Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:48 AM

Gonzaga vs. Virginia Predictions, Odds


  • December 26, 2020
  • By Thom Cunningham
  • VegasInsider.com

The defending March Madness champions Virginia Cavaliers take on the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in a neutral court, non-conference game. Tip is set for 4:00 p.m. (ET) from the Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.

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WHERE TO BET GONZAGA-VIRGINIA

Gonzaga-Virginia Betting Odds

  • Spread: Gonzaga -7
  • Money-Line: Gonzaga -300 Virginia +250
  • Total: 139.5

Odds Subject to Change

Gonzaga is the obvious favorite in this game, given a -7-point spread. The point total is set at 139.5, as Gonzaga has gone OVER in four of its last six games this season. The point total can be tricky in this game, with one of the nation's best offenses taking on one of the nation's best defenses.

Despite a polished 6-0 record, Gonzaga has only covered the spread in half of its games this season. Virginia is about split as well, covering three of five games this year. With two teams playing very different styles of ball, along with inconsistency in the ATS, this is one of the more difficult games to wager on this season.

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Betting Analysis – Gonzaga Bulldogs

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

  • SU: 6-0
  • ATS: 3-3
  • SU - Home: 5-0
  • SU - Away: 1-0
  • O/U: 4-2

Offense, offense and more offense. That's what this Gonzaga team is all about, averaging 94.7 points per game which ranks third nationally. The Bulldogs also have the 13th-highest rated offensive rating at 120.1, led by Corey Kispert.

Kispert is averaging 20.8 points per game to go along with five boards. He's not the only Bulldog averaging 20 points per game though, as Drew Timme averages 20.3 points per game, while freshman Jalen Suggs averages 16.3.

Suggs is quickly becoming a national threat with Kispert and Timme, as he averages 5.7 rebounds per game and 5.8 assists. This trio is becoming extremely difficult to stop for any team, but going against Tony Bennett's stingy defense is a great test for this offense. Virginia is the best defense Gonzaga will have faced up to this point in their season.

Gonzaga passed both early tests against good defensive teams in Kansas and West Virginia. Although the Bulldogs eclipsed 100 points against Kansas, Gonzaga was held to 87 points and escaped the Mountaineers by five.

Betting Analysis – Virginia Cavaliers

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

  • SU: 4-1
  • ATS: 3-2
  • SU - Home: 4-0
  • SU - Away: 0-1
  • O/U: 2-3

Virginia is the complete opposite of Gonzaga, as the Bulldogs have a 200th-plus ranked defense (giving up almost 80 points per game). Virginia allows 54 points per game which is fifth-best in the nation. Their defensive rating is also very good, coming in a 87.4 which ranks 46th nationally.

The surprising stat for Virginia is their offensive efficiency, which ranks 12th nationally at 120.4. This means the Cavaliers don't have many wasted possessions when handling the ball, which could be deadly for Gonzaga if Virginia is able to stifle the high-powered offense. The question becomes can they?

If Virginia can take care of the ball on offense, and limit Gonzaga to 80 points or less then the Cavaliers have a chance to win. The turnovers are only a concern for two players, Sam Hauser and Kihei Clark. The two have a combined 17 turnovers, although they handle the ball on offense a lot.

Although Hauser and Clark get the most attention, Reece Beekman is going to be the difference if Virginia wants to win. Beekman has eight total steals (most on the team) and has 10 total assists (second-most on the team).

Virginia's top scorers (Hauser and Clark) need to limit their turnovers, and Beekman needs to continue hawking down balls on defense. That formula can keep Virginia in this game and give them a chance to win, or cover at the very least.

Inside the Stats – Gonzaga Bulldogs

  • PS/G: 94.7 (3rd)
  • PA/G: 77 (281st)
  • Off Rtg: 120.1 (13th)
  • Def Rtg: 97.7 (194th)

Inside the Stats – Virginia Cavaliers

  • PS/G: 74.4 (153rd)
  • PA/G: 54 (5th)
  • Off Rtg: 120.4 (12th)
  • Def Rtg: 87.4 (46th)

Key Players to Watch

  • ZAGA - Corey Kispert (20.8 PPG, 5 RPG)
  • ZAGA - Drew Timme (20.3 PPG, 7.5 RPG)
  • UVA - Sam Hauser (13.4 PPG, 6 RPG)
  • UVA - Jay Huff (11.6 PPG, 6.2 RPG)

Gonzaga-Virginia Predictions

It's difficult to bet against Gonzaga, who is clearly the best team in the nation. That will be tested however, as Virginia is one of only a handful that can beat the Bulldogs with defense and not a high-powered offense.

Iowa failed at fighting fire with fire against the Bulldogs, as West Virginia's defense actually came closer to beating Gonzaga. Using that as a measuring stick, it seems Virginia can keep this game close and perhaps keep the point total from going OVER. With all of these stats, breakdowns and theories on how Virginia can win - they won't.

Virginia is simply not talented enough on offense to outscore the Bulldogs, although their defense may limit Gonzaga's point total. Expect Gonzaga to win, despite their offense possibly facing their toughest challenge to date. Go with the better team, but be weary on the point total. The most points Virginia has given up this season is 64, and that game went to overtime.

  • Score Prediction: Gonzaga 75 Virginia 67
  • Best Bets: Gonzaga -7

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