NCAA Basketball Picks: Pepperdine vs. Gonzaga

Darin Zank

Monday, March 9, 2015 12:28 PM GMT

Monday, Mar. 9, 2015 12:28 PM GMT

Gonzaga may be two wins away from sweeping the West Coast Conference regular-season and tournament titles, but the Zags are just 6-10 ATS over the last half of this season, because they're favored by so darn much all the time. Gonzaga is favored by two touchdowns for Monday night's meeting with Pepperdine in the semifinals of the WCC tournament in Las Vegas.

Waves-Zags Betting Odds
Gonzaga opened at -14 for tonight's game at most shops we sampled, then got bumped to -14.5 in the early betting. Also, the total for tonight opened at right around 125 according to the NCAA Basketball odds.

Those who believe Pepperdine might pull the upset here could get +900 on the moneyline at BookMaker.

 

Waves-Zags:The Situation
Gonzaga, of course, has already secured an NCAA tournament berth; but Pepperdine, if it hopes to Dance for the first time since 2002, needs to win tonight, and tomorrow night, in the WCC tournament championship game.

Gonzaga had won 22 games in a row, but lost its regular-season finale at home to BYU 73-70. That loss didn't mean anything as far as West Coast Conference play was concerned, because the Zags had already won the regular-season title, again, and secured the top seed for this WCC tournament. But the defeat probably did cost them a No. 1 seed for the Big Dance.

Gonzaga shot just 44 percent from the floor against the Cougars, and lost that game outright as a 13-point favorite.

The Zags then began WCC tournament play with an 81-72 victory over San Francisco Saturday, but couldn't cover at -16. Gonzaga actually trailed at the half, eventually built a 16-point lead, which had the spread pushed with about nine minutes to go, but took its foot off the gas, declining to go after the cash.

The Zags are now 6-10 ATS over their last 16 games.

On the underdog side of this match-up the Waves had lost four of five games, but won their regular-season finale over Loyola-Marymount 64-49, then came from behind to beat San Diego in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament Saturday 50-47. Pepperdine only shot 42 percent from the floor Saturday, but held the Toreros to 32 percent shooting.

The Waves won Saturday as two-point betting underdogs, and are now 19-7 ATS this season, which makes them one of the best bets in college basketball.

The winner of this game plays the winner of Monday's BYU-Portland skirmish in the WCC tournament championship game Tuesday night.

Click Here & Revisit Our Conference Champions Predictions

Waves-Zags, By the Numbers
Pepperdine is shooting 43 percent from the floor this season, just 32 percent from 3-point range but 75 percent from the FT line, which is great for a college team. At the other end of the court the Waves are holding opponents to less than 41 percent FG shooting.

Gonzaga is shooting 52 percent from the floor this season, which ranks No. 1 in the country, 40 percent from 3-point land, which ranks in the top 10, and 70 percent from the line, all while holding foes to 38 percent FG shooting, which also ranks in the top 10 in the nation.

 

Waves-Zags Recent History
To say Gonzaga has dominated this series recently would be an understatement; the Zags have beaten Pepperdine 28 times in a row. But the last two, this season, came hard. Back in January the Bulldogs held off the Waves down in Malibu 78-76, and in February the Zags prevailed 56-48 up in Spokane. But Pepperdine covered that first game as a 12-point home dog, and the second game as a 19-point road dog.

Gonzaga shot 49 percent from the floor in those two games combined, which is about par for the course for the Zags, but the Waves shot 47 percent, much better than their season average.

That first meeting played OVER its total of 136, while the second meeting played UNDER 134.

 

Waves-Zags Betting Trends
Pepperdine is skewing toward the UNDERS this season by a 15-5 margin, including six in a row, as Waves games have averaged just 124 points.

Gonzaga is 15-12 on the OVERS, as Zags games have averaged 138 points.

 

Injury Update
Gonzaga F Kyle Wiltjer, who leads the team in scoring at just under 17 PPG, suffered a hip injury Saturday and is questionable for tonight's game. Wiltjer accounted for 37 points in the two victories over Pepperdine earlier this season.

 

Waves-Zags Free Pick
This game is being played on a neutral court, which means the line should be truer than for the average regular-season game. And yet we still think it's inflated, in part because Gonzaga's leading scorer is banged up. Meanwhile, Pepperdine plays good defense, and hung tough with the Zags twice during the regular season. We like the Waves and the points for our NCAA Basketball Picks.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Pepperdine +14.5 at 5Dimes

comment here