Oddsmakers Still Confident in Gonzaga After 3-0 Start, Win Over Texas

  • Gonzaga maintaining early favorite status to win national championship
  • UCLA a strong second as showdown with Zags is set for Tuesday
  • Check USC as a value pick in the Pac-12, nationally

Coach Mark Few reloaded the fortress in Spokane, Wash., and we saw first hand how good the Gonzaga Bulldogs are and how good they can be after they vanquished Texas, 86-74, in The Kennel in Spokane last Saturday night.

Big-man Andrew Timme hit 15-of-19 shots as he scored a career-high 37 points in the win over Texas. He had 11 points in the first five minutes of that game as the Bulldogs shot 59 percent from the field.

Gonzaga reasserted itself as the favorite to win the national championship as it is catching (+450) odds in some places while (+600) in others.

Timme so far leads the pack in odds to win the National Player of the Year as he posts a (+600). He also started at (+450) in some places as well, with Purdue’s Trevion Williams second at (+1000).

Duke center Paolo Banchero sits at (+1100) as he was involved in a DWI incident early last Sunday morning in a car driven by another Blue Devils player in Michael Severino, the grandson of Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was the driver.

Even after the incident, Banchero was still in the starting lineup on Tuesday night as he scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Blue Devils’ 92-52 win over Gardner-Webb.

It’s interesting that the online sportsbooks are so poised on Banchero

He was only impressive in the opening win over Kentucky with 22 points. His other showings have come against lower competition from one-bid leagues, so stay tuned when Duke faces the Zags, Ohio State, or quality competition in the ACC.

LA Life

Gonzaga matches up against No. 2 UCLA this upcoming Tuesday night as the Bruins are catching odds at (+900) in some places, and then they are seen at (+1200).

UCLA is holding strong after they won an overtime decision against Villanova last Friday night when Johnny Juzang scored 25 points and Jaime Jacquez, Jr., scored 21 points and had 13 rebounds while Jules Bernard posted 16.

Juzang is in the mix for the National Player of the Year, as well as he was third at (+900) with Timme (+450) and Banchero (+700) posting ahead of Juzang.

Please Note:
UCLA has a tough December schedule with Gonzaga in Las Vegas and then a trip to Marquette before North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic in T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The Bruins were assigned odds at (+110) to win the Pac-12 with Oregon (+350) and USC (+600). Arizona sits at (+700) under new head coach Tommy Lloyd, who spent 19 seasons as an assistant to Few with the Bulldogs.

Some odds boards are currently giving the rebuilt Wildcats the nod for third as Arizona sets (+650) odds while USC carries (+800).

Back in Eugene, the Ducks are coming off an 81-49 basting at the hands of BYU in Moda Center in Portland. Oregon was a 4.5-point favorite, but the Cougars blitzed the Ducks out of the locker room in taking 37-18 halftime lead, and they never looked back.

Meanwhile, the Cougars have a veteran team with coach Mark Pope at the helm as they were picked second behind Gonzaga in the preseason coaches’ poll.

No odds are currently shown and to where the Cougars are in the WCC or the national scene. With a senior guard in Alex Barcello leading the way, BYU is definitely a team that can be a second weekend NCAA Tournament team.

Fight On!

No. 25 USC is an excellent value pick in the Pac-12 as the Trojans are off to a 3-0 start heading into the Wooden Legacy Tournament next week as part of ESPN’s Feast Week.

As we noted:
Troy is around third or fourth in odds to win the Pac-12, and USC has been saddled with (+5500) odds to win the national championship.

Coach Andy Enfield returns big man Isaiah Mobley, brother of one-and-doner Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mobley and Chavez Goodwin comprise an efficient frontcourt for USC as former Memphis Tiger Boogie Ellis takes over the reins on the point.

Ellis leads USC in scoring through three games as he averages 16.3 points while Goodwin (15.7 ppg) and Mobley (12.3 ppg) follow suit. None of the Trojans triplicate is currently getting odds for national player of the year or even Pac-12 POY, but all three are capable as this team rises back to its status of a year ago.

The Trojans are 2-1 ATS in their first three games as the lone loss was a 76-71 win over Temple in Philadelphia, where they were favored by (-6). USC led by 20 points at halftime and had to withstand the Owls’ second-half rally.

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Kenneth Cross / Author

Kenneth Cross is a new entry to The Sports Geek staff as he has 25 years of experience in print, broadcast, and internet sports journalism. Cross is a lover of all sports, but college basketball is his passion. He estimates that he has seen around 1,500 college basketball games - live and in-person - and hopes that grows this season. If you listen to Radio, you have likely heard him on Sundays covering the Carolina Panthers for some 20 years. Now in Tampa Bay, he works as a national radio correspondent.

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