Gonzaga Slight Chalk in Second-Round West Matchup vs. Ohio State

gonzaga ohio state

Jay Pryce

Friday, March 16, 2018 12:20 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 16, 2018 12:20 PM UTC

Ohio State is looking to avenge a November rout by Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament West Regional. Catching 3 points on the college basketball odds board, can the Buckeyes cover and progress? 

No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 4 GonzagaWest Region, Saturday, Boise, 7:45 p.m. ETFree NCAAB Pick: GonzagaBest Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Gonzaga drilled Ohio State 86-59 as a 5-point favorite on a neutral court in the PK Invitational earlier this year. The Bulldogs shot 58.5 percent from the floor while limiting the Buckeyes to 34.5 percent. Senior forward Johnathan Williams and junior guard Josh Perkins dropped 21 and 20 points, respectively. The Zags’ size and physicality dominated in the matchup, pulling down 5-plus rebounds and swatting five shots overall.

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann went with a small lineup for much of the first meeting, and it backfired. Gonzaga shoved them around all game. Freshman forward Kaleb Wesson and sophomore center Micah Potter, each standing 6-foot-9, touched the court for a combined nine minutes. Together, they average 31.0 per game. NCAAB bettors can expect a different approach by Holtmann this time around. For those wanting to go the extra mile handicapping, you can watch the full game here:

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Ohio State’s star forward Keita Bates-Diop was limited to 7 points in the Gonzaga thrashing, his second-lowest output all year behind a 6-point effort in a 79-52 win over Rutgers. The NBA prospect destroyed South Dakota State in the first half of the 81-73 NCAA tournament opening win Thursday, hitting 6-for-10 from the field and scoring 17 points. Bates-Diop was doubled for much of the second half and forced into some bad shots. Defensive crowding limited Ohio State’s scoring leader to 4-for-13 from long range. The blueprint to slowing Bates-Diop is available, but execution is another matter. He finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Jackrabbits, his 13th double-double on the season.

The Zags, meanwhile, received a scare in their first-round matchup against UNC-Greensboro, winning 68-64 thanks to a go-ahead 3-pointer by redshirt freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. Poor shooting plagued both sides, with super tight rims at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho, providing little relief. The Bulldogs hit 25 of 59 (42.4 percent) shot attempts, just the fourth time staying under 43.5 percent all season. To give you an idea of the unforgiving irons, both teams combined to go 18 of 35 (51.4 percent) from the charity stripe.

Since 2013, Gonzaga is 34-2 SU and 17-17-2 ATS as chalk on a neutral court. Tipping off a small favorite of 4 points or less, it is a perfect 8-0 SU and 6-0-2 ATS, covering a -2.7 line by 5.9 points per game. Moreover, in the last decade it has won all four neutral-court encounters against B1G foes. The Bulldogs are the best team on paper, winning the efficiency battle on both offense and defense. The Zags better the Buckeyes 12 to 26 in KenPom’s adjusting rankings for scoring nationally and sit 14th as opposed to 17th against Ohio State on defense. Zags win 76-69. Lay the 3 points.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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