Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

March Madness

Gonzaga’s odds shift with public heavily backing Zags in opener

Gonzaga’s odds shift with public heavily backing Zags in opener

Gonzaga is the #1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament as it renews pursuit of its first national championship on Thursday when it takes on 16th-seeded Georgia State in West region play at Portland, Ore.

The Bulldogs (26-3) have advanced to two of the past four NCAA title games, losing to North Carolina (2017) and Baylor (2021). The 2020 tourney was canceled because of COVID.

Gonzaga again is expected to at least reach the Final Four. And Thursday’s opener is expected to be a light warm up for a deep run.

The Zags are 23.0-point favorites at most sportsbooks. That includes BetMGM, where the line opened at 26.5 points but Gonzaga’s odds have shortened a bit with Georgia State being backed by 51 percent of the spread-line money.

The line has also moved slightly at PointsBet, opening at 23.5 but shifting to 22.5 by Thursday with Gonzaga backed by 74 percent of the bets and 53 percent of the spread bets.

This is the second straight tournament in which the Zags are the #1 overall seed. Coach Mark Few said it would have been hard to believe such a thing could have occurred when the school was beginning its current streak of 23 straight NCAA appearances.

“Impossible to ever envision that,” Few said during a press conference. “It’s an amazing accomplishment. It’s a reward for being good for four or 4 1/2 months. … All these (five) #1 seeds we’ve been able to receive is just another amazing accomplishment for the guys in the program.”

Gonzaga leads the nation in scoring offense at 87.8 points per game and is expected to overwhelm Georgia State (18-10) because #1 seeds are 143-1 all time against #16 seeds.

But that “one” continues to stick out — UMBC’s epic 74-54 beatdown of Virginia in the 2018 tournament.

“That year I had Virginia going really far in my bracket,” Bulldogs forward Julian Strawther said. “Coach Few just told us we can’t look too far ahead in the bracket; you can’t see who you’re going to play the second weekend because there is no next game if you don’t handle the one in front of you.”

Panthers coach Rob Lanier understands history can be made with a shocking performance but isn’t going to conduct a big pep talk about it.

“If you go out and do the right things in the game, you’re going to give yourself a chance,” Lanier said in a video press conference. “I don’t think kids go in the game thinking about what UMBC did or whatever 16 seeds didn’t do.”

The Panthers, who have won 10 straight games, were on the magical side of March Madness in 2015.

Georgia State was a 14 seed and trailing third-seeded Baylor by 12 points with under three minutes left in the first-round game. But the Panthers went on a game-ending 13-0 run, capped by R.J. Hunter’s memorable 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left, to stun the Bears.

This year’s edition has a hot player in guard Corey Allen, who scored 29 points in back-to-back games as part of Georgia State’s run to the Sun Belt tourney title. The Panthers beat Louisiana 80-71 in the final to claim the NCAA bid.

Allen averages a team-best 14.7 points for a club that averages 70.6 — far below Gonzaga’s firepower.

The Bulldogs feature second-team All-Americans in forward Drew Timme (17.5 ppg) and center Chet Holmgren (14.2 points, 9.6 rebounds and 104 total blocks). Strawther chips in 12.3 points per game, and point guard Andrew Nembhard (11.7 points, 5.7 assists) and guard Rasir Bolton (11.2 ppg) also are strong cogs.

The immense collection of talent presents a big task for Georgia State.

“There’s another level we’re going to have to reach to give ourselves a chance in this game,” Lanier said. “We think we can play a lot better, and we know we need to. That’s our focus.”

The winner will face either eighth-seeded Boise State or ninth-seeded Memphis in Saturday’s second round.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

PlayAction Podcast

SGPN | Thursday Night Football Prop Bets | Week 7

NFL

The @GamblingPodcast guys are joined by @ReallyRell__to go over their favorite Thursday Night Football prop bets.

Inside Pack Sports | IPS LIVE | ACC Football Week 7 Rewind
Inside Pack Sports | IPS LIVE | ACC Football Week 7 Rewind

NCAAF

On this IPS Live episode, the @InsidePackSport staff talks ACC Football, previews the week’s games, who's improved, who could struggle & more

SGPN | NFL Gambling Podcast | Week 6 Recap & Week 8 Look Ahead
SGPN | NFL Gambling Podcast | Week 6 Recap & Week 8 Look Ahead

PlayAction Pods

SGPN's @rjvillagomez and @Moneyline_Mac dive into the Week 6 results and discuss which teams to back and fade going forward.

SGPN | College Football Experience | Dantabase Top 25
SGPN | College Football Experience | Dantabase Top 25

NCAAF

SGPN's @TheColbyD reveals his brand new Top 25 and keys in on why. Is Tennessee really the top team in the land?

Inside Pack Sports | FSU Postgame Review With IPS Analyst Phillip Danford
Inside Pack Sports | FSU Postgame Review With IPS Analyst Phillip Danford

NCAAF

The gang at @InsidePackSport talks about the Wolfpack’s win over Florida State with IPS Analyst Phillip Danford.

SGPN | College Football Experience | Dantabase Top 25
SGPN | College Football Experience | Dantabase Top 25

NCAAF

SGPN's @TCEonSGPN releases this weeks current Dantabase Top 25 rankings and @TheColbyD & @PattyC831 break it all down

SGPN | Week NFL 5 Recap & Early Week 7 Look Ahead
SGPN | Week NFL 5 Recap & Early Week 7 Look Ahead

PlayAction Pods

SGPN's NFL Gambling Podcast recaps Week 5 & looks ahead to favorable lines for Week 7 w/ @rjvillagomez & @Moneyline_Mac

JetNation | After Big Win in Pittsburgh; Dolphins Up Next For Jets
JetNation | After Big Win in Pittsburgh; Dolphins Up Next For Jets

NFL

Hosts Dylan and Glenn break down the Jets’ win in Pittsburgh and preview this week's game against the Miami Dolphins for @JetNation

SGPN | The College Football Experience | Week 6 Picks
SGPN | The College Football Experience | Week 6 Picks

NCAAF

SGPN's @TCEonSGPN previews CFB Week 6. @TheColbyD, @PattyC831 & @NC__NicK break down each and every game & key in on their favorite bets