UCLA +14 over Gonzaga
As a lot of people have, I’ve profited nicely off Gonzaga all year and tournament. Betting against one of the best teams in college basketball history typically isn’t advised, but a couple things stand out to me here.
First, UCLA has beaten two of the top teams in the tournament their past two games in two completely different styles, knocking off Alabama 88-78 and of course beating Michigan 51-49 last night.
This versatility will be useful in keeping things close with the Zags, as UCLA will try to slow the game down as much as possible. They know they don’t have the offensive firepower to matchup, so they need to keep this game in the 60s/70s rather than 80s.
This will be tough since the lowest point total Gonzaga has this season is 73 back in January against Saint Mary’s, but if UCLA can slow down the game and make a few key defensive stops like they did against Michigan, they can keep it down there and increase their cover probability.
Second, the spread is just way too high for me to bet the favorite to cover in a Final Four game, especially with the momentum an underdog like UCLA has. There is undoubtedly more pressure on the Zags, so it wouldn’t be a shocker if they came out a little cold and let UCLA make it a close game for awhile.
With a perfect season and trip to the national championship on the line, I anticipate Baylor being content with running clock and holding the ball each possession in the 2nd half if they do get a decent lead, giving UCLA ample opportunity to cover.