Saturday NCAA Tournament Betting Guides: Odds, Insights, Picks on Gonzaga-Texas Tech, Virginia-Purdue

Saturday NCAA Tournament Betting Guides: Odds, Insights, Picks on Gonzaga-Texas Tech, Virginia-Purdue article feature image

USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ty Jerome and Rui Hachimura

We’ve compiled both our betting guides for Saturday’s Elite Eight games right here for EDGE subscribers.

NCAA Tournament Betting Odds, Picks

#1 Gonzaga vs. #3 Texas Tech

  • Spread: Gonzaga -4
  • Over/Under: 137.5
  • Date: Saturday, March 30
  • Time: 6:09 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: Anaheim, Calif.

>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

Does defense win championships? Or does good offense trump it? That’s the crux of Saturday night’s Elite Eight matchup between Gonzaga and Texas Tech.

The Red Raiders boast the country’s highest-rated defense and are fresh off a dominating performance against Michigan. The Zags have the No. 1 offense, and showed some defensive prowess of their own against Florida State.

Who wins out in the Elite Eight? Our analysts dive in.

Market Report for Gonzaga-Texas Tech

The line (-4) has remained unchanged as of Friday night. Gonzaga has received about 60% of the bets, but the money is about even.

The total dropped a half-point to 137.5 with more than 60% of the money on the under. Check out our game page or The Action Network app for updated odds and betting market info. — Steve Petrella

Trends to Know

Texas Tech held Michigan to 44 points — the lowest ever for a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Since 2005, teams coming off a dominant defensive performance (fewer than 60 points) have gone 305-260-12 (54%) ATS in the NCAA Tournament. If the team is an underdog in the next game, like the Red Raiders, they have gone 167-122-6 (58%) ATS. — John Ewing

Elite Offense vs. Elite Defense

Texas Tech put on a clinic defensively against Michigan in the Sweet 16, yielding a mere 0.71 points per possession. On the flip side, don’t let the Bulldogs’ 14-point win over Florida State fool you, as they produced 0.99 points per possession — well below their season average — against a similarly styled defense.

Although Mark Few’s group boasts the highest-rated offense in the country, its interior-driven attack will be in for a test against that top-rated Red Raiders defense. They are giving up 49th-lowest 2-point scoring rate (45.3%), led by their rim-protecting duo in Tariq Owens and Norense Odiase.

Expect Texas Tech’s ball pressure to give Gonzaga’s guards fits while trying to feed the post, as it forced Michigan into an uncharacteristically high 14 turnovers on Thursday. Rui Hachimura, Brandon Clarke and even Killian Tillie are skilled around the rim, but Chris Beard’s squad causes an abundance of havoc, as well as Owens and Odiase’s length and physicality bothering opposing bigs.

Gonzaga can also hit from deep, ranking 66th nationally in 3-point percentage, but Tech’s swarming perimeter defense is 11th in the same category defensively (29.4%). — Eli Hershkovich

Can Texas Tech Convert from Deep?

The key to Gonzaga’s Sweet 16 win over Florida State was its superb 3-point defense. The Bulldogs held the Seminoles to 15% (3-of-20) from beyond the arc. Gonzaga ranks 19th-best overall at limiting the opponents 3P efficiency, so Texas Tech must find a way to connect from deep.

Sophomore guard Davide Moretti (11.6 ppg, 46.2% 3P) was 0-of-7 from 3P in the first two tournament games but regained his long-range touch against Michigan. He was 3-of-4 from 3P vs. the Wolverines, which was key for the Red Raiders, who only shot 6-of-19 as a team.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Gonzaga guard Geno Crandall

Star Jarrett Culver is the guy Gonzaga will struggle against. The 6-foot-5 guard has averaged 24.8 ppg over his past five games, which includes two games of double-digit rebounds. It is unlikely Gonzaga head coach Mark Few will put star Rui Hachimura on Culver, meaning Texas Tech should have an offensive advantage on every possession.

Look for the Red Raiders to attack Gonzaga big man Brandon Clarke with senior big men Owens and Odiase. If both can stay out of foul trouble, they provide valuable offensive spacing for shooters like Moretti, Culver and senior guard Matt Mooney (10.9 ppg, 38.9% 3P). — Mike Randle

Is the Total Too Low?

