NCAAB Odds, Pick for UConn vs Gonzaga

NCAAB Odds, Pick for UConn vs Gonzaga article feature image
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Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Tristen Newton (UConn)

  • UConn and Gonzaga go head-to-head in Seattle in a top-10 duel on Friday.
  • The Huskies have a significant travel disadvantage, but are the Zags good enough to keep up with UConn?
  • Dive in below for NCAAB odds and a pick for UConn vs Gonzaga.

UConn vs Gonzaga Odds

Friday, Dec. 15
10 p.m. ET
ESPN2
UConn Odds
Point SpreadTotalMoneyline
-4.5
-105
153.5
-110o / -110u
-190
Gonzaga Odds
Point SpreadTotalMoneyline
+4.5
-115
153.5
-110o / -110u
+155
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NCAAB odds here.

In what is labeled as a neutral-site matchup, UConn will fly cross-country to Seattle to take on Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs.

UConn may not be quite as strong as last year's Huskies, who managed to defeat every non-conference opponent by double digits. Still, the Huskies are very much in the national title conversation again, in large part because of the play of Tristen Newton.

In a year in which the WCC is down, Gonzaga will be determined to boost its NCAA tournament resume by defeating the most difficult opponent on its entire schedule.


Connecticut Huskies

UConn's lone loss certainly isn't a shameful one — the defeat at Kansas was by a mere four-point margin, primarily due to offensive struggles UConn is not accustomed to.

Newton was exceptional in that losing effort, as he's been all season. Newton has quite possibly been the best guard in America through UConn's first 10 games.

Gonzaga's Ryan Nembhard will have his hands full keeping Newton in front of him defensively. If he decides to go under on all ball screens, Newton is a deadly shooter who'll gladly use the space as an opportunity to knock down shots from the perimeter.

Dan Hurley has been open about his team being fairly banged up at this early juncture of the season. We haven't yet seen any negative indications from the supposed injuries, as all of Hurley's key pieces have played and made valuable contributions in their most recent games.

Cam Spencer has been an incredible addition since making his debut in a Huskies uniform this season. Spencer transferred from Rutgers in the offseason and fits Hurley's preferred mold perfectly. He's an offensive weapon from deep, yet isn't timid about getting downhill to score or find an open teammate.

Maybe his most important attribute is his attitude. Hurley loves an undersized guy who refuses to back down from a physically imposing opponent. Spencer challenged Armando Bacot in a recent contest against North Carolina, setting the tone for a second-half run to put the Tar Heels away soundly.

If UConn has showed a weakness in its defense of a title this year, it's been its propensity to allow too many uncontested perimeter jumpers. UConn's ability to defend the 3 is still a work in progress.

Hurley believes his team is afraid to trust their feet to stay in front of quicker guards at this point, which has led to the Huskies' defenders choosing to sag off and allow themselves space to catch up if an opponent tries to drive.

If Gonzaga can knock down open shots, it can surely hang with this version of UConn.


Gonzaga Bulldogs

The loss of Drew Timme has clearly made Gonzaga mortal again.

Timme's departure hasn't hurt the Gonzaga defense much, as the Bulldogs have remained a respectable 18th in Defensive Efficiency this season. Timme's lack of mobility created issues for Gonzaga when it came to guarding the pick-and-roll. Graham Ike has stepped in admirably as a defender and can cover ground much more quickly than Timme was able to.

But the improvements made on the defensive end fail to make up for what Gonzaga lost offensively. Timme and Julian Strawther were the two key cogs in Gonzaga's up-tempo offensive approach in 2022-23.

Thus far, the Zags have failed to find the same rhythm in key moments, particularly in losses to Purdue and Washington. Even in a win against UCLA, it was the Bruins' stale offense that led to a Gonzaga victory instead of the Bulldogs finding a reliable source of scoring, like Few typically has been able to.

Gonzaga is 284th in 3-point attempt percentage this year. Nembhard is only 6-of-30 from 3-point range on the year, which has forced Gonzaga into relying upon its 6-foot-10 forwards Braden Huff and Ben Gregg to shoot the occasional 3 in an effort to stretch the defense.

Nolan Hickman has been the only reliable shooter for Few so far, making 36% of his long-range attempts.

If UConn is vulnerable to teams that can successfully make the open 3s the Huskies are prone to give up, I don't trust Gonzaga to exploit that weakness.


UConn vs. Gonzaga

Betting Pick & Prediction

The spot and travel advantage begs smart bettors to side with Gonzaga. The Zags are desperate to clinch a statement win, especially with only San Diego State and Kentucky looming as consequential future opportunities to boost their NCAA resume.

I'm simply shaken by the second-half collapse Gonzaga put on tape at Washington this past Saturday. The Bulldogs managed only seven points in the final 10 minutes against a different Huskies team, while also struggling to get stops against a Washington offense that's significantly less potent than UConn's offensive unit.

At this stage in the season, I have much more confidence in the cohesiveness of UConn. I will trust its ability to overcome Gonzaga's travel advantage and determined effort to tally another win in the left column.

Pick: UConn -4.5 (Play to -5)


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