The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been as dominant of a program as any in the nation over the past six seasons. Two national championship game appearances, four number-one seeds in five tournaments, and 17 tournament victories in that span. The one thing that has alluded Mark Few and the Bulldogs? The school’s first-ever National Championship.
Here’s a look at Gonzaga’s chances and odds (@ FanDuel) this season:
College Basketball National Championship Winner +850
It feels like every season, Gonzaga is favored to win the National Title, and 2022-23 is no different. The Bulldogs share theshortest odds with Houston as they return plenty of talent while adding some key pieces through the transfer portal.
National Player of the Year frontrunner Drew Timme chose to return for his senior year and will anchor the paint with his impeccable footwork and efficient scoring capability. Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton join Timme as the other returning starters.
Nolan Hickman will be asked to step into a starting role after being an effective reserve a season ago. It will be a rotation with a perfect blend of talent, experience, and familiarity with what coach Few wants to run on the offensive end.
WCC Conference Winner -1900
Although Gonzaga is head and shoulders better than any other team within the West Coast Conference, don’t waste your time on such a steep price. Perennial contenders, Saint Mary’s and BYU should be solid squads that will compete for at-large bids this season.
Gonzaga should handle this conference comfortably. Regardless, this price is far too steep as there are much better ways to back the Bulldogs in the futures market.
KenPom Offensive Rating: 1st
This is, bar none, the most talented offensive squad in the nation. Having Chattanooga transfer Malachi Smithas a potential sixth man, who averaged 19.9 points and 6.7 rebounds last season in a strong Southern Conference, is flat-out unfair.
Gonzaga cranked up the tempo in recent years, finishing seventh and fifth nationally in pace over the past two seasons. Few will likely do so again with a smaller roster this season. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports reported that we might see Strawther as a “skilled, small-ball power forward” at just 6’7″.
If that’s the case, this team may put up 100 points semi-regularly with their track meet tempo.
KenPom Defensive Rating: 26th
There’s no way of telling why KenPom is a bit low on the Zag defense this season, but it could be their inability to force turnovers. If there was one knock on last season’s Gonzaga squad, they ranked 298th nationally in opponent turnover percentage.
Of course, they made up for it by forcing the nation’s lowest effective field goal percentage. If they can finish middle of the pack in turnovers forced next season, this defensive unit should also be nationally elite.
2021-22 Record: 28-4; ATS: 15-15-2
Gonzaga dominated most of their opponents in 2021-22, but the market had their number. They went a clean .500 against the spread a season ago, which means we mostly have an eye on how good the Bulldogs are.
They’ll be favored in nearly every game, but watch these three early-season spots where we may see them as underdogs: at Texas, hosting Kentucky, and in Sioux Falls against Baylor, a rematch of the 2021 National Championship.
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