A thrilling NCAA Tournament is set to culminate on Monday night with the championship game. March Madness had upsets galore this year and nearly produced the first 11-seed to make it all the way to the final game. In the end, the championship game matchup is probably the best one college basketball fans could’ve asked for. The Baylor Bears and Gonzaga Bulldogs were considered to be a cut above the rest all season long. After their regular-season matchup was canceled, we finally get to see them go head-to-head. With a national championship hanging in the balance, the oddsmakers have dubbed the undefeated Bulldogs as betting favorites.
The following offers a full betting preview of Monday’s NCAA Tournament Championship Game. Read on for vital game information, team statistics, trends and predictions for the Baylor vs Gonzaga matchup.
College basketball has been fun, but tonight’s the end of the line. For those looking who aren’t ready to say goodbye to hoops, check out our three must-see NBA games for this week!
Baylor vs Gonzaga Game Info
Baylor Bears (27-2, 13-1 Big 12) vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs (31-0, 15-0 West Coast)
Date: Monday, Apr. 5, 2021
Start Time: 9:20 p.m. ET
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium — Indianapolis, IN
Baylor vs Gonzaga Betting Odds
Odds courtesy of Bovada Sportsbook
Moneyline: BAY: (+165) | GON: (-190)
Point Spread: BAY: +4.5 (-115) | GON: -4.5 (-105)
Total: 159.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)
NCAA Tournament Championship Game | College Basketball Betting Overview
Baylor Basketball Outlook
They may be the underdog ahead of Monday’s championship game, but Baylor has not been tested anywhere close to what Gonzaga faced in their Final Four matchup. The Bears have just two losses on the season. Perhaps bowing out of the Big 12 Conference Tournament earlier than they hoped was a blessing in disguise. Scott Drew’s team has looked laser-focused throughout March Madness. After getting through Wisconsin and Hartford in the opening weekend, Baylor blitzed Villanova and held off Arkansas the following week to reach the Final Four. A dominant win over Houston in the national semifinals has the Bears poised to capture the first college basketball championship in school history.
Part of what makes Baylor so difficult to gameplan against is the sheer volume of weapons. The Bears have a three-headed monster in the backcourt, and it was on full display against Houston. All three of Jared Butler (17), Davion Mitchell (12) and MaCio Teague (11) scored in double figures just as they did in the Elite 8 against Arkansas. The trio also combined to dish out 21 assists, with 11 of those coming courtesy of Butler. Matthew Mayer continued what has been a superb NCAA Tournament off the bench with 11 points. If guard play is the key to success in March, it should come as no surprise that Baylor is one of the last two teams left standing.
Baylor KenPom Ratings
- Overall Efficiency Margin: +32.38 (No. 2 in NCAA)
- Offense: 124.2 (No. 2 in NCAA)
- Defense: 91.7 (No. 27 in NCAA)
- Tempo: 67.7 (No. 201 in NCAA)
Gonzaga Basketball Outlook
Gonzaga looked virtually unstoppable during their run through the West Region of this year’s NCAA Tournament bracket. That all changed when they ran into 11-seed UCLA in the Final Four. The Bulldogs’ undefeated record and championship aspirations were in doubt right down to the final horn. Jalen Suggs will go down as a hero in Spokane for his incredible game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer. The epic shot sent Mark Few and the Zags back to the championship game with just one box left to check: winning the first national title in program history.
While some may point to Gonzaga’s struggled against UCLA as a sign of weakness, it should be noted that both the Bruins and the entire Pac-12 Conference were sorely underrated entering the tournament. The Bulldogs had little trouble dispatching UCLA’s crosstown rival in USC in the Elite 8. This followed up double-digit wins over both Creighton and Oklahoma in the preceding rounds. Suggs is just one of four Gonzaga players to average in double figures scoring this season. Like Suggs, Corey Kispert and Drew Timme are both expected to have NBA futures. Joel Ayayi adds an international flavor to the roster while Andrew Nembhard rounds out the core five. Timme continued his stellar NCAA Tournament with a team-high 25 points against UCLA.
Gonzaga KenPom Ratings
- Overall Efficiency Margin: +38.13 (No. 1 in NCAA)
- Offense: 127.2 (No. 1 in NCAA)
- Defense: 89.1 (No. 8 in NCAA)
- Tempo: 74.0 (No. 7 in NCAA)
Baylor vs Gonzaga College Basketball Betting Trends
- Baylor 2020-21 Betting Trends: 19-10 ATS; 18-11 to the Over
- Gonzaga 2020 Betting Trends: 16-13-2 ATS; 16-15 to the Over
- Baylor is 4-0 ATS in their last four games.
- Baylor is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games as underdogs.
- Gonzaga is 4-1-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss.
- Gonzaga is just 2-5 ATS after scoring 90 or more points in their previous game.
- The over is 5-0-2 in Baylor’s last seven games as a neutral site underdog.
- The under has hit in six of Gonzaga’s last eight games following an ATS loss.
Baylor vs Gonzaga Stats
- Baylor is averaging 82.8 points per game (PPG) this season (No. 4 in NCAA)
- Baylor is surrendering 65.3 PPG on the season (No. 44 in NCAA)
- Gonzaga is averaging 91.6 PPG this season (No. 1 in NCAA)
- Gonzaga is surrendering 69.2 PPG (No. 125 in NCAA)
Baylor vs Gonzaga Prediction
Let’s face it: we couldn’t have gotten a much better championship matchup. College basketball fans were clamoring for the initial matchup between Baylor and Gonzaga to be rescheduled during the regular season. It’s only fitting that the two should meet with the right to cut down the nets as national champs. When it comes to which side has garnered the majority of bets, the advantage is ever so slightly with Gonzaga. 51% of tickets on the Bulldogs can hardly be called a significant margin. However, there is knowledge to be gained from this stat. Despite the slight advantage in ticket count and money (55%) on the favorite, we have seen the line trickle in Baylor’s direction since opening. Sharp action on the Bears perhaps?
The KenPom ratings and overall statistics might not suggest that Baylor is the better team in this matchup, but I believe the underdog is the way to go. Baylor’s depth is superior to that of Gonzaga. Consider that in their Final Four overtime win, only seven different Bulldogs logged minutes for Mark Few. Meanwhile, Scott Drew’s Bears have been seeing major contributions from various bench players throughout the tournament. Baylor also boasts the superior defense in this matchup. While both teams enjoy getting out and playing with pace, look for the Bears to take the air out of the ball when the opportunity presents itself.
The real question facing Baylor is how they’ll hold up against the likes of Corey Kispert and Drew Timme on the interior. The Bears are a guard-driven team, but I believe forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua can make a difference defensively. Mark Vital also has a knack for frustrating opponents on the defensive end. When it’s all said and done, I like Baylor to have their way in terms of pace and on the scoreboard. A lower-scoring game plays right into our hands when betting the underdog.
Pick: Baylor +4.5 and Under 159.5 (-115 and -110, respectively, at Bovada Sportsbook)