Gonzaga are a huge favorite on the betting lines against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks, a team which – like the Zags – was able to make the NCAA tournament this past March. Here's your best bet for tonight.
The St. Joseph’s Hawks Can Win Because…
The Hawks are in a position where they might be able to catch Gonzaga with its attention span decreasing. Gonzaga just got done with a highly emotional win over SMU. The game was a hugely hyped contest due to the amount of time between the end of the NCAA tournament and the start of the new basketball season. The bigger reason for the hype was that SMU had initially expected to have one of the nation’s five best recruits, Emmanuel Mudiay, on its roster for the trip to Spokane, Wash. With Mudiay, SMU was felt to be a Final Four contender and a likely Sweet 16 team. It’s true that Mudiay left for China, and that teammate Markus Kennedy was ruled ineligible for the game, but when SMU came to Gonzaga, the moment was still very special for the Zags, who have a very good lineup this season. Gonzaga played well against SMU, but now the Zags have to quickly turn the page. They played late at night on Monday, and they now have to turn around and play another game on Wednesday. This is a tricky setup for Gonzaga. With two or three days off before this game, the Zags could have regrouped. As it is, they might be mentally drained following their excellent defensive showing against SMU which is something you need to consider when looking at the NCAA basketball odds.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs Can Win Because…
The Bulldogs might be prone to let down their guard, but they are playing a team that just might not have enough firepower to keep up with them. Saint Joseph’s struggled in its first game, a loss to Farleigh-Dickinson last Friday, Nov. 14. It’s true that this team has shown resilience and the ability to overcome bad nights. The Hawks bounced back to beat Drexel on Monday, but this team has not yet scored as many as 58 points in either of its games this season. It’s certainly a concern that Saint Joseph’s will have to be able to score at least in the high 60s, if not in the low 70s, to keep pace with Gonzaga’s explosive offense. Some will say that bad performances in the early part of the season frequently give way to noticeable improvements in subsequent games. Players are going through learning curves, after all. However, it’s very hard to overlook the fact that Saint Joseph’s averages only 11 assists per game in its two games, so keep this in mind before making your NCAA basketball pick. The Hawks have hit only 38 percent of their field goal attempts. If Saint Joseph’s couldn’t hit shots against Farleigh-Dickinson and Drexel, Gonzaga should be even tougher to take on.
In the end, Saint Joseph’s shows so little ability to score consistently that Gonzaga’s depth and size should both wear down the Hawks. The Bulldogs have so many ways in which to win and they can play different lineups with so many styles. Saint Joseph’s will not be able to match up, so lay the big college basketball betting number here.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -19.5 at 5Dimes