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Arizona Favored By 3 at Home vs Gonzaga; Wildcats 1-4 ATS in Last 5

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Dec 13, 2019 · 7:57 PM PST

Gonzaga Bulldogs
No. 6 Gonzaga squares off with No. 15 Arizona on Saturday, December 14. Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire
  • No. 6 Gonzaga squares off with No. 15 Arizona Saturday night (Dec. 14, 10pm ET)
  • The Wildcats are 3-point home favorites and the total is set at a 152
  • Arizona is 1-4 ATS in its last 5, and has beaten just one team ranked inside the top-85 in KenPom’s overall efficiency ratings

No. 6 Gonzaga and No. 15 Arizona clash Saturday Night (Dec. 14, 10pm ET) in one of the marquee matchups on the college hoops slate. The Bulldogs have already beaten two of the Pac-12’s premier teams in Oregon and Washington, and will be looking for their 11th win of the season.

Despite the Zags hot start, they’ll enter this contest as an underdog for the first time all season. The Wildcats are currently 3-point favorites, and will be looking to turn their dismal ATS record around.

No. 6 Gonzaga vs No. 15 Arizona Odds

Team Spread Total
Gonzaga Bulldogs +3.0 (+100) Over 152.0 (-115)
Arizona Wildcats -3.0 (-120) Under 152.0 (-105)

Odds taken Dec. 13

Arizona is 1-4 ATS in its last five, a stretch that includes its lone outright loss last Saturday against Baylor. The Bears are one of just two teams the Wildcats have faced that rank inside the top-85 in KenPom’s overall efficiency metrics, and neither one of those opponents can hold a candle to the Bulldogs, especially on offense.

Gonzaga is an Elite Offense

The Zags rank third in the nation in points per game and sixth overall in offensive efficiency. They have an average point differential of +20.9 per game, and rank top-11 in field goal percentage, assists per game and assist-to-turnover ratio.

There’s been little drop off in performance over last year’s team, despite losing two first round players in June’s NBA draft. Last weekend’s win over Washington was their seventh straight victory over a Pac-12 opponent, and their balanced scoring presents an enormous challenge for Arizona to defend. Five Bulldogs average double-digit points per game and another two more produce 9.5 per outing.

The Wildcats haven’t Proven Anything

The Wildcats allow just 63.2 points per game which looks impressive until you evaluate the competition they’ve played. Six of the 11 opponents they’ve faced have ranked outside KenPom’s top-125 and three of them rank 288th or worse. Despite the easy schedule, they still surrendered 91 points to Pepperdine and 82 to Pennsylvania, which brightens the outlook for the Zags’ offense.

Gonzaga has already exceeded 90 points five times this season and is fresh off hanging 83 on a Washington team that ranks 10 spots higher in defensive efficiency than Arizona. If the Wildcats are going to keep this game close Saturday, they’ll need to rely on their offense, which could be troubling given their performance versus Baylor.

The Bears held Arizona to 58 points and a 26.9% shooting percentage. The Zags are slightly worse defensively than Baylor, but still present a stiff task for the Wildcats. Gonzaga ranks 38th in defensive efficiency and rebounds very well in its own end, limiting second chance points for its opposition.

Go With Gonzaga

Until Arizona proves it belongs with college basketball’s elite, there’s no way I can lay points with them even at home. The Bulldogs are a top-11 2020 NCAA Tournament odds contender, and have already beaten two top-25 teams this season. The Wildcats meanwhile, have zero top-25 wins and the most impressive win on their resume is over a Illinois team that’s already lost three times.

Pick: Gonzaga -3 (+100)

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