Gonzaga to Take it Slow and Easy Against Pacific

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, December 28, 2017 1:37 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017 1:37 PM UTC

Mark Lathrop comes off of a winning total as conference play begins. Read on as he breaks down an opening game of the West Coast Conference schedule in search of wagering value.

Pacific Tigers vs Gonzaga Bulldogs

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Free NCAAB Pick: Under 153Best Line Offered: at Heritage

West Coast Conference play opens on Thursday night with a matchup between the Pacific Tigers and the Gonzaga Bulldogs in Spokane, WA. Gonzaga enters the game 10-3 SU and 5-5 ATS, while Pacific is 5-8 SU and 4-7 ATS. Not exactly a bettor’s paradise backing these teams right now. And while Gonzaga hasn’t lost a conference opener in 21 years, the Pacific Tigers will get 22-points of chalk to try to beat the spread in this game. The O/U total has opened at 153 at first-moving books such as BookMaker.

Gonzaga comes off of a disappointing 72-70 loss on the road at San Diego State as 6-point favorites. I had Over 151.5 in that game as an official pick here at SBR, so I was disappointed by the offensive effort as well. And while Pacific does not have the type of defense that San Diego State does, Gonzaga will be focusing on reducing the number of turnovers here. The Aztecs forced 14 turnovers for Gonzaga with 6’ 3” junior guard Josh Perkins picking up 6 of his own. Coach Mark Few told the local Spokane newspaper much of the same, "We've just got guys that can't quite figure that out, and it's our veterans, and until they want to figure that out and put a little governor on some of their passes and decisions, it's going to continue to hurt us."

Pacific’s 2nd year coach, Damon Stoudamire, also is searching for more consistency from his team. Also in my local paper was a quote from the Pacific coach, "We just don't share the ball collectively enough. I got to figure that out over break. There are some things I am thinking about. We are holding on to the ball one pass too long or one dribble too long.” Pacific is ranked 211th in turnover percentage in the NCAA. They’ve faced a tougher schedule in putting up those statistics than Gonzaga though, and are coming off of a loss to 3rd ranked Arizona State in which they were held to just 65 points. Arizona State has the 122nd ranked defense in efficiency while the Gonzaga Bulldogs are ranked 41st according to kenpom.com. They could struggle to break 60 points in this game.

With the recent results from Gonzaga, and the public comments of their desire to be careful with the ball, I believe we will see a deliberate pace on offense. Gonzaga ranks 133rd in adjusted tempo in the NCAA and I expect they’ll go even slower here. Pacific ranks 111th in the country in adjusted tempo, and I don’t expect that to even matter against Gonzaga’s defense at home. I wouldn’t be surprised as well if Pacific comes out with a furious defensive effort in the first 10 minutes of this game either. I will be taking the Under here as one of my Thursday NCAAB picks.

2017-18 NCAAB Record: 20-10, +9.35Units

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