Gonzaga is 7-1 straight-up, 6-1-1 vs. the numbers in its last eight encounters with BYU. The Zags will try to keep those trends rolling when they host the Cougars.
Cougars-Bulldogs Betting Odds
Most shops we sampled opened this game with Gonzaga favored by 12 points, the total offered at right around 155. In the early NCAA basketball betting odds then bumped the Zags to -13, but dropped the total to 153.
Those believing BYU might pull the upset could get +750 on the moneyline at BetOnline.
Gonzaga owns a 22-game winning streak, after fending off San Diego Thursday night 59-39. The Zags scored just 22 points in the first half Thursday, led just 40-35 with seven minutes to go, but pulled away for the victory and, to our dismay, the cover at -17.
After a cold start Gonzaga ended up shooting 51 percent from the floor Thursday, and held the Toreros to just 30 percent shooting.
Last Saturday the Zags had to come from behind to beat St. Mary's 70-60, and picked up a fortunate cover in that spot at -6.
Just prior to those two games Gonzaga was on a 1-4 ATS slide. So perhaps the lines are catching up to the Zags.
Whatever the case, at 29-1 overall and 17-0 in the WCC the Bulldogs have already won a regular-season conference title, and remain in the hunt for a No. 1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
BYU has won five in a row and seven of its last eight, after Thursday's 82-69 victory at Portland. The Cougars trailed that game by eight at the half, then roared back for the win and the cover at -3. So over its last five games BYU has also covered at -8 over Loyola, -5 over St. Mary's, -16 over Pacific and -11 over San Diego.
The Cougars have lost eight games this season, two in overtime and the other six by no more than seven points.
At 22-8 overall and 12-5 in conference play BYU sits in third place in the WCC, but that, along with iffy internals, might not be enough for the Cougars to make the Big Dance. BYU could really use a quality win to enhance its resume.
The Recent Rivalry
Gonzaga took the first meeting between the teams this season back in late December in Provo 87-80. The Zags jumped out to an early 16-point lead, but BYU battled back, took a lead of its own early in the second half, and had that game tied with eight minutes to go, before Gonzaga regained the upper hand for good.
The Bulldogs shot 49 percent from the floor that night, held the Cougars to 40 percent, and made five of six free-throws down the stretch to secure the victory and the cover as five-point favorites on the road.
Yeah, those free-throws sure can come in handy. That game surged OVER its total of 150.
Last year these teams split two games during the regular season, but Gonzaga beat BYU in the West Coast Conference tournament championship game in Las Vegas 75-64, covering at -5.
By the Numbers
BYU is shooting 47 percent from the field this season, 39 percent from 3-point land and 78 percent from the FT line, which is absolutely great for a college team. At the other end of the floor the Cougars are holding opponents to 43 percent shooting.
Gonzaga leads the nation in FG shooting at just under 53 percent, while shooting 41 percent from long range and 70 percent from the line. The Zags are also limiting foes to just 38 percent FG shooting.
Cougars-Bulldogs Betting Trends
BYU, which leads the nation in scoring at 84 PPG, is 13-10 on the totals this season.
Gonzaga is 14-11 on the totals, as Zags games have averaged 140 points.
Gonzaga is 41-0 SU, 22-13 ATS in its last 41 home games (several games non-lined).
Cougars-Bulldogs Free Pick
As for my free college basketball pick, Gonzaga has been just a tad shaky the last couple of times out, trailing St. Mary's late into the second half, struggling for 30 minutes against San Diego. And the Zags might be favored by a bit too much here, playing at home. Meanwhile, BYU can throw it in the hole at a rate that should keep this one close.
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Take BYU Cougars and the +13.5 points offered at BookMaker.