- The NCAA Tournament tips off on Tuesday, March 15th with First Four action
- For the second straight year Gonzaga has the shortest pre-tournament odds following Selection Sunday
- Read below for analysis on the March Madness odds, and whether or not the Bulldogs are a smart bet at their current price
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the betting favorite to win March Madness following Selection Sunday. The Zags are fresh off yet another WCC title and enter the NCAA Tournament as the top seed for the second time in as many years.
Last season at this time, Gonzaga had just completed a perfect regular season and sported +200 odds to win March Madness. Of course, they ultimately fell short in the title game, and this year they’ll once again be looking to capture the first National Championship in program history.
2022 NCAA Tournament Odds
Odds as of Mar. 13 at Barstool Sportsbook.
The Bulldogs currently boast +350 odds to win March Madness, ahead of fellow 1-seed Arizona.
Gonzaga won 19 of its final 20 games down the stretch, losing only at #17 Saint Mary’s on the final day of the regular season. The Bulldogs avenged that loss in the WCC Tournament final, taking down the Gaels 82-69.
The Case For Gonzaga
Gonzaga’s victory over Saint Mary’s secured the Bulldogs’ eighth conference title in nine years. They picked apart the nation’s 13th best defense, shooting 58% from the field, while putting up 21 more points than the Gaels allow on a per game basis.
𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙡𝙡 a mood pic.twitter.com/3lOn3mWXod
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) March 11, 2022
The Zags’ offense is nearly impossible to slow down, let alone stop, which makes them a tough team to bet against, even at a short price.
Gonzaga led the nation in each of the following categories: Points per game (87.8), average score margin (+22.5), and field goal percentage (52.7%). If that wasn’t enough, they also ranked third in the country in assists per game (18.2) and total rebounding.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) March 9, 2022
Sure, their conference schedule helped pad those numbers a bit, but it’s worth noting they put up at least 82 points versus Texas, UCLA, Duke and Alabama, four of their five toughest opponents this season.
They’re a matchup nightmare for any team in their path as they feature incredible length and athleticism, and are loaded with experience. Four of their top-six players are upperclassmen and tournament tested, and the one freshman of the bunch just happens to be the projected number one pick in the NBA Draft.
Chet Holmgren continues to leave me speechless pic.twitter.com/mYjE6EvEcC
— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) March 8, 2022
That of course is Chet Holmgren, and the lanky 7-footer is one of five Bulldogs who average in double figures. The list is led by Drew Timme, who averages 17.5 points per night, and also includes Andrew Nembhard, who just took top player honors in the WCC Tournament, and is one of the top guards in the nation.
As good as the offense is, the defense is no slouch. Gonzaga grades out in the top-seven in defensive efficiency per KenPom, and ranks first in defensive rebounds, second in opponent effective field goal percentage (43.2%), fifth in blocks (5.9), and 13th in opponent assists (10.0) per game.
There are 3 WCC teams in the top 20 in Adjusted Defense.
Gonzaga – 6th
Saint Mary's – 9th
San Francisco – 18th
The Big 10 has one with Indiana ranked 20th.
— Tuck Clarry🪃 (@tuckclarry) March 7, 2022
They’re the only program in the country who you have to lay juice on in the Final Four odds, and to beat them you basically have to play a perfect game. But this is March, where anything can happen.
The Case Against Gonzaga
It all comes down to the math when trying to determine if the Bulldogs are a good bet at +350 to win it all. At that number, their implied probability to bring home the trophy is 22.2%. If you think this version of the Zags wins March Madness that percentage of the time then fire away.
Personally, I’d rather to take a chance on one of the other number one seeds in the college basketball odds. Each of the past four National Champions have been the top seed in their region, while 1-seeds have also claimed 11 of the past 14 titles.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS *again* MY FRIEND 🎶 pic.twitter.com/GoDtDtBcjl
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) March 13, 2022
Kansas immediately stands out at +1300. The Jayhawks just rolled through the Big 12 en route to the conference title, and led the nation in Quad 1 victories with 12. They also ranked number one in ESPN’s strength of schedule metric and are loaded with upperclassmen.
OCHAI AGBAJI: 𝗥𝗘𝗠𝗘𝗠𝗕𝗘𝗥 𝗧𝗛𝗘 𝗡𝗔𝗠𝗘 pic.twitter.com/WdlRDIaBVh
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) March 8, 2022
Six of their top-seven rotational players are either juniors or seniors led by Ochai Agbaji, one of the top-five contenders for the 2022 Wooden Award.
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