- The Gonzaga Bulldogs and UCLA Bruins over under is set at 145.5 points for their Sweet 16 matchup.
- Gonzaga heads into this game being the number one team in points per game, field goal percentage, and offensive rating
- On the other hand, UCLA sports the fourth best defensive rating, 10th least turnovers, and second most Pythagorean wins (expected wins based off point differential)
- Gonzaga is over 200 spots ahead of UCLA in pace, meaning the Bruins will have to match the quick and efficient Gonzaga offense
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The underdog Gonzaga Bulldogs (+115) will face off against Jaime Jaquez Jr. and the UCLA Bruins on Thursday. This matchup will feature a classic offense vs defense matchup, with Gonzaga leading the nation in points per game while UCLA locks down opponents, only allowing two teams to score 70 or more in their last 10.
The Bulldogs and Bruins stand side by side in odds to win the West region at +235 and +230, respectively. Perhaps the most interesting line on legal betting sites is the total, with sportsbooks being wary of balancing the breakneck speed of Gonzaga’s offense with the stifling UCLA defense.
Gonzaga vs UCLA Odds
- Money line: Gonzaga (+115) vs UCLA (-135)
- Spread: UCLA -2
- Total: 145.5
Key Players and Total Value
While it can be expected that the top players of each team like Drew Timme and Jamie Jaquez Jr. will be instrumental to their team’s success, one player that is not getting as much spotlight is Adem Bona.
The true freshman is likely to be the matchup for Drew Timme and will be crucial to slowing down Gonzaga’s leader in points, rebounds, assists, and blocks. As one of only a few UCLA players with the size to matchup against Timme, Bona’s shot blocking and defensive prowess will be on full display.
Similarly, Julian Strawther will be Gonzaga’s best matchup against Jaquez Jr. Few guards can match up to the 6’7” Jaquez, but Strawther fits that mold as well and will definitely be one of the more important players in Gonzaga’s gameplan.
In terms of the top bet for this game, the over of 145.5 is looking quite strong, mainly in part due to Gonzaga’s blistering pace and extremely efficient offense. While UCLA is far from the biggest offensive powerhouse, they have scored 75 or more points in seven out of their last 10 games.
Gonzaga is ranked 34th in pace, meaning UCLA will have to push their offense to keep up as they are just 253rd in the nation. With around five more possessions per game for Gonzaga, their offense will look to score early and often before UCLA can get in rhythm. Add in the elite field goal percentage of almost 53% and UCLA may have their hands full even with their fourth best defensive rating.
The Bulldogs have also covered this total often, with both of their March Madness games easily going over as well as eight of their last 10. A major boon for the Bruins here will be the Bulldogs’ 153rd ranked defense, which will lead to many points being scored even by UCLA’s middling offense.
At -110 odds on March Madness sportsbooks, there is solid value to be had in the total, especially because in the last two matchups of these teams since 2020 the total of 145.5 went over in both.
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Jeremias is a current Florida State University student majoring in Editing, Writing and Media as well as Media/Communication studies. Primarily focused on the NFL, NBA, and NHL, Jeremias has a passion for sports statistics research that helps bettors find the blind spots in sportsbooks.