The grand finale has finally arrived. The Baylor Bears are set to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the National Championship game on Monday night. Two of the best teams in the nation will face off in a heavy-weight bout set for two halves. Gonzaga is chasing perfection and Baylor is hoping to play spoiler as they cut down the nets. The Bulldogs have a chance to become the first team to finish the season with a perfect record since Indiana did it back in 1976. These two teams were supposed to play in a tune-up game on December 5th in Indy. That game was canceled because of COVID. We finally get to watch the two juggernauts leave it all on the floor. It’s time to conclude our NCAA odds series and make a Baylor-Gonzaga prediction and pick.
Here is how the sportsbooks have set the opening Baylor-Gonzaga odds:
NCAA Odds: Baylor-Gonzaga Odds
Baylor Bears +4.5 (-112)
Gonzaga Bulldogs -4.5 (-108)
Over 159 Points (-11o)
Under 159 Points (-110)
Why Baylor Could Cover The Spread
The Baylor Bears have arguably been the most dominant team of the tournament. We would’ve given that title to Gonzaga before they were taken to overtime by the UCLA Bruins in the Final Four. Now, the Bears get to wear that crown for at least one more day as they’ve defeated every opponent by double digits this far. They are coming off of a resounding victory over the Houston Cougars in the Final Four. The Bears are riding a ton of momentum into this game.
Baylor has shot the lights out of the gym. During the tournament, this team is averaging 75.2 points per game. They have shot 41-108 from three-point land, which isn’t a fluke. The Bears shot 41.2% from three this season, which made them the best long-range team in the nation in 2021. Baylor plays a four-out scheme to spread the floor for their shooters and create lanes for crafty guards. Their only flaw might be their defense, although they have played as a cohesive unit on that end during tournament play. The Bears’ D held Houston to 38.2% shooting from the floor in the Final Four. Baylor is 4-0 ATS in the Big Dance.
Why Gonzaga Could Cover The Spread
Mark Few’s 2021 Gonzaga Bulldogs are being revered as one of the greatest teams in college basketball history and rightfully so. The Bulldogs are chasing a historic perfect season. This team hasn’t been tested since December. In fact, 29 of their 31 victories have come by double digits. Gonzaga was forced to overcome a serious threat in the UCLA Bruins in the Final Four, though. The overtime thriller saw the Bulldogs advance to the championship game on a 33-foot buzzer-beater by Jalen Suggs.
Gonzaga’s dominance is centered around its unselfish and high IQ style of basketball. The Bulldogs are always moving on offense and looking for cutters in the lane. This style of play is rare for a team that possesses such high-end talent on its roster. Drew Timme, Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs, and Joel Ayayi lead this Bulldogs team with elite contributions on a nightly basis. Gonzaga hits 63.9% of their shots from inside the arc, which is impressive for a team that averages 74.5 possessions per game. This pace is the eighth-fastest in the country. The speed and efficiency of the Zags will be crucial against a Baylor team that has played at a much slower pace in 2021.
Final Baylor-Gonzaga State Prediction & Pick
Much respect to both of these teams for getting to this point. They are both elite teams that deserve a championship. Only one will win, though. That will be the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Gonzaga is one of, if not the best college basketball team ever. Their ability to consistently control the tempo of the game is what has gotten them this far. Drew Timme is having a tournament for the ages and will be the focal point of the Zags’ offense once again. Mark Few is ready to finally get over the hump and bring the nets back with him to Spokane.
FINAL PICK: Gonzaga Bulldogs -4.5 (-108)