The third-ranked Baylor Bears will try to ride the momentum when they face the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs on Monday night for the National Championship game of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Baylor (27-2) came up against a formidable Houston team in the semifinal but cruised to a 78-59 victory. The Bears are the nation’s top 3-point shooting team, and their swarming defense has caused opponents fits. The Bulldogs (31-0) are the nation’s best in overall shooting and lead Division I in scoring, but UCLA gave them all they could handle in a 93-90 overtime victory in Saturday’s semifinals.
Tip-off is set for 9:20 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs are 4.5-point favorites in William Hill Sportsbook’s latest Baylor vs. Gonzaga odds, and the over-under for total points scored is 159, down a point from the opening line. Before making any Gonzaga vs. Baylor picks, check out the National Championship game college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. Over the past four-plus years, the proprietary computer model has generated an impressive profit of $2,200 for $100 players on its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread. Anyone who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has set its sights on Gonzaga vs. Baylor in the national championship of the NCAA Tournament 2021. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Baylor vs. Gonzaga:
Baylor vs. Gonzaga spread: Gonzaga -4.5
Baylor vs. Gonzaga over-under: 159 points
Baylor vs. Gonzaga money line: Gonzaga -200, Baylor +175
BAY: The Bears have had four different leading scorers in the five NCAA Tournament games
ZAGS: F Drew Timme is averaging 25 points over the past four games
Why Gonzaga can cover
Gonzaga is 4-1-1 against the spread in its last six games following an ATS loss, and the Bulldogs showed Saturday that they can stand up against a major challenge. They came through with any clutch shot that was required in a 93-90 overtime win against UCLA, right down to Jalen Suggs’ winning 3-pointer from long range to win it. Suggs does everything for the Zags, averaging 14.1 points and a team-high 4.6 assists and adding 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 steals. The team shoots 55.1 percent and scores 92.1 points per game, both tops in the nation.
Timme is the top scorer (19.2) and rebounder (7.1), and his leadership is critical to the Bulldogs, who are 5-1 ATS against ranked teams this season. The forward scored 25 in Saturday’s victory, making 11 of 15 shots (73.3 percent) as one of four starters to shoot better than 50 percent. The Zags shoot 36.5 percent from 3-point range, with Corey Kispert (18.8 points per game) ranking fifth in the nation at 44.5 and Joel Ayayi (12.2 points) hitting 39.5 percent. They pull down 37.9 rebounds per game, averaging eight more than their opponent.
Why Baylor can cover
Baylor is 19-10 overall against the spread this season and has been one of the nation’s most well-rounded teams all season. The Bears shoot almost 42 percent from beyond the arc, and the defense is relentless, getting nine steals and forcing 17 turnovers per game. The guard trio of Jared Butler, Davion Mitchell and MaCio Teague is the heart of the team. Mitchell swept the nation’s Defensive Player of the Year honors. and he scores 14 per game and averages 5.3 assists and two steals. He scored 12 and had 11 assists in Saturday night’s victory.
All three guards shoot better than 47 percent from the field, with Mitchell leading the Big 12 at 51.7, and Butler hits 41.7 percent from 3-point range. Butler had team-highs with 17 points and five rebounds Saturday, hitting four of six 3-pointers, and Teague added 11 and six assists. The Cougars came in as the No. 6 rebounding team, and the Bears outdueled them 33-28. They are particularly strong on the offensive end, with guard Mark Vital and forward Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua combining for 11.7 boards, 43 percent of them on the offensive end.
How to make Baylor vs. Gonzaga picks
The model is leaning over on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 164 points. It also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Gonzaga vs. Baylor? And which side of