NCAA basketball Picks: Gonzaga vs. Portland

Michael Anthony

Thursday, January 17, 2013 3:51 PM GMT

West Coast rivals, Gonzaga and Portland face off tonight at 10PM EST. The Zags are huge favorites on the road. Are they worthy of backing here in such a tight spot or will the Pilots get the best of them?

Match up and odds

The 8th ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (16-1, 3-0 WCC) take on the Portland Pilots (8-10, 1-2 WCC) in which the Pilots have been tagged a sizable underdog at 15.5 points with the total set at 131.5. But is that too many points to take for our sports picks today?

Speaking of ranked teams, check out SBR's pick on #3 here~

Gonzaga is rolling with seven straight wins but the Pilots always give them a stiff challenge on their home floor.

Kelly Olynyk

If you follow college basketball and this is a name you are not familiar with, you should be. Olynyk stands at 7 foot tall playing the power forward position and he is the definition of a hard worker, hustler, and do all the dirty work type of player. Something the Zags have not had in a very long time and it's paying dividends.

Olynyk is averaging 18 points a game, 7 rebounds to go along with 2 assist. Right now though, he is in an absolute killer groove and if Portland wants to hang tough in this game tonight, it all starts with bottling up Oylnyk. Over his last five games, Kelly has put up monster numbers, 21 and 4, 21, and 9, 16 and 6. Than here is where he has gone off the chain, his last two games against Santa Clara, dropping 33 and 10, than against St Mary's 31 and 8. Dude is on a whole other level right now.

Ryan Nicholas

Portland has their own version of Kelly Oylnyk and it comes in 6'7 forward Ryan Nicholas. He is virtually the same type of player as Olynyk except he has much better range and possibly even a harder worker and that is saying something.

In our opinion this match up right here is where this game will be determined by the spread and I believe Nicholas is a hell of player and good enough to limit Olynyk and keep the Pilots within the spread.

On the year Nicholas is averaging nearly a double double at 15 points a game while pulling down 10 boards, he is a beast on the glass.  He's going to have out work Olynyk on the boards, keeping the Zags from getting any offensive rebounds and second chance points.

Stats

On their home floor Portland are holding teams to just 57 points a game on 37 percent shooting while limiting teams to just 28 percent from three. They are going to need that type of defensive effort to stop the high flying Zags offense who average nearly 74 points per game on the road.

NCAAB Betting Odds for all of the games are available at our SBR odds page~

[gameodds]14/217665/43/us[/gameodds]

Take the Points

This has always been a huge heated rivalry in the WCC and 15.5 points is just too many here to pass up as good as the Zags are, Gonzaga is just 3-9-2 ATS in their last 14 road games, so the advantage certainly lies with the Pilots here.

NCAA Basketball Free Picks: Portland +15.5 is our NCAA Basketball pick of the day. Line available at 5Dimes.