Iowa Hawkeyes vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Picks

December 16, 2020

Date:Saturday, December 19th
Time:12:00 PM ET
Network:N/A
Venue:Sanford Pentagon
Spread:Gonzaga -3.5
O/U:186.5

The 6-0 Iowa Hawkeyes will go on the road Saturday to face off with the 3-0 Gonzaga Bulldogs at 12:00 PM ET in the Sanford Pentagon. The Bulldogs come in as 3.5-point home favorites and we’re expecting plenty of points with a high over/under. These are two of the best teams in the entire nation and this is going to be a phenomenal game. Let’s dive into how this game will go down and who will end up covering the spread. Make sure to check out the rest of my CBB Picks and Predictions for the upcoming weekend slate of games.

When The Iowa Hawkeyes Have The Ball

The Hawkeyes have run through all six of their opponents to this point, with the closest game being a 12-point victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels. The Hawkeyes have the best player in the country and the odds-on favorite to win National Player of the Year in Luka Garza. The big man has put up 29.2 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. He’s trouble for any team to slow down and I’m not sure any of these Gonzaga bigs have a chance.

Garza is surrounded by excellent role pieces Joe Wieskamp being the first. He averages 15.2 points per game on top of 5.8 rebounds, giving Iowa the ability to score it when Garza goes cold. CJ Frederick, Patrick McCaffrey, and Jordan Bohannon have all been cold to start the season, but are guys that can put up 20+ points in any game. The offense runs through Garza and then they figure out which other guy or two may also have the hot hand that night.

When The Gonzaga Bulldogs Have The Ball

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have only played three games to this point with each of their last five getting canceled or postponed. Their three wins have at least been quality, beating 5th-ranked Kansas and 11th-ranked West Virginia. Gonzaga plays at a top-20 pace and have four different guys that can put up 20+ points with ease. Forwards Drew Timme (23.3 pts, 6.3 reb) and Corey Kispert (22.3 pts, 5.0 reb, 1.3 ast) lead the way and they have both made substantial leads from just a season ago.

Freshman PG Jalen Suggs is a monster and he gives this Bulldogs offense a new look. Florida-transfer Andrew Nembhard splits time at PG and the pair even share the court at times. They’re the other two plays averaging double-figures and combine for nine assists per game. The Bulldogs might be the most talented team in college basketball and it remains to be seen who will take them down. 

Spread Prediction

The Pick: Iowa +3.5

The Bulldogs are undoubtedly a top-3 team this season, but I’m starting to think Iowa might be the top dog. Luka Garza is certifiably uncoverable at this point and the Gonzaga Bulldogs already have a problem playing soft at times. That’s not to say Iowa won’t struggle defensively, but Garza has a lot of help in two guys off the bench that play lockdown individual defense. Garza is then surrounded by a bunch of players that aren’t far off from what Gonzaga throws out there on the perimeter. Assuming Iowa can stay hot from deep, I like them to keep this game close and I wouldn’t be surprised if they won it. This is a potential Final Four matchup.

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Total Prediction

The Pick: Over 168.5
Final Score Prediction: Iowa 86, Gonzaga 83

Both of these teams love to get out in the open floor and run. It’ll be the Hawkeyes who are the slower squad and a lot of that has to do with running a halfcourt attack through a big man. They still play at a torrid pace and the over is the only bet I’d be comfortable making here. Gonzaga is going to average around 90 points per game when all is said and done and I don’t expect many unders to hit early in the season for them. 

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