San Francisco vs Gonzaga Odds: Back the Dons

San Francisco vs Gonzaga Odds: Back the Dons article feature image
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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Gonzaga’s Dusty Stromer.

San Francisco vs Gonzaga Odds

Thursday, Jan. 25
9 p.m. ET
ESPN2
San Francisco Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
+9.5
-115
152.5
-110o / -110u
+375
Gonzaga Odds
Point SpreadTotal PointsMoneyline
-9.5
-105
152.5
-110o / -110u
-500
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are facing adversity for the first time in recent memory, as they're no longer the favorites to win the WCC regular-season title. That's important because the WCC isn't guaranteed two bids into the NCAA Tournament.

Mark Few's Bulldogs need to play their best basketball of the season down the stretch, and they can begin that quest on Thursday when the San Francisco Dons head to Spokane, Wash., as they try to spoil the Zags' NCAA Tournament plans.

The Bulldogs are on upset alert, and their loss to Santa Clara two weeks ago tells me they're a vulnerable group. Let's dig deeper into the matchup below and uncover why the Dons will keep this a competitive contest.


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San Francisco Dons

The Dons are one of the surprises out of the WCC, and if you read my recent State of the Conference, you'll see why I think they're worth a long-shot bet. They have balance and are a terrific interior offensive team.

They need to win in Spokane to keep those dreams alive, and they will host the Zags again later in the season. The Dons lost their last game to Saint Mary's, which they now need to falter at some point in its conference schedule.

San Francisco enters the matchup top-40 in adjusted defensive efficiency and offensive field-goal percentage. It's impressive that this team is shooting 77% as a unit at the free-throw line even though it doesn't get there often.

The Dons' frontcourt against the Zags' will be a key difference-maker. Forwards Mike Sharavjamts and Ndewedo Newbury have been excellent forces inside and are hitting at a combined 42% clip from deep.

Their offensive duality will force the Zags' bigs to defend in space, which allows a clear path to more buckets inside. San Francisco is also a solid team on the offensive glass, which is critical against a strong rebounding team like the Bulldogs.

The Dons defense tends to be aggressive — but they're almost too aggressive. They allow trips to the foul line, but luckily for them, the Bulldogs don't get there often.

Even if San Francisco gets into foul trouble, Gonzaga is a poor free-throw shooting team. The Dons' metrics might be a bit flawed due to their strength of schedule, but they can limit the offensive damage.

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Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Bulldogs are deservedly big favorites in the contest. They have the better talent and have faced a difficult schedule thus far.

However, they have to be careful not to overlook the Dons. If they manage to lose at home, their automatic NCAA Tournament bid is in jeopardy.

The key for the Zags will be to keep their discipline going on defense. San Francisco is excellent from the foul line, so Gonzaga can't afford to slip up on defense during the contest.

The Bulldogs thrive on forcing turnovers and winning the battle on the glass. The matchup is not easy, so they need to step up as a group.

I spoke about the Dons' frontcourt above, and that matchup is why forwards Braden Huff and Graham Ike need to dominate down low. There are going to be situations where they will be forced to defend outside of the paint, and I'm curious to see how they do in that area.

To cover the number, guards Ryan Nembhard and Nolan Hickman have to capitalize on their 3-point opportunities. If they have a poor shooting performance, the Dons will hang around and potentially pull off the upset.

As bad as the WCC has been, the Dons shouldn't be grouped with the rest of the conference. Few's team has been caught off guard on multiple occasions, so don't be surprised if this becomes a close game.


San Francisco vs Gonzaga

Betting Pick & Prediction

The Dons can make a statement on Thursday if they pull off a huge upset. Chris Gerlufsen's team has had a great season thus far, and they could challenge the Gaels for the WCC title with a victory.

The biggest difference in the game will come down to the turnover and rebounding discrepancies. The Dons also hold a big advantage in the free-throw department, so if they can generate trips to the line, there's no reason why they can't keep the contest close.

This is a good spot for the Dons to rebound after a tough game against the Gaels, and the Bulldogs are still overrated by the market. I'll gladly grab the points with San Francisco, and I'll be rooting for chaos in the WCC race.

Pick: San Francisco +9 or Better

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Daniel Preciado
Jun 25, 2024 UTC