Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Santa Clara Broncos Pick 1/30/20
Gonzaga Bulldogs (21-1 SU, 13-9 ATS) vs. Santa Clara Broncos (17-5 SU, 10-10 ATS)
When: Thursday, January 30, 10 p.m.
Where: Leavey Center, Santa Clara, Calif.
Point Spread: GONZ -16/SCU +16 (BetNow - Credit cards work for depositing there!)
Total: O/U 156.5
Last Time Out:
Gonzaga throttled Pacific 92-59; Santa Clara beat San Diego 65-52.
Scouting the Bulldogs:
So much for the fears that Gonzaga was going to get bored and struggle in West Coast Conference play. Since the win over Pepperdine, Gonzaga has scored at least 87 points in five consecutive games, hasn’t won by fewer than 20 points, and holds an AVERAGE margin of victory of 35 points per game in its past five contests. In short, the Bulldogs have found another level and are simply playing out the final nine games until conference tournament time and their assignment in the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs really can’t afford to slack off in the WCC this season, because they’re getting pushed by an unlikely source. San Diego State is still undefeated, and if Gonzaga slips even once this year, their top spot in the West will likely go to the Aztecs instead, forcing the Bulldogs to trek through another region to reach the Final Four instead of getting to make the short trip from Spokane to Los Angeles for the West Regional. With Baylor and Kansas looking like No. 1 seeds, the most likely spot for Gonzaga if it loses out on the West would be the East. Given that the East would mean New York and could involve teams like Seton Hall (a virtual home game for the Pirates) and Duke (unless you’re St. John’s, the last place in the world you want to play the Blue Devils is in Madison Square Garden), Gonzaga wants to avoid this scenario at all costs, and the Bulldogs know they’re competing with the Aztecs every time they step on the court and have to put up big numbers.
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Scouting the Broncos:
The thoughts of Santa Clara pushing for an at-large bid are done and dusted. The Broncos look like the fourth or possibly fifth-best team in the WCC after getting whipped at San Francisco and losing at home to Pepperdine. Santa Clara is still a good team for its level at 17-5, but the Broncos aren’t getting in without winning the WCC tournament.
And really, that’s OK. Santa Clara was never supposed to be in a position to make the NCAAs this season. The next two seasons are what the Broncos are working toward, as all five of their top scorers are back next year, and three of those players, including leading scorer Trey Wertz, are sophomores. Gonzaga is still going to be there as always, but the Broncos’ goals are more about learning how to compete with the Bulldogs now so that when they’re ready to take the next step and get to the NCAA tournament, they can realistically think about knocking off Gonzaga along the way like Saint Mary’s has. For the time being, this is a young team that’s likely heading to the NIT and has long-term goals on its mind.
Intimidation. Based on the first round of play in the West Coast Conference, the gap between Gonzaga and everyone else is VERY wide. To be entirely fair, the Bulldogs haven’t seen Saint Mary’s or San Francisco yet, but the only one in the league to give Gonzaga a game was Pepperdine, which has a tendency to rise to the moment and push big-name opponents before succumbing. Since that five-point win over the Waves, Gonzaga has taken things to another level. Santa Clara already lost once by 50 points to the Bulldogs; are the Broncos in any state of mind to compete with the Bulldogs just two weeks later?
Gonzaga will Cover if:
The Bulldogs play tough defense again. In the first meeting, Gonzaga held Santa Clara to 30.4 percent from the floor and dominated on the glass with 53 rebounds. Santa Clara doesn’t have much of a hope to win this game if the Bulldogs come anywhere close to pulling down that many missed shots. If Gonzaga shoots it well, this could be another 40 or 50-point beating.
Santa Clara will Cover if:
The Broncos can stay in the game for the first half. Santa Clara could easily find itself beaten before halftime if it runs into the same formula it did in the first meeting. The Bulldogs have the ability to bury anyone early, and there is little reason to think that Santa Clara will be ready to provide a stern test. But if the Broncos can last longer than 15 minutes, they might start to believe in the upset.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
I really can’t say I expect this one to be close. Gonzaga has the talent to blow out Santa Clara, and it has the motivation to want to blow out Santa Clara. I think taking the over on Gonzaga’s points (which should be around 86) will probably be a wise decision, and the fact that the game is on the road doesn’t concern me much. I think Gonzaga comes in, plays its game, and ends up with a comfortable win that results in a lot of points. I don’t know if I feel good about the overall total, given that the Bulldogs might clamp down on the Broncos, but I like the idea of pairing thee Bulldogs with their team total, as they should keep up the scoring. Give me Gonzaga. Where you betting your college basketball picks? Does your bookie offer you reduced vigorish -105 odds? Heck no he doesn’t! We’ve all been conditioned to bet at -110 and sometimes even more! Stop being taken advantage of and start betting at discounted odds -105 at the best sportsbook on the planet —> 5Dimes! Make the switch today! You’ll be so glad you did!