- Only Duke has shorter odds than Gonzaga to win the 2019 NCAA Tournament
- Gonzaga beat Duke 89-87 at a neutral site earlier this season
- The Bulldogs rank first in offensive efficiency, according to the KenPom ratings
The 2019 NCAA Tournament futures show that Duke is a heavy favorite. Second in line are the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who beat the Blue Devils earlier this year and spent time as the No. 1 team in the country.
Is there any value betting the Bulldogs to win it all?
Odds to Win 2019 NCAA Tournament
|Team||2019 NCAA Tournament Odds|
What’s Gonzaga’s West Region Like?
The Bulldogs have a tricky-but-manageable bracket. They are located in the top-half of the West Region, which appears to be easier to deal with than the bottom half of the bracket. The bottom half has the top two defensive teams in the country – No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 2 Michigan – and a No. 6 Buffalo team that tied for the most wins this season (31-3).
Meanwhile, the top half of the West features just one opponent that’s in the top 35 at KenPom: Florida State. The Seminoles are a good team; they’ve won 14 of 16 to end the season with the two losses coming to No. 1 Duke and No. 1 UNC.
Florida State also upset Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 last season.
However, Florida State had significant size advantages last season. They won’t have those this time around as Gonzaga is stocked up front with Brandon Clarke, Rui Hachimura, and Killian Tillie. Gonzaga is far better equipped for a potential rematch.
The Bulldogs Offense Can Cut Through Any Defense
Offense-meets-defense is a theme of the West Region as Texas Tech finished first overall in the KenPom defensive efficiency ratings and Michigan was second. Even Florida State was eighth and No. 10 Florida was 14th.
Spread ball screens are in full force again for Gonzaga tonight vs USF. First Norvell looking off the tag man to hit the roller. Followed by a pretty rare corner cut from Hachimura pic.twitter.com/VX6fKUjtfN
— Jordan Sperber (@hoopvision68) February 8, 2019
However, I’m not too worried as Gonzaga has shown they can handle almost any defense. Not only are they first in offensive efficiency, they lead the country in points-per-possession in the half-court. They’re also first in effective field goal percentage and two-point field goal percentage. This team can score at a fast or slow pace.
Can Gonzaga Beat Duke (Again)?
If Gonzaga can get through its bracket, which seems doable, they’ll likely face the Blue Devils in the Final Four. That would setup a rematch from the Maui Invitational where Gonzaga handed the Blue Devils their first loss of the season, 89-87.
Rui Hachimura showed his versatility for the Zags against Duke. I broke down Rui’s game.
Preview below ?
— Steven Barnhart (@HWHoopsCentral) November 23, 2018
It’s hard to extrapolate a lot from that game but what we did learn is that the Bulldogs can hang with the Blue Devils. Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke, Gonzaga’s All-American-caliber frontcourt, had 37 points while shooting 14-of-24. The Blue Devils didn’t really have an answer for them inside.
A lot of teams will be intimidated by the Blue Devils but not this Zags squad. They’re experienced, talented and confident.
Are They Worth a Bet?
At this point, I’d rather bet on Gonzaga to win their bracket than win the NCAA Tournament. They’re about a 50/50 shot to beat Duke, in my opinion, and when you add that in with them having to win their bracket, then also beat someone else in the Championship game, it pushes me away from betting on their odds to win the NCAA Men’s Tournament.
Rui Hachimura throws down on the break and Bill Walton waxes poetic pic.twitter.com/3omkOaSRf7
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) December 6, 2018
Even though it’s a lower payout, betting Gonzaga to win the West Region at +140 makes more sense to me.
SBD’s Regional Previews
- Odds to Win the West Region of 2019 March Madness Tournament
- Duke Listed as Odds-On Favorite to Win East Region of March Madness Bracket
SBD’s Other March Madness coverage:
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