College Basketball Betting: Gonzaga at Pepperdine

College Basketball Betting: Gonzaga at Pepperdine

Four of the nation’s Top 10 college basketball teams are in action on Thursday night, highlighted by No. 3 Gonzaga traveling to play West Coast Conference rival Pepperdine. The Bulldogs are a perfect 5-0 in league play and winners of nine straight overall; their lone defeat on the season came in overtime on the road versus then No. 3 Arizona. Meanwhile, the Waves have won three in a row after losing at home to Saint Mary’s on New Year’s Day; an upset tonight puts them in a three-way tie in the standings. Gonzaga hasn’t lost to Pepperdine since January 2002. Here’s a preview and prediction.


The Zags took advantage of losses to Duke, Wisconsin, and Louisville in the last week to slip into the top three in the polls. They rank 10th in the country in scoring and 2nd in field goal percentage. Like most Mark Few coached rosters, they are fundamentally sound and patient. The offense is led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer, who is averaging 16.4 points and shooting at a 43.5% clip from beyond the arc. His frontcourt mate Przemek Karnowski has averaged 18.3 points in his last three starts, and senior point guard Kevin Pangos has knocked down 16-27 from three-point range in the last five games. Gonzaga goes ten deep on the bench and owns a distinct size advantage in the paint. Containing Waves’ big man Stacy Davis will be the focus of Few’s game plan. Davis has scored at least 10 in every game but one.

Pepperdine has dropped 26 straight to the Zags and 21 overall to Top 25 opponents. To call that embarrassing would be an understatement. To snap both streaks, a smallish lineup will have to play stifling defense, crash the glass, and hit open threes when given the opportunity. Davis is a wide body in the post who also shoots a deft 82.8% from the free-throw line. He’ll have his hands full at both ends of the floor versus the Bulldogs’ towering front line. Kicking the ball out to perimeter snipers Shawn Olden and Jeremy Major will be critical to the Waves’ chances of winning. The defense hasn’t yielded more than 70 points since December 18th; Gonzaga has scored at least 79 points in seven of their last nine.

The Bulldogs are 4-2-1 ATS on the road. Pepperdine is 11-3 ATS overall, but only 4-3 ATS at home. Gonzaga has won the last nine in Firestone Fieldhouse by at least ten, and its last four road tilts by an average of 10.5 points. This is a big spread, but considering the track record between these teams, Gonzaga should have little trouble notching a 17th victory.

Bet Gonzaga -12