Free Picks: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs San Diego Toreros

Gonzaga vs San Diego NCAA Basketball
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs San Diego Toreros, NCAA, McCarthey Athletic Center

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (21-0, 12-0 West Coast) are the pride of NCAA Division I basketball, and they have been perfect in almost every way this season. On Saturday, they continue a four-game home slate to close out the regular season, welcoming the San Diego Toreros (3-7, 2-4 West Coast). The Toreros lost by 28 when these teams met in January, and they really don’t stand much of a chance to upset the Bulldogs on the road.

Gonzaga’s lone imperfection this year: covering the spread

Searching for imperfections within the No. 1-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs is a mostly futile task. I mean, they’re 21-0, with the best effective shooting percentage in the nation (61.2 percent), and they’ve beaten all but one of their opponents by double digits (the exception being a five-point win over No. 13 West Virginia back in early December).

But if there’s one thing the Bulldogs — more commonly called the “Zags” — could improve upon, it’s their record against the spread. And that’s what should keep bettors interested when considering Saturday’s tilt between Gonzaga and San Diego, where the NCAA basketball odds will surely reveal the Toreros to be significant underdogs. Our BetPicks prediction will not include the exact line, unfortunately, because it is not out at the time of publication. But rest assured the spread will be in the high-20s if not low-30s.

That feels like too much, right? Well, when San Diego hosted Gonzaga on Jan. 28, the Zags were 29.5-point favorites on the road … and they narrowly failed to cover, winning 90-62. They won the rebound battle by 10, had 10 more assists than San Diego and committed four fewer turnovers. The Toreros were no match, despite shooting 50 percent (8-of-16) from the 3-pt. line. According to KenPom, Gonzaga’s win probability never fell below 96.5 percent.

So to reiterate, we aren’t giving San Diego a chance to win this game. Stranger things have happened, sure, but it makes a lot more sense to focus on the point spread. After all, that’s where Gonzaga might be susceptible to losing. The Zags have a mediocre 10-9-2 record against the spread this season — including a 4-6 ATS mark when favored by 20 or more points.

After being 29.5-point road favorites against San Diego last time, the Zags will almost certainly see a bigger spread now that they’re the home squad. And though they should win comfortably, we don’t think they’ll be able to keep up with the expectations of oddsmakers. Oh, and if it helps, San Diego has covered in five of its past six games.

Stats

  • Gonzaga is 4-5-1 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The UNDER has cashed in six of the Bulldogs’ past nine games
  • San Diego is 6-4 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The UNDER has cashed in five of the Toreros’ past eight games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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