Gonzaga's Rebounding Edge Spells Blowout Vs. San Francisco

gonzaga basketball

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, February 16, 2017 2:07 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017 2:07 PM UTC

Our college basketball handicapper is over 63 percent ATS on the season. Read on as he explains why the team in his backyard -- top-ranked Gonzaga -- is likely to continue its dominance on Thursday night.

2016-17 NCAAB Record: 31-18-2, +11.20 Units 

Gonzaga looks to defend its No. 1 ranking and undefeated record Thursday night as the Zags take on the visiting 18-9 San Francisco Dons at the McCarthy Athletic Center in Spokane. As has been the case for most of this year, the Bulldogs have opened as heavy home chalk in NCAA basketball betting in this contest and will have to cover 22.5 points to cash tickets placed on their side. The O/U total has opened at 142.5 points at BookMaker.

These two teams met in early January with Gonzaga winning 95-80 on the road and barely covering 14-point road chalk. That score went well 'over' the listed total of 147. In fact, the 80 points the Dons scored on Gonzaga were the most any team had scored on them all year. The Dons were paced in that game by 6-foot-5 guard Jordan Ratinho, who averages only 8.4 points per game on the season but put up 20 on the Zags by going 8-for-12 from the floor. San Francisco had two other players put up 13 points each and another 6 players scored in the game in a balanced effort.

However, San Francisco had a severe rebounding disadvantage in that game, getting dominated by Gonzaga 38-22 overall on the boards. Gonzaga also forced 14 turnovers to just 10 of its own. In the end, though, it was the Bulldogs 61% shooting from the floor that made the difference in the game as Gonzaga was able to score within the paint at will.

Gonzaga is coming off of an important 74-64 win against No. 20 Saint Mary’s on Saturday, which puts the Zags at risk of a bit of a letdown in this spot against San Francisco. That matchup was nationally televised, while the only way I can get this game at home is with a rabbit ear antenna out my window. However, Gonzaga has ruled San Francisco at home for some time, and the Dons have not won in Spokane in 27 straight games. You would have to go back to Feb. 10, 1989, to find a game in which San Francisco beat Gonzaga in this situation.

San Francisco has held its last 9 opponents to under 70 points, the first time that has happened since 1964. That streak is likely to end here, with Gonzaga averaging 87.2 points per game at home. Gonzaga has been a juggernaut on its home court this season, with an 11-2 ATS record and average winning margin of nearly 30 points on NCAA picks.

I think that San Francisco putting up 80 points in the earlier matchup between these two teams will help focus Gonzaga on the task at hand, and I expect its defense to show up in this game. San Francisco has put up some duds this year, with some in conference losses where the Dons put up only 46 and 52 points against Saints Mary’s and BYU, respectively. Look for the Zags to put the clamps down here at home and for their huge rebounding advantage to manifest itself in a lopsided win.

NCAAB Free Picks: Gonzaga -22.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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