Friday College Basketball Best Bets: Will Gonzaga Exact Revenge?

Written By Eli Hershkovich on December 2, 2022
College Basketball Best Bets

We’ve been gifted with our fair share of intriguing college basketball odds to tip off the season, and Friday’s slate continues that trend. Let’s break down my college basketball best bets for No. 6 Baylor versus No. 14 Gonzaga — in a rematch of the 2021 national title game.

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Gonzaga vs. Baylor: Spread, Moneyline, Total

Both teams finds themselves in my college basketball power rankings. Subscribe to Outside Shots on TheLines Podcast Network, as Scott Phillips and I dissect everything college hoops betting, including this contest.

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Which Team Will Rebound?

This game will be played on a neutral court in Sioux Falls, S.D. Nevertheless, I’m expecting a slightly more pro-Gonzaga crowd.

Aside from the venue, the straightforward notion is for the Bears to bounce back after they were blitzed by Marquette on Tuesday evening. After all, Gonzaga ranks No. 180 in Adjusted Defensive ShotQuality, which accounts for the strength of schedule for each team. Couple that with Baylor’s ball-screen centric offense against a unit that’s been dissected by sets of that nature.

However, the Zags will possess plenty of motivation after Scott Drew’s aforementioned championship team dismantled them. Many of those Bulldogs have moved on, yet Drew Timme, Julian Strawther, Anton Watson, and Ben Gregg remain.

Related: 2023 March Madness Futures Odds

Evaluating Baylor’s Defensive Flaws

Moreover, the Bears’ no-middle defense has showcased more holes than Drew’s recent units. In fact, they’ve yielded countless quality, catch-and-shoot 3-point looks while ranking No. 254 across Division I in open perimeter shots allowed.

Those categories certainly come with a small sample size. The no-middle system is also designed to prohibit dribble penetration and post-up touches — rather than focus on shooting from distance. It’s still alarming, though, considering Baylor’s elite-level play at that end in previous seasons.

If Gonzaga sustains an uptempo pace throughout, Mark Few’s floor-spacing attack will generate plenty of clean perimeter looks in transition. Few has been more creative with his usage of Timme on fast-break opportunities, too, employing him in the “trailer” position. Assuming the Wooden Award candidate () isn’t forced to solely accrue half-court touches versus the Bears’ physical big men, he’ll inevitably have more success.

Plus, I’m less concerned with Gonzaga point guard Nolan Hickman against Baylor’s ball pressure than I was at the beginning of the campaign. He’s begun to settle into the lead guard role, manufacturing just four turnovers in his last four games.

College Basketball Best Bets Conclusion

Monitor this page, along with our Discord betting channel, to see if I add any bets for this highly-anticipated matchup. If the betting market shows enough interest in the Bears, there may be enough value on the opposite side. For reference, the Zags opened as a 2.5-point favorite.

Good luck with your own college basketball wagers.

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