Free Picks: New Blood Versus Blue Blood

Gonzaga vs UCLA Final Four
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs UCLA Bruins, NCAAB, Lucas Oil Stadium

Gonzaga recorded their 30th win on Tuesday, securing their fifth consecutive 30+ win season, an NCAA record. But the Zags have their eyes set on bigger things, namely an NCAA Championship. On Saturday they will meet UCLA and can officially vanquish the Blue Bloods from March Madness and set up the opportunity to finally secure their first NCAA title.

The New Team To Beat

Gonzaga quickly put USC to sleep on Tuesday, racing out to a 21 point lead in the first half. They never let it get lower than 13 again and dominated the Trojans, who were viewed as one of the hottest teams in the country. Consistency, teamwork and skill embody this Gonzaga team, who is by far the best Bulldogs team Mark Few has ever coached.

Gonzaga is a powerhouse and is the clear favourite for many reasons. They have two lottery picks, four players who will play in the NBA next year and own the most efficient interior scoring offense of all-time. Gonzaga has not had a single game this season where they have shot below 50% inside the arc. Gonzaga just played the best interior defense in the country and they eviscerated USC, shooting 26 for 45. This is largely attributed to their ability to get to the basket.

48% of their field goal attempts come from tips, dunks and layups. They convert on 72.7% of those attempts. Rapid pace, effective ball movement and continuous motion allows this offense to score before their opponents can even get set defensively. Gonzaga is 9-4-0 ATS in non-conference and has dominated their opponents, they have scored 80 points or more in all but three games, which makes it nearly impossible to keep up with them. They will pulverize UCLA’s meager interior defense and score a bucketload of points. NCAAB odds have given us a great line on Gonzaga’s team total, so one of my free picks is Gonzaga over 79.5 points (-116 10Bet).

Gonzaga’s offense is not their only strength, as their defense is ranked amongst the best in the nation. Fantastic defensive rebounders, the Zags do not allow second chance opportunities. They contest shots without fouling and really do not have any apparent weaknesses. Barring an injury to a key Gonzaga player, I think Gonzaga is going to bulldoze through UCLA and emphatically earn their place in the National Championship. Gonzaga is favoured by 14.5 points, but even then I will happily take them to cover. My BetPicks best bet is Gonzaga’s spread.

 

Stats

  • Gonzaga is 16-12-2 ATS as favourites this season
  • The Over has cashed in 15 of Gonzaga’s 30 games this season
  • UCLA is 6-3-0 ATS as underdogs this season
  • The Over has cashed in 17 of UCLA’s 31 games this season

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Josh Saslove here, I am a passionate sports fan and have been consumed by sports for as long as I can remember. I have been a sports bettor for the past 4 years, starting out with betting on college basketball parlays. I currently write pieces for BetPicks, but have my own blog space as well, where you can find my past pieces. I am an avid fan of the Ottawa Senators, Toronto Raptors, Kansas City Chiefs and Toronto Blue Jays, so I know what it's like to cheer for the underdog. The 2017 ECF run by the Ottawa Senators and the Raptors 2019 NBA title are probably my fondest memories as a fan, as well of course the Chiefs Super Bowl win in 2020. I am also a big music fan and have been called Mac Miller by strangers on several occasions.

All Reviews by Josh Saslove

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