Lucky NCAA Tournament: Vegas Pick and Gonzaga Preview vs. Baylor

Michael Conroy / Associated press

Gonzaga goalie Jalen Suggs (1) celebrates winning the game against UCLA during extra time in an NCAA Final Four Men’s College Basketball Tournament semifinal game on Saturday April 3, 2021 at the Lucas Indianapolis Oil Stadium. Gonzague won 93-90.

Just as it became difficult to drown grievances about the disappointing nature of this year’s NCAA tournament, Jalen Suggs, Johnny Juzang et al. showed up and produced an instant classic.

Suggs’ buzzer-beating bank shot also delivered the showdown that has built up all season, the one game everyone has wanted to see since the start of the season. Tonight’s Gonzaga v Baylor final is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated domestic league games in history.

This year’s tournament may not have featured as much craziness as in previous years, but it peaks at the end. General reproaches, in fairness, are hard to dispute and betting provides a target to help prove it.

Gonzaga’s 93-90 overtime win over UCLA as a 14.5-point favorite was just 10e time out of 65 tournament games that the point spread came into play. The 15% mark is down about 10% from historical averages.

It’s not a perfect metric for arousal, of course, given that the point spread doesn’t matter in outright upsets, which are usually some of the most exciting times in the world, either. tournament. But an inordinate number of upheavals have also been lopsided games this year.

Disappointing or not, the NCAA tournament has been undeniably frustrating this season from a personal perspective. After a decent first weekend, I’ve mostly tanked since with a 29-34 (11-11 on plays, 7-10 on lean, 11-13 on guesses) in every game.

The only hope is that I can come out on a high note hitting what is shaping up to be a terrific league game.

Read below for my final pick on the NCAA tournament.

No. 1 seeded Gonzaga -4.5 against No. 1 Baylor seed, plus / minus: 159.5. The saving grace of my frustrating tournament was seeing the futures positions on Gonzaga materialize. I could easily turn a profit now and attempt to officiate by taking the points with Baylor, but the truth is, I haven’t given much thought to that path. If I’m going to umpire on a position, I want there to be value on the other side where I’m playing. I don’t think there is any value on Baylor here. Gonzaga looks on the right side. That potential league game count was posted at 6 all week at Circa Sports – and 5.5 elsewhere, but Circa took the higher limits – but fell 1.5 points after the semi-final results. of Saturday.

Should he have? I do not think so. Baylor played their best game of the season, beating Houston 78-59 as a 5.5-point favorite, scoring 1.34 points per possession and hitting 45 percent of their 3-point attempts. This efficiency is unlikely in a second game in a row. Gonzaga, meanwhile, was much better than a 3-point win over an 11-seeded. Like Baylor, UCLA was oblivious from the ground. Based on the field-goal attempts taken, Gonzaga was should gain 22 points according to the Shot Quality model. Statistics are available away to show how unlikely the Bruins’ performance was – and the Zags won anyway.

This team is what we thought it was – an all-time great who now has the legitimate opportunity to become the first team in 45 years to end the season unbeaten with a national championship victory. An otherworldly performance from an opponent who pushed them over the edge is not worth a 1.5 point shift in the line. Baylor is also great and probably would have been the best team in the country in a typical year, but it’s not a typical year. It’s a year with a team that dominates the others. I don’t think I will add to my Gonzaga futures by asking the points, but this is the only real option on the spread. This number was too reactive in the Final Four and is now a bit short.

Skinny: Gonzaga -4.5.

Case Keefer can be reached at 702-948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at

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