|5 BAY (-110) @ caesars|
8* Take Baylor (#811)
The Bears have been a truly elite team from Day 1 this season. But they suffered through a three week COVID pause in February, and like just about every team that has dealt with COVID issues this season, they came out of the break a step slow on both ends of the court – they covered only one of their next eight pointspreads in regulation (they did steal another ATS win as a favorite in OT). No surprise, then, that the betting markets cooled off on Scott Drew’s team……just in time for them to control the flow in wins and covers against Arkansas, Villanova, Wisconsin and Houston in their last four tourney games –arguably, four teams that are better than anyone Gonzaga has beaten all year.
Gonzaga has won their first four games in the Big Dance by 16 points or more; in control by halftime all four times. Then survived a test against UCLA, but it exposed the Zags power rating (sky high) for what it is (inflated); a team that offers zero value in the betting markets right now after an undefeated season of statistical dominance.
Nothing against USC, UCLA, Oklahoma, Creighton or Norfolk State – the teams the Zags have beaten in this tournament -- but not of those teams come close to matching Baylor’s talent level. BYU was Gonzaga’s toughest test in the WCC; USC beat BYU by 26 when they met at the Mohegan Sun Classic in December. All of Gonzaga’s power rating boosting early season non-conference wins – Kansas, Auburn, West Virginia, Virginia and Iowa – have all been somewhat devalued here in the Big Dance – none of those teams turned out to be as good as advertised in March. I’m very comfortable recommending a ‘take the points’ wager in a matchup where the underdog might well be the better team…..Take Baylor.
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