|4.5 BAY (-108) @ pinnacle|
ASA TOP PLAY ON Baylor +4.5 over Gonzaga, Monday at 9:20 PM ET - Our power ratings have Gonzaga as a slight 2 point favorite on a neutral court so we feel there is value with Baylor here. We’ve spoken of the Bears Covid break a number of times this tourney and we feel that situation has this team undervalued. Prior to their 3-week hiatus we had Baylor and the Zags rated almost dead even with our power ratings. Baylor was 17-0 before their break with 15 of those wins coming by double digits and the other 2 coming by 8 points each. They were dominant in the Big 12, one of the top few leagues on the country. They lost much of their momentum not playing or practicing for the 3 week span in February and lost 2 games leading into the Big Dance. They have since regained their form and rolled through the NCAA tourney winning 5 games by an average of 15 PPG including topping 4 top 20 teams (Ken Pom ratings). They led by at least 18 points in 4 of their 5 tourney games and their largest deficit has been just 7 points. The Bears defense has been fantastic holding 4 of their 5 opponents under 1.00 points per possession and they’ve been lock down from beyond the arc allowing only 27% in the tourney. Offensively they rank 2nd nationally in efficiency and #1 in 3-point percentage. The Bears have already faced 3 of the top 15 defenses in the nation in the NCAA tourney and scored 76, 78, and 81 points in those 3 games and averaged at least 1.19 PPP in each of those 3 games. They are tough to stop with 5 regulars hitting at least 39% from behind the arc. Gonzaga showed some vulnerability to a solid 3-point shooting team on Saturday barely getting by UCLA in OT and allowing the Bruins to hit 47% of their 3’s. UCLA was ranked 35th nationally in 3-point percentage and the Zags had trouble containing their guards and now they face the best 3-point shooting team in the nation with multiple top notch guards including All Americans Butler and Mitchell. Gonzaga hasn’t seen a team that shoots this well all season long. They have faced just ONE team this year that ranks inside the top 20 in three point shooting and that was Iowa early in the season and the Hawkeyes scored 88 points on them. Gonzaga is great offensively as well but the way the Baylor defense has been playing, we like them to be able to do enough on that end of the court to stay in this game the entire way. The way to potentially beat Gonzaga is to keep up with them offensively which UCLA nearly did on Saturday. Baylor is a better offensive team than UCLA and they’ll give the Bulldogs all they can handle here. The Bears haven’t been an underdog the entire season and their lowest number as a favorite was -4 and that was vs a difficult Big 12 slate. Now they are getting +4.5 which is a full 8.5 points off their lowest spread of the season. We fully believe Baylor has a great shot to win this game so we’ll grab the generous points.