Gonzaga Bulldogs (10-3 SU, 4-6 ATS) vs. Santa Clara Broncos (4-10 SU, 4-7 ATS) Preview and Betting Prediction
When: 12/31/15/, 5PM EST
Where Leavey Center, Santa Clara, CA
Opening Line: Gon -15/SC +15
Current Point Spread: 15.5
by Kevin, Professional College Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Public Consensus: 67% are betting the Gonzaga Bulldogs as -15 point favorites.
Power Ratings: The computers say the Zags should be favored by 16 points.
Average Power Rating of Opponents: GONZAGA 73.6, SANTA CLARA 69.9
Historical: Gonzaga has won the last 5 matchups, HOWEVER, if you look at all games played at Santa Clara since 2011, the Broncos would have covered tonight’s line of +15 each time as the final score margins have been 2, 7, 11 and 14. Looking back even further, Gonazaga is only 1-7 ATS in their last 8 trips to the Leavey Center.
Gonzaga Bulldogs: It’s no secret that Gonzaga is a great team and led by a great coach in Mark Few. With this, comes an inflated perception of “good” which in turn is followed up by inflated point spreads by oddsmakers as evidenced by the Zags 2-7-1 record ATS (against the spread) in their last 10 games on the road. Key players are Kyle Wiltjer (20.2 ppg) and double-double machine Domantas Sabonis (17.5 ppg and 10.8 reb). Through 13 games, Gonzaga has averaged 78.5 points per game and allowed 63.5 giving them an average margin of victory of 15 points. Collectively, the team shoots a whopping 48.7% from the field, 73.3% from the free throw line, and 37.9 from the arc. The Zags allow only 38.6% on defense and guard the perimeter well only allowing opponents to shoot 26.5% from 3-point range. These numbers dip a bit on the road though. Away from home, the Zags average 5 points less at 73.8 PPG, shoot 3% less at 45.8% and give up 3.5 more points per game at 67. The team has enjoyed a nice run as of late. Over their last 5 games, they’ve averaged 84ppg and shot 50.2% from the field. Two of these games have been conference matches where they destroyed Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine by 23 and 26 points. Keep in mind though, the Zags have played 6 of their last 7 in the friendly confines of their home court.
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Santa Clara Broncos: Led by streaky sharpshooter Jared Brownridge (19.9 ppg), this team is average at best. Not much notable has happened for them since the days of Steve Nash. For whatever reason though, the Zags always seems to bring out their best as evidenced by the team’s success against the spread vs. Mark Few’s squad. Overall, the club 64.1 ppg while allowing 68.6. The team is 4-10 SU and 4-7 ATS. They struggle to score at times as they shoot 40.8% from the field. The team shoots 70% from the line and 33% from behind the 3-point line. They play decent defense allowing 41.5% from the field and 33.5% from 3. Their home numbers are almost identical. The team is 2-3 in their last 5 games averaging 68ppg while allowing 69. The Broncos have started out 0-2 in confernece while allowing an ugly 50% from the field. As noted, they’re mediocre at best, but always seem to bring their “A” game when Gonzaga comes to town. While Gonzaga is surely the best team they’ll have played this season, the Zags would be 11-3 ATS vs. a +15 point line vs. all opponents.
Battle of the Boards: Gonzaga outrebounds opponents on the road 40.6 to 34.6. Santa Clara outrebounds opponents at home 34.6 to 32.3. I do expect the Zags to outboard the Broncos but this is of course banked into the line already so nothing alarming here.
Turnovers: Both teams turn the ball over around 13x per game. No advantage either way here.
Zags C Przemek Karnowski will miss with a back injury.
Matt Hubbard (22 mins pg/6.4 ppg) is doubtful with an ankle.
Trends Worth Noting:
Gonzaga is 12-1 straight up in their last 13 road games.
Gonzaga is 1-7 ATS in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Santa Clara.
Gonzaga is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games when playing on the road against Santa Clara.
Gonzaga is 38-5 straight up against Santa Clara since 1997.
Santa Clara is 26-16 against the spread versus Gonzaga since 1997.
Santa Clara is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home.
Kevin’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The likely result here is that Gonzaga wins the game straight up and Santa Clara covers. The Broncos have covered the spread 70% of the time over the last 20 games at the Leavey Center. If you plan on betting this game, it’s recommended that you wait until about 2 hours prior to tip off as the public is likely to drive this line higher. I expect the line to drop a bit closer to gametime as sharps will surely be betting the Broncos at max. value. I’m betting the Santa Clara Broncos at +15.5.