San Francisco vs. Gonzaga College Basketball Picks: Can Bulldogs Crush Dons For Third Time This Season?
Gonzaga finally looked human with a season-ending loss to Saint Mary’s. Was that a sign of vulnerability, or just a wake-up call to the nation’s best team? Check out our San Francisco-Gonzaga picks.
San Francisco struggled to provide legitimate competition in the prior two meetings, losing by 16 points on both occasions. However, it should gain confidence after an impressive 12-point win over a solid BYU team in the West Coast Conference quarterfinals. The Dons have their eyes focused on their first WCC tournament title since 1998.
Can they find a way to cover (or even beat) the dominant Bulldogs? Or will the third matchup be exactly like their prior two meetings?
Here are my picks and predictions for Monday's thrilling WCC semifinal matchup between San Francisco and Gonzaga (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
SEE ALSO: College Basketball Futures Odds and Picks
San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Game Info
Date/Time: Monday, March 7, 9:00 pm ETTV: ESPNLocation: Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Odds Analysis
This line has slowly risen across all sportsbooks, according to Pregame.com. The line opened at Gonzaga -12 and is listed at Gonzaga -14 or -14.5 at most sportsbooks. The line peaked earlier Monday at Gonzaga -15.5 and has come down slightly with San Francisco receiving some of the money.
Gonzaga is receiving almost 75% of the bets, demonstrating the public’s clear preference for the Bulldogs. However, a disproportionate 40% of the money is on the Dons, showing the sharps are leaning toward San Francisco.
Gonzaga is 14-11-2 against the spread this year, including a strong 8-4-2 in conference games. San Francisco is just 12-18-1 ATS, including 8-8-1 in conference matchups. Depending on the number, Gonzaga has either covered both games against the Dons or finished 1-0-1 ATS.
San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Picks
Gonzaga -14.5 (-113) ????Under 154.5 (-109) ????
Check out our top-rated sportsbooks here
San Francisco vs. Gonzaga Predictions
Gonzaga -14.5 (-113)
The Dons have the offense to battle Gonzaga, but will their defense show up? San Francisco ranks 18th among all teams in adjusted defensive efficiency, according to KenPom, but it's allowed 89 and 78 points in the two prior meetings. San Francisco excels at defending the 3-point arc, allowing opponents to convert on a microscopic 29% from deep, the 11th best in the nation.
The problem, however, is Gonzaga doesn’t rely on the 3-pointer for the majority of its points. Though the Bulldogs are shooting 37.8% from beyond the arc (18th best overall), they've scored only 29.2% of their points from deep, ranking just 234th overall in the country.
The key to Gonzaga’s success on offense against the Dons is center Drew Timme, who averaged 21.5 points in the two matchups with San Francisco. He's paired with versatile 7-foot freshman Chet Holmgren, who had 21 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocks in the last matchup at San Francisco. That was Holmgren’s best game of the season.
Timme and Holmgren open up perimeter chances for the Bulldogs' deep roster. Gonzaga was 10 of 20 (50%) from deep against the Dons in the last game, an absolute killer for the normally stingy San Francisco defense.
The most concerning news for San Francisco fans is the potential absence of forward Yauhen Massalski (13.5 points per game, 9.4 rebounds per game). Massalski (knee) is a game-time decision, and his absence would make the Dons extremely thin in the frontcourt against Timme and Holmgren.
Even if Massalski plays, he'll probably be limited. I’m taking Gonzaga -14.5 to win comfortably for a third time against the Dons.
Under 154.4 (-109)
The third game between opponents is usually slower, and I think San Francisco will be desperate to keep this pace reasonable. Having seen the success Saint Mary’s had with a lower scoring game, this number is simply too high.
Gonzaga is the nation’s highest-scoring team at 88.3 points per game but has averaged only 75.7 points in its last three contests. In a single-elimination tournament, look for San Francisco head coach Todd Golden to use timeouts to stifle the first sign of any Gonzaga run.
Additionally, Gonzaga is, surprisingly, 16-11 to the Under this season. I don't see San Francisco doing enough scoring of its own to push this Over.
Where to Bet on San Francisco-Gonzaga Picks
Here are our top-rated sportsbooks for odds boosts:
FanDuel SportsbookCaesars SportsbookDraftKings SportsbookPointsBetBetMGM
SEE ALSO: All picks, odds, and sports betting news. Be sure to check out SportsbookReview.com’s community forums and betting tools.
San Francisco-Gonzaga picks made 3/7/2022 at 1:26 p.m. ET.