I think this total is too short based on what we saw on Thursday night — a little recency bias. Texas Tech played in a game where many didn’t know if either team would get to 40 for a long stretch, while the Zags played pretty slow in the second half in a game that easily went under.

But let’s not forget that this Zags team is the highest-scoring team in the country at more than 88 points per game, and they love to push the tempo. And it’s not like Texas Tech has an incompetent offense. Before its game against Michigan, the Red Raiders averaged just shy of 80 per game over their previous 10 games.

I think you will see Gonzaga push it in transition as much as possible to avoid having to face the elite Texas Tech half court defense.

This is the lowest total of the year for Gonzaga — even lower than the WCC tourney final against St. Mary’s, which was 139. And the Gaels are true snails, ranking 348th in the country in Adjusted Tempo, per KenPom.

Texas Tech doesn’t play fast, but it isn’t molasses at 235 in that same category. I make this 140, which means I will definitely be hitting the over. — Stuckey

Stuckey’s Pick: Over 137

Barkley: Why I’m Betting Gonzaga

Texas Tech’s run has been really remarkable to watch in this tournament so far, but Gonzaga ain’t Michigan. The Wolverines went 1-for-19 from 3, and weren’t a very good 3-point shooting team coming into the game. Texas Tech’s defense forced them into taking outside shots, and Michigan hit basically none of them.

Not only is Gonzaga so much more prolific offensively, but it has four guys who shoot at least 36%. The balance this offers Gonzaga is one that Michigan could never present (and neither could Buffalo, which struggles from outside), and that’s why (unsurprisingly) this will be so much of a bigger test.

The biggest thing for me, though, is that Gonzaga’s ML in the lookahead in one market was -290, and now is hovering at about -180, seemingly just because of that Michigan game. I would argue that the Buffalo and Michigan wins, while impressive, are not at all predictive of how Texas Tech will play in THIS game, against THIS opponent, because the opponents are so different.

The Red Raiders are being given a lot of credit, some of it deserving, but to me Gonzaga is still clearly the better team here and has ways to attack. I like Gonzaga at -4. — Ken Barkley

Ken’s Pick: Gonzaga -4

Our Projected Odds: Gonzaga vs. Texas Tech

These ratings were 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 -4.5
  • Over/Under: 139
  • Score: Gonzaga 72 | Texas Tech 67.5
  • Win Probability: Gonzaga 66% | Texas Tech 34%

#1 Virginia vs. #3 Purdue

  • Spread: Virginia -4.5
  • Over/Under: 126
  • Date: Saturday, March 30
  • Time: 8:49 p.m. ET
  • TV: TBS
  • Location: Louisville, Ky.

Both Virginia and Purdue survived the Sweet 16 in very different fashions. The Boilermakers were red-hot shooting but gave up a huge second half lead, only to win in overtime, while the Hoos scraped out a tight win over a scrappy, defensive-minded Oregon team.

Neither team has reached the Final Four in more than 35 years. Who can get it done on Saturday?

Market Report for Virginia-Purdue

With money and tickets almost dead even, this line has bounced between -4 and -4.5, but never past that.

Almost all the total money is coming in on the over, but it’s stayed at 126. Stay tuned to our game page and The Action Network app for updated odds and betting market data. — Steve Petrella

Trends to Know

Virginia scored 53 points in its win over Oregon. It was tied for the Cavaliers’ lowest-scoring game this season.

Some bettors may be hesitant to back the Hoos after they struggled to score, but since 2005, teams that scored fewer than 60 points in their previous game have gone 170-115-8 (60%) ATS in the NCAA Tournament, including 8-2 ATS in the Elite Eight or later. — John Ewing

Virginia Must Match Purdue’s 3-Point Shooting

The Boilermakers’ perimeter attack was the story in their Sweet 16 win over Tennessee, shooting 15-of-31 (48.4%) from behind the arc. But don’t forget about the Cavaliers’ potent 3-point arsenal, which has the 89th-highest perimeter scoring rate in the country.

