NCAAB Baylor Vs. Gonzaga Odds, Picks, Predictions (12/2/22)

Just when I thought Baylor and Gonzaga were going to run away as the top two teams in the league, both have given us puzzling starts with early season losses. Gonzaga was manhandled by new Kenpom number one Texas Longhorns while Baylor was destroyed by Marquette in their last game out. Can Baylor bounce back against Gonzaga? Let’s find out.

Baylor Vs. Gonzaga Odds

Oddsmakers don’t think so as Baylor opened as a +2.5 under dog with bettors taking this to as high as +3.5. Recency bias doesn’t help the Bears after they were thoroughly dominated by a less Marquette squad with Gonzaga being an immediate step up in quality.

As for the total, oddsmakers have this as a high scoring affair with the total being set at 164. Bettors were quick to pounce on the under, taking this as low as 161 in some shops. This comes as a shock as both units bring in the best offenses in the nation with two defenses reeling hard towards average in production.

Baylor Vs. Gonzaga Prediction & Pick

The Pick: o161

While I put a small piece on the current number, I will also be waiting to see if this dips lower to put more stake in it. This championship rematch isn’t nearly the same in overall production with both units drastically falling off a cliff on defense. 

Gonzaga has struggled with off ball defense, allowing teams to make cuts and get high quality looks at the basket. Lacking a true big man, Gonzaga has sacrificed security at the rim to stretch out towards the perimeter and it has backfired immediately.

Baylor’s no middle defense has taken a different identity with the inability to stretch out their coverage. When they cannot get their signature defense going, Baylor’s zone is easy to beat with backdoors and open looks from deep.

As for the offense, both units are high powered and respectively one and two in the nation in AdjO with Gonzaga leading the nation. Both teams bring in elite scoring production that are backed by elite next level players that will be on full display in this matchup.

Baylor Vs. Gonzaga Key Matchups

Can Timme’s facilitating beat Baylor’s no middle defense? How will Baylor’s size differential limit Gonzaga’s scoring?

Drew Timme vs Baylor’s zone defense

The return for Drew Timme has given the Gonzaga offense an immediate boost as he averages 20 points per game while hauling in 7.4 rebounds. His low post presence will need to be Baylor’s main focus as the offense runs through Timme.

While his scoring and glass work is big for the Zags, it’s his vision that will potentially decide the outcome of this game. He currently averages 3.1 assists per game either through transition or his low post kickouts to open shooters.

To beat Baylor’s zone, his passing will be the main focal point as Timme will need to find the open shooter at the perimeter or someone making the right cut while the zone shifts to respect the current ball position.

Baylor’s size vs Gonzaga scoring

As previously stated, Drew Timme’s vision will be the main focal point for Gonzaga’s scoring as they will need to stretch out the defense to respect their shooters. With no true big man to wreak Havoc on the block, they will need to maximize their quality looks as secondary chances will be at a minimum.

Lucky for Gonzaga, this type of offense has worked so far as they are the most efficient offense in basketball. They play limited with only seven players getting meaningful minutes and three of them in double digit scoring. They hit at a high clip, shooting over 40% from deep and 50% as a hole.

If Gonzaga can stretch out Baylor and negate their size, then they should have no issue in scoring production with continuous open looks.

Verdict

With both teams having high powered offenses with key advantages on each side, I expect this to be a track meet and would take the over as it continues to dip near tip off.

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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