Portland a Huge Underdog at Gonzaga & Worth the Risk

Willie Bee

Thursday, January 11, 2018 1:55 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 1:55 PM UTC

With just two wins in their last 37 tries against Gonzaga, it’s easy to understand why the Portland Pilots are big underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds Thursday in Spokane.

NCAAB Season Record: 20-27-1 (-8.35)

Portland Pilots at No. 15 Gonzaga BulldogsFree NCAAB Pick: Portland +31Best Line Offered: Heritage

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Most fans don’t immediately think of Portland and Gonzaga when college basketball rivalries are mentioned, but the series between the Pilots and Bulldogs is indeed a long-running feud. The two renew their rivalry for the 166th time Thursday, the 9 PM (ET) tip from Spokane available via ESPN3.

Exactly 6,000 fans have filled McCarthey Athletic Center for each home game this season, according to the official numbers the local fire chief goes by, so let’s assume exactly 6,000 will be on hand for this collision. Bookmaker doesn’t rely on manipulated numbers and believes this game is going to be a runway with Gonzaga laying 31½. Totals bettors are looking at 147½ for their decision.

’Zags Top 10 In Scoring & Shooting

A pretty good Class of ’17 recruiting haul hasn’t really materialized yet for Terry Porter, who is in his second season guiding the Pilots. Portland stumbled through three losses in the PK80 Invitational, covering two of those games, and has now gotten off to an oh-&-4 start on the WCC fixture, once again covering twice during the current skid. If you’re looking for a betting trend, the ‘over’ is running 7-3 in the 10 losses that carried a total.

Gonzaga is on the other end of the WCC line, 4-0 on the league slate and covering the NCAA basketball odds in the three games carrying -23 or larger spreads. The ‘over’ was 7-3 in the Zags' non-con matchups, but the ‘under’ has cashed 3 of 4 West Coast tilts. The Bulldogs just missed a cover in the recent win at Loyola Marymount this past Saturday, the 3rd straight game they shot 53% or better and ninth time this season Mark Few’s troops hit 50% or better from the field.

Series History, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

The matchup is the most-played for both schools, and not as one-sided as many might think with the Bulldogs up 99-66 in the series that dates to January 1959. That gap has been attained since Few took over in Spokane, Gonzaga winning 35 of the last 37 clashes and dragging an 8-game string of dubyas into this one. Portland managed to cover both losses last year, and four of the last five went ‘over’ the totals. The Pilots are looking for their first win at McCarthey since February 2003 when they posted a 72-68 upset as 23 point underdogs.

My initial thought is it’s just too many points, but that’s mostly because I can’t have any fun laying this many, and the way my free college basketball picks have gone so far you should probably fade whatever I think. Pilots plus the points for me.

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