Look for UVA to control the glass (51st-highest defensive rebounding rate) and control the pace to prevent its sluggish offense from being sped up. Virginia plays at the slowest pace in college basketball, and it will grind down Purdue.

The 6-foot-2 guard Kyle Guy — UVA’s second-leading scorer (14.9 points per game) — is the biggest X-factor in this game. He’s combined to shoot 3-of-26 (11.5%) from behind the arc in the NCAA Tournament. But I’m expecting Boilermakers ballhawk Nojel Eastern to matchup with the 6-foot-5 Ty Jerome, giving Guy some space to operate off ball screens and deliver a bounce-back performance.

There could be concern over whether the Cavaliers’ five-man rotation vs. Oregon will catch up to them in the Elite Eight, especially with a jump-shot driven team, but they’ll likely lean more on D’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite around the rim.

Photo credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Virginia guard Kyle Guy

Purdue couldn’t match Tennessee’s physicality once the Vols finally attacked the paint in the second half, too. Its small-ball lineup should deal with the same issues in this one. — Eli Hershkovich

UVA Has Perimeter Defense

Purdue lives and dies by the 3. The Boilermakers were on fire against Tennessee, but Virginia only allows opponents to shoot 28.2% from 3P, second-best in the country.

Equally as important, the Boilermakers need to score inside the arc. While Purdue lacks a true back-to-the-basket player, it had success penetrating and scoring at the basket against the Vols. Carsen Edwards scored 29 points and overcame a poor 3P shooting night (5 of 14) with an incredible array of athletics finishes at the rim.

The 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms is playing his best basketball of the season and has five consecutive games with double-digit scoring. He is a force on defense, too, averaging two blocks per game while shooting an uber-efficient 63.5% from the field.

The Boilermakers will certainly need to shoot better from the free throw line, as their 16-of-33 (48.5%) performance almost cost them the Tennessee game. — Mike Randle

This Number is Dead-On

All I can say is that I think this number’s pretty dead-on. It might seem really fun and easy to anoint Purdue as a worthy contender now, and of course you should always have a certain amount of healthy skepticism about Virginia in the tournament, but really what has happened here?

Nuccio DiNuzzo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Purdue Boilermakers guard Carsen Edwards (3).

Purdue beat Old Dominion, worth basically nothing, beat a Villanova team that was INSANELY overrated given its metrics (we were on Purdue there of course), and then beat a good Tennessee team in overtime (on Purdue there too).

The Boilers’ 3-point volatility and ability to get white-hot for portions of the game may lead me to take a little bit of their moneyline rather than try to hold on with +4, but barring that type of effort, I have Virginia as about this much better on a neutral court, and nothing really significant has changed with either team to make me change that opinion. Pass. — Ken Barkley

Stuckey: Why I’m Taking the Under

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. For a third straight time, I’ll be going back to the well with a Virginia under.

We know the Virginia defense will be there; it has held its three opponents to 56, 51 and 49 points so far this tournament. The Hoos certainly have one of the three best defenses in the country and arguably the best.

We also know the tempo will be there; Virginia ranks dead last nationally out of 353 Division I teams in Adjusted Tempo.

What we don’t know is if the Virginia offense will be there. Kyle Guy is such a key cog of that offense and his shot has just been off. The junior is a shocking 3-of-26 from deep in this tourney. The UVA offense in general has looked a little off and Guy’s shooting woes are certainly a major part of those struggles.

If Guy gets it going, I think UVA covers, but the side doesn’t present enough value for me to bet on that happening. I’ll go under here in a game that I think Virginia’s elite perimeter defense shines.

I expect a ton of forced 3s from Ryan Cline and Carsen Edwards. That duo shoots the second-most 3s of any in the nation and is certainly capable of getting hot enough from the outside to win any game. But this isn’t Tennessee’s vulnerable perimeter defense. This is one of the best 3P defenses in the country.

Stuckey’s Pick: Under 126

Our Projected Odds: Virginia vs. Purdue

These ratings were 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: Virginia -4
  • Over/Under: 131
  • Score: Virginia 67.5 | Purdue 63.5
  • Win Probability: Virginia 64% | Purdue 36%

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game is 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.

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