Kentucky Vs. Gonzaga Odds, Picks, Predictions (11/20/22)

While it’s never easy avoiding early non-conference results to formulate long term thoughts, I just can’t help but picture both Kentucky and Gonzaga having serious lingering issues for their championship aspirations. Will either team put those thoughts to rest when they battle it out in tonight’s mega main event? Let’s find out.

Kentucky Vs. Gonzaga Odds

Gonzaga opened as the slight favorite at -2.5 and have seen their number jump up a little to the current number of -4.5. I have to admit, this comes as a great surprise as I thought their loss to Texas was eye opening in comparison to Kentucky’s double overtime loss to the underrated Michigan State Spartans with a hobbled Oscar Tshiebwe.

As for the total, this number has stayed firm at the opening of 155.5 with plenty of offense expected in what will be a track meet between the two high powered offenses. Gonzaga has the outside prowess to stretch the Wildcats defense while Kentucky will have an advantage down low on the blocks.

Kentucky Vs. Gonzaga Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Kentucky +4.5

The Gonzaga loss to Texas was very telling as this isn’t the normal Gonzaga squad that we are accustomed to watching. They lack a true down low presence on both sides of the ball, giving up their high rate of rebounding and defensive shot altering as teams have found success making cuts against them.

Both Michigan State and Texas abused the good quality of looks down low, shooting at a combined 63% on the block. That is an issue in the long run when trying to put away opposing elite competition, especially if they revolve around a big man like Kentucky does with Oscar Tshiebwe.

While Drew Timme commands attention on offense, he will be hard pressed to find success against the Wildcats who will pose as a step up in defensive prowess. As long as Oscar can avoid foul trouble and increase his workload, we may be in for a treat with two of the best going at it.

As for Kentucky, they have advantages on both ends of the court with a size mismatch and ability to take advantage of Gonzaga’s growing pains with an experienced backcourt. Look for Kentucky to turn their defense into offense with their guards continuing pressure and getting out in transition.

(Tallysight pick tile here)

Kentucky Vs. Gonzaga Key Matchups

While Oscar will demand attention, how will Gonzaga stop Kentucky’s guards? Who will win the battle of the boards?

Wildcats’ backcourt vs Gonzaga’s perimeter defense

While Oscar Tshiebwe will command attention on the block and suck in the defense, it must be mentioned that the Kentucky backcourt will be the true deciding factor in them getting the cover. Especially if Tshiebwe continues to play on restricted minutes as it has not been reported if he will be getting a full load yet.

The guard play lacked last season and was a constant Achilles heel for the Wildcats. This year looks drastically different already as Kentucky is showing they can stretch out the defense with outside shooting. So far this season they have three players shooting 40% or higher from deep with Carson Wallace, Antonio Reeves, and CJ Fredrick shooting at an efficient level.

They should benefit from opening looks in this matchup as Kentucky will have Gonzaga scrambling in transition with their pressure defense out on the perimeter. 

Battle of the boards

While Kentucky has a massive size advantage in this matchup, they have actually severely lacked in the rebounding battle at this point of the season. As of writing they are near bottom of the SEC in offensive rebounding percentage and defensive rebounding percentage, allowing second chance opportunities and limiting their own during their cold stretches.

While Gonzaga is smaller this year than in years past, they still compete on the boards as they narrowly won the rebounding battle against the much bigger Texas squad in their last outing. A staple for Mark Few’s led squads as they are constantly top of the nation in rebounding.

Rebounding will go a long way in deciding this one as both teams will look to get out in transition with defensive woes, needing to limit each other’s second chance opportunities and start their own transitional advantage.

Verdict

With both teams reeling early in the season, I will take Kentucky and the points as they provide more advantages on both ends in a prove it type of game.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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