By the College Basketball Staff
#1 Gonzaga vs #1 Baylor
Tip: Monday, 9:20 ET on CBS | Spread: Gonzaga -4.5 | Total: 159
I don’t think anyone is surprised that this is the matchup we’re getting in the Natty. These are by and far the best two teams in college hoops and this is what the people deserve. Where that’s enough for most people, it isn’t for me. I still need to have some skin in the game and it’ll come in the form of betting the total in tonight’s National Championship game. I’m rolling with the over on 159 (-109). I’ve tried to get cute all tournament and make contrarian plays and find an edge as to why things wouldn’t play out according to what the public thinks. That hasn’t worked out well for me as I think I’m like 2-7 or 2-8 with my wagers. Truth is, these are the first and second ranked offenses in the country and that’s really all you need to know. Yeah, sure, they both rank in the top 30 in adjusted defensive efficiency but these guys can run up the scoreboard on anyone. Gonzaga has eclipsed the 80-point mark in every game this season aside from three times – twice against Saint Mary’s and once against Pacific. Every non conference game has seen them go over 80 points so there isn’t a doubt in my mind they hold up their end of the bargain. And Baylor will be forced to keep pace with the Zags, and they have the skillset to do so. Take the over and let’s close out the tournament with a winner.
The Pick: Over 159
-Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)
There’s no doubt that these two teams are going to give each other a run for their money. Baylor played a massive game against Houston winning by almost twenty points and Gonzaga survived against one of the best 2-point shooting performances in a long time. This game is going to come down to statistical matchups because of how dynamic both teams can play. We all know that Mark Few and Scott Drew have plays drawn up under their sleeves waiting to be debuted for this very game but every player on both teams are needed to pull out a win here. In the last few games, Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell, Drew Timme, Jalen Suggs, and Joel Ayayi have been the most consistent players that are going to step foot on the court Monday night so they should naturally be the targets if you are looking to squeeze money out of the books in a tight game like this.
On Baylor’s side, Butler started off weak but has been finishing strong with 14 point and 17 point games in their last two shooting an average of 74% from deep. Now that he’s in a rhythm, the ball is going to find his hands more often. With this big of a stage, the Bears need him to stay hot and the pace of Gonzaga is going to call for Baylor to do what they do best, shoot the 3-ball. Jared Butler over 2.5 3-point FGs made (+130) has some decent value because he has hit three or more shots from deep in 13 of the Bears’ games this season and he has arguably the most potential to take over a game on the team. In order for that to fully take flight though, Davion Mitchell needs to continue serving dimes. Mitchell had 8 assists going into halftime against Houston and finished with 11 assists against a lengthy and disruptive defense. Mitchell has picked up an average of 13.5 points per game and 6.75 assists per game. The Over/Under for his total assists in the Houston game was 4.5 which was blown away before halftime. Mitchell was involved in 42% of the team’s made field goals in their last 3 games by either scoring or assisting on the bucket. This is going to be the fifth game in a row for Baylor where they are outmatched in size even though Gonzaga may not look like they have a huge height advantage the way they play so ball movement is going to stay at the forefront of their minds. Davion Mitchell over 5.5 assists (+110) is also going to be key for Baylor to grab control of the game by shifting the Zags’ defense off of 3-pointers or leaving a lane for ChaCha, etc,. Conveniently, 5.5 is his season average in assists while also averaging 51.7% from the field.
The Picks: Jared Butler over 2.5 3-point FGs made (+130)
Davion Mitchell over 5.5 assists (+110)
-Quin Pezoldt (@QuintenEverett16)