Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM

Iowa vs. Gonzaga Predictions, Odds

  • December 19, 2020
  • By Thom Cunningham,

In the most anticipated game of the season thus far, the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the No. 3 Iowa Hawkeyes. The game is scheduled to take place from the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota at noon (ET).



Iowa-Gonzaga Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: Gonzaga -3.5
  • Money-Line: TBD
  • Total: 172

Odds Subject to Change

Two of the nation's best offenses go head-to-head in this big time game, with both schools showcasing a top seven offense nationally. If that wasn't clear, take a look at the enormous point total of 172. That total has actually gone up with some sportsbooks, opening at 172.5 but reaching 174 and 173.5.

Oddsmakers expect a high-scoring game, which seems justified. The schools are also a combined 8-1 on the O/U this season, with the Hawkeyes failing to go UNDER the point total in any game so far. Neither defense is particularly good either. Adding all this up, it seems the point total being very high is not only justified but possibly worth taking.


Betting Analysis – Iowa Hawkeyes

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 6-0
  • ATS: 5-1
  • SU - Home: 6-0
  • SU - Away: 0-0
  • O/U: 6-0

As already mentioned, the Hawkeyes have a great offense and have gone OVER the point total in six straight games. How good is the Iowa offense? The best. It ranks as the nation's best offense in terms of efficiency and points scored. The Hawkeyes score an average of 100.5 points per game, with an offensive rating of 133.4.

Luka Garza, the leading Wooden Award candidate, gets most of the credit for the unstoppable Hawkeye offense. Garza averages about 30 points a game to go along with nine rebounds, but the Hawkeyes have dangerous players riddled all over the court. Joe Wieskamp, C.J. Fredrick, coach's son Patrick McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon are all lethal scorers.

Iowa's offensive numbers are overwhelming - ranking 25th in field goals made (211), 20th in three-pointers made (70), 32nd in free throws made (111), 24th in offensive rebounds (86), fourth in assists (144) and 19th in points (603). The height of this team is often forgotten, as the Hawkeyes have the 17th-most blocks in the nation (35) despite a rubbish defense overall.

Much like the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL, it seems one of the only ways to beat this team is to outscore them. Only a few teams in the nation can do this though, ironically, one of which is Gonzaga. Going back to Garza real quickly, he actually struggles against good teams on a neutral court. This is worth noting, as this will mark the first Iowa game away from the Carver-Hawkeye Center this season.

Last year, Iowa faced Texas Tech, San Diego State, Cincinnati and Penn State on a neutral court between the months of November and January. The Hawkeyes went 2-2 in those four games, with Garza scoring 17, 9, 12 and 34 in those games. The one game Garza scored 34 points Iowa actually lost.

It's tough to find a weakness on this Iowa team, besides defense. After research though, it appears Garza and the Hawkeyes are a bit inconsistent when facing a tough team in a neutral setting. Take that for what its worth, but overall this Iowa team is tough to slow down. This is their first true test away from Iowa City.

Betting Analysis – Gonzaga Bulldogs

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 3-0
  • ATS: 2-1
  • SU - Home: 2-0
  • SU - Away: 1-0
  • O/U: 2-1

Gonzaga will try to win this game by fighting fire with fire. The Bulldogs pose the nation's seventh-best offense with 93 points per game and an offensive rating of 116.7. The team's numbers could be higher, as Gonzaga hasn't played in quite a while due to COVID-19.

The Bulldogs have two players average over 20 points per game in Drew Timme and Corey Kispert, along with three other players that average 11.7 points per game or more. Joel Ayayi and Jalen Suggs round out the big four for this ball club, although its Andrew Nembhard who has been the biggest difference.

Nembhard quietly produces, averaging 11.7 points per game and four assists which is the second-most on the team. This team has five quality players that can hurt you in various ways on offense, not to mention tons of depth and experience. The weakness for Gonzaga, besides not playing in a while, is their three-point range.

Gonzaga has the fourth-best field goal percentage, fourth-best two-point percentage and 82nd-best free throw percentage. However, the Bulldogs rank 266th in three-point percentage. Kispert is the only Bulldog with more than two made three-pointers, while only five total Bulldogs have hit a three this season.

Gonzaga has the experience, talent, coaching and depth edge on Iowa. Iowa, however, has the three-point advantage which is a huge determining factor between two teams that will be sprinting to the finish line with their offenses. Gonzaga's only real weakness is the lack of playing time upon entering this game, and lack of three-pointers made.

Inside the Stats – Iowa Hawkeyes

  • PS/G: 100.5 (1st)
  • PA/G: 68.5 (146th)
  • Off Rtg: 133.4 (1st)
  • Def Rtg: 90.9 (97th)

Inside the Stats – Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • PS/G: 93 (7th)
  • PA/G: 79.7 (291st)
  • Off Rtg: 116.7 (31st)
  • Def Rtg: 100 (222nd)

Key Players to Watch

  • IOWA - Luka Garza (29.2 PPG, 9 RPG)
  • IOWA - Joe Wieskamp (15.2 PPG, 5.8 RPG)
  • ZAGA - Drew Timme (23.3 PPG, 6.3 RPG)
  • ZAGA - Corey Kispert (22.3 PPG, 5 RPG)

Iowa-Gonzaga Predictions

What a tough game to predict. The obvious bet for a game so difficult in choosing is to take the point total going OVER and pray both teams put on a show. Seeing the point total go OVER in eight of the team's combined last nine games seems to good to pass on, even if it misses you are playing the odds correctly.

Both teams should eclipse 85 points if they are on their games, which they should be in a big time matchup. The game winner can go in either direction, but it comes down to what you believe is a bigger flaw. Iowa playing away from home for the first time against a solid team, or Gonzaga having not played in quite some time.

Gonzaga is the better team from a roster standpoint and should be taken as the winner between the two. This is an overall difficult game to predict, but bursting through all the noise the simple fact is that Gonzaga is better and both teams score a lot of points. With Gonzaga also being the better team, taking them to win the first half is a good way to hedge if Iowa takes the first 20 minutes.

  • Score Prediction: Gonzaga 89 Iowa 88
  • Best Bets: Gonzaga SU
  • Best Bets: OVER 172

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