San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Odds, Betting Pick: Bracket Format Helping Bulldogs in WCC Semifinals
William Mancebo/Getty Images. Pictured: Admon Gilder and Jordan Ratinho
- The updated betting odds in Monday's San Francisco-Gonzaga game make the Zags double-digit favorites (spread: -13).
- Is the market too high on Gonzaga in this matchup?
- Our experts break down the angles and make picks below.
Gonzaga plays San Francisco on Monday night with eight days’ rest, having last played on Feb. 29 at home against Saint Mary’s. San Francisco, on the other hand, will be playing its third game in four days.
In 2019, the WCC changed the format of its postseason tournament, which now gives Gonzaga essentially three byes before having to play a single game.
Does the bracket change give Gonzaga a huge advantage? And should you back the Bulldogs tonight?
San Francisco v. Gonzaga Odds
- Spread: Gonzaga -12.5
- Over/Under: 151.5
- Time: 9 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
DiLeo: Gonzaga Gets Easy Road
The WCC has been lightly mocked on Twitter for its tournament bracket, with fans and media alike poking fun at the inequities between its high and low seeds:
The WCC Tournament bracket is the craziest looking bracket for any conference in college basketball. But you have to like it if your team is a top-two seed! pic.twitter.com/FzIbunbTZB
— R.L. Bynum (@RL_Bynum) March 7, 2020
If you apply the WCC bracket to other leagues, you get some pretty absurd results:
This is beyond hilarious, if big ten had a wcc style tournament the bottom 4 teams would need to win 8 games to win the tourney https://t.co/DSgDDYE2ZN
— idk (@advancedstats23) March 6, 2020
Before we get into how the tournament changes can help WCC top seeds like Gonzaga, the historical data says that coach Mark Few and Gonzaga have recently liked this spot. Since 2016, Gonzaga is 3-1 ATS in their first game of the WCC Tournament.
But since the WCC bracket change in 2019, Gonzaga now has a distinct advantage in its first game if it matches up with a team that started the tournament in the first or second round, rather than the quarterfinals.
And that is exactly what the Zags get tonight.
San Francisco started the WCC in the second round as a No. 5 seed, and as a result, now faces Gonzaga having played on March 6 and March 7. This will be the Dons’ third game in four days.
A similar situation unfolded last year, when Pepperdine, a No. 9 seed, started its 2019 WCC Tournament in the first round. It beat Pacific, then beat Loyola Marymount in the second round. Then, Pepperdine beat San Francisco in the quarterfinals, only to be trounced by Gonzaga in the Bulldogs first game of the tournament, 100-74.
It was Pepperdine’s fourth game in five days. Gonzaga was on eight days’ rest.
It’s a limited data set, having only been a year since the WCC bracket change, but I’m backing Gonzaga in a spot they seem to have liked recently. Play for a Bulldogs blowout. — Dom DiLeo
Picks: Gonzaga -13; Gonzaga team total over 82.5
Calabrese: San Fran Won’t Hang Like Earlier This Season
The Zags finished 15-1 in WCC play this past season but received a good fight from San Francisco on the road back on Feb. 1. The Dons led with just two minutes remaining before Corey Kispert took over, scoring five points in a minute, securing a four-point victory for the Bulldogs.
It’s worth noting that the Dons +8 turnover margin in that game was a statistical outlier for Gonzaga. The Zags rank 44th nationally with an average turnover margin of +2.3 per game. This was GU’s worst conference game in terms of turnover disparity, and when the two teams met again in Spokane, things returned to normal with GU finishing the night +2 in TOs.
With equilibrium restored, the Bulldogs cruised to a 17-point victory and covered by a half-point.
One final point of emphasis for Gonzaga in this one will be how they defend Charles Mindlend. The Dons’ leading scorer is shooting 64% from the field, with a 3:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the Dons first two WCC Tournament games.
Joel Ayayi, a top-50 defensive wing, will likely draw Mindlend tonight in Las Vegas.
I’m counting on Ayayi slowing Minlend down and the nation’s most efficient offense pulling away from USF in the second half. — Mike Calabrese
Pick: Gonzaga -13