NCAA Betting Preview – Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

  • The two teams with the best records during the regular season square off Monday night in the NCAA Men's Championship game

  • Gonzaga enters as a -4 point favorite after a last second overtime heave allowed the Bulldogs to advance

  • Bookmaker.eu believes Gonzaga will take this one and cover that spread as they offer their betting preview and prediction below

We didn’t get the matchup between the top two teams in college basketball back in December thanks to COVID. Instead the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Baylor Bears saved their contest until now in order to decide the national championship. They were the two best teams all season so it’s only fitting they hookup on Monday in the national championship game. The Zags kept their perfect season alive with a dramatic overtime win over UCLA when Jalen Suggs dropped a near half court buzzer-beater. They are one win away from becoming the first undefeated national champion in 45 years. The Zags have been favored in every game this season and hit the board laying 4-points on the college basketball betting line. 

Baylor Bears vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs
Date and Time: Monday, April 5, 2021, 9:20 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Opening College Basketball Odds: Gonzaga -4, O/U 159.5
Baylor vs. Gonzaga TV Coverage: CBS

Odds Analysis

Both programs are making their second trip to the national championship game with one of them getting a first title. They’ve been so good this season that neither team was an underdog in any game. Baylor opened catching 4-points on the line after going 4-0 ATS in its last four Tournament games. Overall the Bears are 27-2 SU and 19-10 ATS. They closed as a 5-point favorite against Houston in the semifinal contest, their shortest spread since a game against West Virginia at the beginning of March when they covered the 3.5-points in a 94-89 victory. The total of 159.5 is also the highest in any game, reflective of how the Bears have played recently with the OVER 14-3 in their last 17 games. The Zags played as a single-digit favorite five times during the season, most recently in their 85-66 win over USC in the Elite Eight. The four other games all came in the first month of the season when they knocked off ranked foes Kansas, West Virginia, Iowa and Virginia going 3-1 ATS. Overall Gonzaga is 16-13-2 ATS.

Baylor Bears

Based on what happened in the semifinals, the Bears are getting some increased action. They absolutely manhandled Houston taking a 45-20 lead at halftime and coasting to a 78-59 win. They have played strong defense during the Tournament holding three opponents to fewer than 60 points. They smothered the Cougars holding them to 38.2 percent shooting and just 6 of 19 from three-point range. They can’t get overconfident about their defensive play though since Houston isn’t close to the same bunch as Gonzaga. The game could very easily turn into a shootout considering all the weapons on both sides.

Baylor won’t shy away from a track meet. With a trio guards that collectively average over 46 points the Bears score 85.3 points per game boasting the best three-point shooting accuracy in the country at 42.9 percent. Jared Butler reached his average of 16.6 points scoring all 17 of his points in the first half against Houston. He was one of five players in double figures with backcourt mates Davion Mitchell (12) and MaCio Teague (11) in that group. “They got pros, we got pros. They win a lot of games, we win a lot of games. I think we match up pretty well,” Butler said. The bottom line is that Baylor will need to get stops in order to win the game. And it’s not going to be easy.

Gonzaga Bulldogs

Facing their first real test of the season the Bulldogs emerged with a thrilling overtime victory against UCLA. Are the Zags feeling the pressure of becoming the first undefeated national champion since the Bobby Knight-led Indiana club in 1976? They could be, but they also beat a team that was on a roll and had nothing to lose. What makes Gonzaga so dangerous is their balance. Anyone can be the hero it just happened to be Suggs on Saturday. His buzzer-beating bank shot ended one of the best games of the season and proved that the Zags have what it takes to win a close game – they just haven’t had any this season.

With Corey Kispert going 2 of 8 from three-point range, the Zags were still able to shoot 58.7 percent overall. Drew Timme will be a key to their success. He scored 25 points on 11 of 15 shooting against UCLA with a variety of moves in the paint. He’s also an expert passer and will be a matchup nightmare for Baylor. The play of Jay Ayayi and Andrew Nembhard defending Baylor’s guards is also something to watch in this matchup.

Bet Baylor vs. Gonzaga at BookMaker.eu

Perfection is within grasp for Gonzaga. I really think the game against UCLA was a wakeup call and I expect the Zags to be crisper on both ends of the floor. Their balanced attack was on display and any one of their starting five can rise to the occasion.

NCAA Tournament Prediction: Gonzaga 85, Baylor 78

Access live betting lines from your mobile device at BookMaker sportsbook! Real-time spreads, totals, props and money line are all available so start betting with BookMaker today.

- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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