NCAA Basketball Predictions - Gonzaga vs. Arizona Odds & Free Picks

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, December 3, 2016 2:49 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016 2:49 PM UTC

Our college basketball handicapper lives just a few miles from Gonzaga's campus. Will he back the local team, or will he back the team that has the historical upper hand in this series? Read on as he makes two picks on how to wager on this game!


2015-16  NCAAB  Record: 5-0, +5.00 Units 


Gonzaga Bulldogs vs Arizona Wildcats

Two of the top-ranked college basketball teams meet on the West Coast on Saturday afternoon, as the 7-0 8th ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs play the 16th ranked 6-1 Arizona Wildcats at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This is the third meeting in a row between these two teams in December of consecutive seasons, with Arizona winning the two prior matchups. Gonzaga was favored last year and will be favored again here, with the line opening at 5 points across the board. The number has since been bet down to 4.5 points favoring Gonzaga at sites such as 5Dimes. The O/U total has opened at 143 at BookMaker, now offering 50% free play bonus.

Arizona comes into this game after a cupcake game against Texas Southern, an 86-63 win as a 15-point home favorite. That win wasn’t without negative consequences, though, as the Wildcats lost starting point guard, Parker Jackson-Cartwright, to a high ankle sprain for what looks like a few weeks. Forward Ray Smith was already lost for the season because of injury, and sophomore guard, Allonzo Trier (14.8 points and 28 minutes per game in 2015-16), has also been missing due to eligibility concerns. Arizona is left with just seven scholarship players available for this game against Gonzaga.

Who Arizona has left to play in this game, led by European Lauri Markkanen at 18.3 points per game, should be able to be defended by Gonzaga’s starting five. The Bulldogs have been soft in the past, in my opinion, and have played under expectations against opponents that display any type of physicality. A player like Deonte Burton of Iowa State would be a good example of a player that gives Gonzaga trouble, a 6’ 4”, 250 lb. guard who muscles his way inside and draws fouls. The Bulldogs are not set up to defend that and are more of a finesse team. This is not your gritty Cinderella Bulldogs of the late 90’s, more of a prep school for the NBA.

Gonzaga has a very balanced offensive attack on the season thus far, with 5 players averaging between 10 and 13 points per game. The senior transfer from the University of Washington, Nigel Williams-Goss, has led the way so far with 12.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game, respectively. They have two other transfers from power conferences in Jordan Mathews and Johnathan Williams to boot that have been contributing immediately as well.

Gonzaga should be able to handle the spread in this game as I see them running away late whenever Arizona is forced to go to their bench. Foul trouble would spell doom for the Wildcats. I also like the Under in this matchup, as it is 4-1 in the last five meeting between these teams. Take Gonzaga -4.5 points and Under 143 at BookMaker as a top pair of your Saturday College Basketball Picks.

 Free NCAAB Pick: Gonzaga -4.5 & Under 143Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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