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New #2 Gonzaga Still +1800 in National Title Odds After Taking Down Washington and Arizona on the Road

Blair Johnson

by Blair Johnson in College Basketball

Updated Mar 27, 2020 · 11:45 AM PDT

Killian Tillie mean mugging
Killian Tillie and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are ranked No. 2 by the AP thanks to back-to-back road wins over top-50 Pac-12 teams. Photo by The Athletic (Twitter).
  • New #2 Gonzaga is still at +1800 in National Title odds after taking down UW and Arizona on the road
  • The Zags are 11-1 and own wins over three Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 50, according to KenPom.com
  • Gonzaga hosts North Carolina Wednesday in arguably the biggest home game in program history

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are No. 2 in the new AP Poll after taking down the Washington Huskies and Arizona Wildcats on the road recently. Yet, Mark Few’s Bulldogs are still at +1800 in National Title odds, which barely cracks the top ten.

The Zags are 11-1 and own wins over three Pac-12 teams ranked in the top 50, according to KenPom.com. Gonzaga hosts North Carolina on Wednesday in arguably the biggest home game in program history.

Odds to Win 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

Team Odds
Louisville +900
Duke +1000
Kansas +1000
Ohio State +1200
Kentucky +1400
Michigan State +1400
Maryland +1600
Michigan +1600
Gonzaga +1800
Memphis +1800
North Carolina +1800

Odds taken Dec. 16 

Clearly, these odds seem a little out of whack when it comes to Gonzaga. But they’re consistent with other sportsbooks. The average 2020 March Madness odds have the Zags as a +2000 wager.

Is it worth betting the Zags now? Will books give more love to that little program in Spokane as the season progresses, lowering their title odds? Let’s investigate.

Big Wins Not Enough

All Gonzaga has done the last two weeks is beat two of the best teams in the Pac-12 … on the road. The Zags took out Washington 83-76 in Seattle on Dec. 8. Then, GU went down to the McKale Center — not an easy place to play — and knocked off Arizona 84-80 this past Saturday.

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Gonzaga was up 80-65 with 2:12 left and withstood a 15-2 Arizona run to close out the narrow victory. Head coach Mark Few said it best. “When you get a win here, I’m not going to worry about how we got to that point. To get a win in this building, against that team, in this kind of environment is special.”

The pair of victories may not have been enough to make a significant impact in title odds, but rest assured, Gonzaga will remember these Ws in March.

Zags Have a Talented Roster

A big reason why the Zags have been such a tough out is because of their veteran roster. Even with Killian Tillie still not completely healthy following minor knee surgery right before the season started, the likes of Corey Kispert, Filip Petrusev, and Joel Ayayi have made up for the ultra-talented Tillie’s inconsistency.

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As Ayayi pointed out following the Arizona win, “We’re really resilient. We never quit. We never think the game’s over until it’s over. For us to win on the road in that type of atmosphere is a pretty good win.”

If Tillie can at least be available for the majority of time the rest of the way, this just might be Gonzaga’s year.

The Rodney Dangerfield of College Basketball

Few’s program entered the season at No. 8 in the AP Poll. That’s where the Bulldogs were prior to their only loss to Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament title game. That defeat knocked GU back a spot to No. 9. After that, the program moved up to No. 6 and now, this week, sits at No. 2.

But the Zags are No. 10 in a sense in title odds, with nine teams either ahead of or tied with them, on average. Of those nine teams, all have won at least one national championship.

Sure, Gonzaga has qualified for 21 straight NCAA Tournaments, but the Bulldogs have yet to win one. Maybe that’s why they’re not a bigger favorite.

Wednesday’s home date with Roy Williams and UNC might give Gonzaga the respect it deserves. Sure, UNC is 6-4 this season, unranked in the AP Poll for the first time in nearly six years, and missing leading scorer Cole Anthony. But the Tar Heels are still No. 16 in the KenPom.com rankings.

A win by the Zags on Wednesday would boost their perception before heading into conference play, where the stacked team is expected to generally hold serve until mid-March. Take Gonzaga at +1800 now, because the number is likely to only get shorter.

Pick: Bet on Gonzaga at +1800 to win it all

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