Matt Haarms leads a big BYU frontcourt that gave Gonzaga fits in the paint during their first meeting in early January. They’ll try to use that size advantage again tonight when they host the ‘Zags in Provo.
Photo By – USA TODAY Sports
The No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs visit one of their trickiest rivals when they roll into Provo to play the BYU Cougars in West Coast Conference action Monday night.
The Bulldogs are set as 11.5-point college basketball betting favorites versus Brigham Young, having already knocked off the Cougars 86-69 at home, pushing with a 17-point spread back on January 7. Gonzaga, however, won’t be taking this trip lightly, having lost the last time it set foot in the Marriott Center in February of last season.
Here are our NCAA basketball betting free picks and predictions for Gonzaga vs. BYU on February 8.
Gonzaga Bulldogs at BYU Cougars Betting Preview
Gonzaga: Oumar Ballo C (Out).
BYU: None to report.
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Betting Trend to Know
The Under is 16-7 in the Cougars’ last 23 games versus an opponent with a winning record. Find more NCAA betting trends for Gonzaga vs. BYU.
Gonzaga opened as 11.5-point favorites but is starting to tick down to -11 with early money coming in on BYU. The total opened at 155.5 points and was bumped to 156 briefly before coming back down to 155.5. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!
Check out the full line movement for this game
Against the Spread (ATS) Pick
Gonzaga and BYU sit No. 1 and No. 2 in the WCC standings but there’s plenty separating these teams in terms of talent…if the 11.5-point spread wasn’t a giveaway. The Zags pushed as 17-point home chalk in their last meeting with the Cougars and jumped out to a 23-2 lead in that first matchup in Spokane.
Since then, Brigham Young has won six of its last seven WCC encounters while posting a 4-2-1 ATS mark in those games. The Cougars have one of the biggest lineups in the country, boasting an average height of 6-foot-6 and featuring frontcourt towers such as 7-foot-3 Matt Haarms and 6-foot-11 Richard Harward.
That size makes it much tougher for Gonzaga to thrive on points in the paint, where the Bulldogs average more than 52 per game. It should also keep the Zags off the glass, as BYU allows just 7.3 offensive rebounds an outing and ranks 23rd in rebounding percentage (54.9 percent) in the country.
Brigham Young also recently injected its starting lineup with added athleticism, something that burned the Cougars in their first meeting with Gonzaga. The Bulldogs thrived in transition in that game and put a lumbering BYU lineup on its heels. To combat that, head coach Mark Pope has given starting nods to Gideon George and Caleb Lohner, with that pair combining for 24 points and 10 rebounds off the bench versus Gonzaga on January 7.
Provo is always a tough place to play and while the fans won’t be a factor (only 200 family and friends in the stands), the thinner air and elevation is a tough challenge for visiting teams with BYU sitting 4,551 feet above sea level. Gonzaga is playing its fourth straight road game since January 28 and has stumbled against those massive spreads in recent outings, going just 2-5-1 ATS in its last eight contests.
PREDICTION: BYU +11.5 (-110)
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The Cougars and Bulldogs played Under the 163.5-point number when these WCC rivals butted heads in January. That snapped a three-game Over streak between these programs.
Brigham Young started that game flat, scoring only 29 points in the first half and finished with 16 turnovers, which the Bulldogs quickly converted into easy buckets en route to 86 points. Since that game, BYU has limited foes to an average of 62.3 points against per game.
The Zags rank No. 1 in the land with 93.3 points per showing but the large interior beef of BYU will force the Bulldogs to really work for the points in the paint. The Cougars turned their first meeting into a brawl inside and will try to push Gonzaga to the perimeter, where it isn’t the sharpest shooting team. The Bulldogs shoot just under 35 percent from beyond the arc and collect about 21 points per game from 3-pointers.
On the other end of the floor, the Zags have been tightening the bolts on defense as the postseason draws closer. Gonzaga has stymied WCC opposition to 65.8 points per contest since the calendar flipped to 2021 and currently rank seventh in defensive efficiency at KenPom.com—a key metric for future Final Four teams.
Gonzaga has also stayed below the Over/Under this calendar year, posting a 2-7 O/U count in those last nine outings.
PREDICTION: Under 155.5 (-110)
Gonzaga vs BYU Betting Card
- BYU +11.5 (-110)
- Under 155.5 (-110)
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