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Gonzaga Odds: Sweet 16 West Regional Primer and Best Bet

Florida State(22-11) @ Gonzaga(32-4)

  • Where: Staples Center. Los Angeles
  • When: March 22, 2018 7:37 pm EST
  • Spread: Gonzaga (-5.5) vs Florida State (+5.5) / Texas A&M (+3) vs Michigan (-3)
  • Moneyline: Gonzaga (+140), Michigan (+175), Texas A&M (+400), Florida State (+800)

It’s not exactly the Fab Five, but Michigan is making some waves in the NCAA Tournament.

The #3 seeded Wolverines put on a workmanlike effort against Montana in a 61-47 Round of 64 win. Sophomore guard Charles Matthews scored 20 points, but it was a lackluster shooting day. In the second game, Michigan awoke and overcame a late deficit to beat a strong Houston Cougar team, freshman Jordan Poole sinking the winner.

That sounds like progress. But UM must now greet Texas A&M, a team that just destroyed North Carolina by 21 points, in the Sweet 16.

Sweet 16 betting preview: Texas A&M vs Michigan

To answer the question of just how good the Texas A&M Aggies are, it’s important to at least try to understand what happened to UNC.  The Tar Heels shot the ball poorly (33.3%) and couldn’t make 3-pointers, leading to only Joel Berry II and one other player reaching double-digits in the lop-sided loss.

The fact that Providence, A&M’s losing opponent in the Round of 64, shot almost 45% in their 73-69 heart-breaker makes us think that the UNC cold-spell from the field was just that. Poor shooting has been an issue for North Carolina in the recent past. The Aggies are a quality defensive team, but they can’t shut down NBA talent by sheer force of will.

However, don’t overlook the sheer rebounding terror of the team from College Station. The tall, physical Aggies grabbed an amazing 50 rebounds against UNC. 6’10” forward Robert Williams and fellow big man D.J. Hogg combined for 21 between them.

How can the Wolverines cope? Michigan’s Moritz Wagner is a tremendous power forward with great size and leaping ability, but he’s the only guy on the roster who can deal with Williams on the glass while also contributing in other areas. 7’1″ sophomore center Jon Teske is a spot-player who is used as a defensive specialist.

Wagner can hit from downtown, but the rest of the Wolverines tend to miss shots from time to time. Whenever that happens, A&M could simply gobble up the ball. But Providence also showed that quickness and ball-movement can be effective against the half-court Aggie defense, and Michigan has those qualities in spades.

MSB’s pick? It’s Texas A&M on the money line. Meanwhile, another Final Four favorite has been granted a game against a Cinderella 9th seed in FSU.

Gonzaga vs Florida State Betting Preview 

Gonzaga hasn’t reassured fans with a lopsided win in the tourney to date. But the Bulldogs designed to beat teams which do not have dominant athletes.

The roster is deep and well-balanced. Zach Norvell Jr. is a baller who hit a crucial 3-pointer late in the Zags’ win over Ohio State. Big Jonathan Williams marked a double-double against UNCG in the Round of 64. Unheralded Rui Hachimura came off the bench to score 25 points against the overwhelmed Buckeyes in the next game.

The Seminoles are not to be taken lightly, as they just beat 1st seeded Xavier 75-70 to reach the sweet 16.  Trent Forrest was a bench hero who scored 15 points and snagged 5 rebounds against Xavier in the ‘Noles upset win last weekend. But Phil Cofer, a key cog in the Florida State attack, has been accident-prone in the tourney to date.

ACC pundits are looking at sharp-shooter P.J. Savoy to carry the hatchet. But there’s a lack of NBA athleticism on the roster, making FSU vulnerable to the type of 40-minute team game that the Bulldogs can play.

The point spread is a little wide – we’d put it at 4 or 5 points. Not that the Zags don’t have a 60% or better chance to win their Sweet 16 match-up with Florida State. But a (5.5) spread is tricky due to “mini-garbage time” points that can be scored in the final seconds after an opponent has sealed the deal by taking a 7 or 8-point lead.

Bettors who like Gonzaga should stick to the money line against FSU.

Final Four Futures Betting: West Regional Prediction

Click here to wager on Gonzaga or Texas A&M to reach the Final Four and receive a hefty March Madness sign-up bonus from Bovada.

We’ve been touching on this every so often at MSB, but it bears repeating here – a bet recommendation is not the same as predicting which team ought to win.

Who do we think reaches the Final Four out of the West? Gonzaga has the best chance of anyone left in the field, and the Bulldogs’ odds (+140) reflect that.

But the best value is currently on the Texas A&M Aggies at (+400) to reach San Antonio. Pure athleticism is at a premium at the Big Dance these days. Not that all 64 teams lack height, speed or jumping ability. Muscle and rebounding ability like the Aggies have, however, is rare in modern college basketball.

There’s a chance that Williams and company will simply take over more games on the glass, and present a unique challenge for all opponents on the road to April 2nd. No, we’re not saying A&M is your 2018 championship favorite. But at 4/1 odds to win at least 2 more games, there are few better picks on the futures board right now.

Take Gonzaga for safety or A&M for a potentially big payoff. Either way, many questions will be answered in the next week…only to make way for new intrigue at the Alamodome.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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