gonzaga ranks 92nd in Rim & 3 Rate and 59th in Open 3 Rate. This says that it does not necessarily take the most efficient shots on offense.

Georgia State actually is a solid team when it comes to preventing these efficient shots. It is understandable why the Panthers have solid defensive metrics. Jalen Thomas and Ja’Heim Hudson are strong defenders who can limit the impact from Drew Timme and Holmgren, two Wooden Award Contenders.

This is what Saint Mary’s was able to do to the Bulldogs, and it led to Gonzaga’s only defeat in conference play.

Now, the Zags have a complete lineup. Everyone discusses Timme and Holmgren, but Julian Strawther, Rasir Bolton and Andrew Nembhard have proven they can take over games.

In fact, they had to do so against Saint Mary’s in the rematch in the WCC Tournament, and they propelled the Zags to the title.

All three can hit their outside shots, and the Panthers are a bit worse when it comes to defending the perimeter. They will need to do so to keep this game within arm’s reach.

Georgia State vs. Gonzaga Betting Pick

By Anthony Dabbundo

From a matchup perspective, Georgia State shoots the ball well from the perimeter, has the interior size to disrupt Holmgren and Timme and can compete in stretches with the Bulldogs in this game.

When Gonzaga does struggle offensively, it’s usually because of turnovers or an off shooting night from deep.

The Panthers apply a ton of ball pressure and can generate enough steals and turnovers to get easy points at the other end. They won’t be able to stop the Bulldogs from getting to the rim, but the Panthers are top-30 in the country at protecting the rim and first in the Sun Belt.

The market opened with Gonzaga as high as -26 before it was bet down out of respect for Georgia State, which has been undervalued the entire second half of the season in the betting market.

The Panthers are the best team in the Sun Belt, and were all year. That’s worth more respect in the market and on the seed lines than what’s currently being given to them.

With a different matchup, Georgia State might have been a live 16 seed for an upset. Gonzaga’s pace and efficiency will be too much in the end, but Georgia State can put together enough scoring runs off turnovers.

The Bulldogs have taken their foot off the gas quite a bit lately and I’m expecting Few to do the same if they’re up 20 late.

Pick: Georgia State +23 or better

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