We finally made it! The Sweet 16 is here, and with it brings us some incredible college basketball games. The first of these games is Gonzaga vs Arkansas. This matchup will be played on Thursday, March 24th at 7PM EST at the Chase Center in San Francisco CA.
It is no surprise that Gonzaga, as the number 1 seed in the entire tournament, finds themselves heavy favorites against the 4 seeded Arkansas Razorbacks. The ‘Zags are 8.5 point favorites, and the over/under is set at the high total of 154.5.
Before we get into our best bets for this matchup, let’s first dive into the moneyline odds. As I mentioned above, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are the heavy favorite here. The OddsJam line prices them at -433, with the best odds being on WynnBET Sportsbook. No other book has them even below -400, as we can see below. While we certainly wouldn’t recommend betting anything with -380 odds, if you are going to take Gonzaga ML, it would benefit you to do so on WynnBET. The beauty of line shopping!
Despite being the 1 seed in the whole tournament, and also coming off a National Championship loss just last season, Gonzaga has disappointed in their first two games so far to start the tourney. In round 1 they found themselves only up by 2 at halftime to 16 seeded Georgia State, making the entire nation wonder if we had another UVA situation on our hands. Thankfully for Gonzaga, they put up 58 in the 2nd half and cruised to an easy 21 point victory.
The concerning part, though, is that they followed up that performance with another forgettable first half of play in their next game against Memphis, a game in which they were down 10 points at halftime. Of course, the ‘Zags are playing in the next round because they were able to come back and win against Memphis, but that was a fight up until the end. If Gonzaga sleepwalks through another first half against Arkansas they might not be so lucky to move on to the Elite 8.
Looking at the Arkansas side, they are a solid albeit unspectacular college basketball team. They are the 19th ranked team according to KenPom, with the 53rd ranked offense and 14th ranked defense. That defensive ranking is what the surprise is.
Head coach Eric Musselman is known for his fast paced offenses, not so much his defense. But, that is how Arkansas wins. They still like to run on offense, having the 28th fastest pace in the NCAA, but this is a defensive minded team led by JD Notae.
Overall, I do think Gonzaga just has too much talent for Arkansas to win outright, but I do like getting the points for Arkansas to cover the spread. As we see in the screenshot below, most books price Arkansas at +8.5, while we can found them +9 on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Getting that extra half point is huge in the long run, and I like Arkansas to do enough to slow down the top rated Gonzaga offense and keep this a game in the single digits.
Arkansas vs Gonzaga pick:
The best March Madness betting pick for this game is Arkansas +9 at -110 odds on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Arkansas vs Gonzaga prediction:
My prediction is that Gonzaga will win this game 74-70.