Gonzaga Smothered In Chalk Versus Akron

Jason Lake

Saturday, December 10, 2016 6:50 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016 6:50 PM UTC

The No. 8 Gonzaga Bulldogs are laying more than two touchdowns to the Akron Zips – on the basketball court. Are the ‘Zags carrying too much chalk for your NCAAB picks?

Akron Zips vs Gonzaga Bulldogs

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have done some remarkable things on the hardcourt since Mark Few took over the head coaching reins in 1999. But here’s something they’ve never done: start the season 10-0. Gonzaga can reach those lofty heights this Saturday (8:00 p.m. ET) with a win at home over the Akron Zips, and the NCAAB odds at press time have the Bulldogs favored by 17 points. Yeah, 10-0 is looking pretty likely. But what about that spread?

Putting double-digit faves in your college basketball picks always feels a bit sketchy, and this one’s even more unsettling after Gonzaga (9-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) opened at –16.5, dipped immediately to –15, then shot back up to –17. The Zips (7-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) aren’t going to bring much public money into the betting market. Maybe this will be a good spot to fade the favorites.

Let’s see what the data says. Ken Pomeroy has the ‘Zags ranked No. 13 overall (No. 12 offense, No. 26 defense), already a warning sign for the No. 8 team in the polls, with an Adjusted Efficiency Margin of +21.62. Akron is a bit further down the list... let’s see... ah, there they are at No. 90 (No. 60 offense, No. 157 defense) and +6.27. So Gonzaga has performed about 15.5 points better than the Zips per 100 possessions. Good luck getting 100 possessions on Saturday. These are two of the slower teams in Division I; they’ll get in around 70-75 possessions, barring overtime.

There’s one fly in the ointment: Zips PG Noah Robotham (–1.1 BPM) is questionable with an ankle sprain. Robotham sat out the past two games for Akron, including last week’s 82-70 loss to Creighton (–12.5 at home), but Jimond Ivey (+5.1 BPM) is soaking up those minutes and doing a very fine job. Let’s make the obvious pick and go with the Zips – they are the best team in the MAC, after all.

Free NCAAB Pick: Akron +17 Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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