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Gonzaga has been one of the best teams in the nation, but they have struggled with their consistency in the tournament so far after two sluggish first halves. Let's break down the game and see where the advantage lies.

Gonzaga vs Arkansas Prediction: Can Gonzaga play a Full 40 minutes?

Gonzaga comes into this game as the number one seed, but they have hardly played like it after two very subpar performances against Georgia State and Memphis. In those games, they came out extremely sluggish in the first half as they only led by two against Georgia State at halftime on a spread of -13 and were down by 10 to Memphis on a first half spread of -5.5.

They turned on the jets in the second half of both of those games as they outscored Georgia State by 19 and Memphis by 14 in the second half of both of those games. The key for Gonzaga tonight will be getting off to a better start and I have to think there was a huge emphasis on that from Mark Few and the coaching staff this week leading up to today's game.

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Gonzaga vs Arkansas Prediction

Gonzaga has been electric on the offensive side of the ball this season as they are currently ranked first in the country in adjusted offensive efficiency, first in effective FG%, first in offensive 2-point%, and 22nd in 3-point shooting as a team. They have been anchored by their two big men down low with Timme and Holmgren.

Timme put on an absolute show in the second half against Memphis and he is probably the only reason they ended up winning that game. Arkansas has been solid on defense this season as they are ranked 14th in adjusted defensive efficiency and are top 100 in nearly every defensive category, but they will also be at a huge size disadvantage in this matchup.

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Arkansas is a team who mostly plays small ball and really only has one true post player in Jaylin Williams at 6'10. Williams is an excellent player and a very solid defender, but he can't guard Timme and Holmgren at the same time. I think Williams will do a solid job at defending whoever he is guarding but whoever he is NOT guarding will have a huge game, whether it be Timme or Holmgren.

Also, can't forget about Anton Watson within the flow of Gonzaga's offense. Watson doesn't usually look for his own shot but is a great rebounder and passer. I almost see him as like the Draymond Green for this offense as he always looks to make winning plays as opposed to looking for his own offensive opportunities. Another thing that doesn't get talked about nearly enough with Gonzaga is how well they have played on defense this season.

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They play at an extremely fast pace so some of their defensive metrics have been skewed, but overall, on the season they are number one in the nation in defensive effective FG%, first in defensive 2-point%, and ninth in overall adjusted defensive efficiency.

The Zags also do a very good job of defending without fouling as they are ranked 22nd in the nation in lowest defensive foul rate. This could be key as Arkansas gets 23% of their offensive production from free throws which is the sixth-highest percent in college basketball.

The Razorbacks rely on getting to the rim for layups and free throw opportunities, while Gonzaga excels at protecting the rim and defending without fouling, so I think Gonzaga will have a distinct advantage in the paint in this game. With that being said, I am rolling with Gonzaga 1H -5 at -108 and Full Game -9 at -110 for 1U each for 2 of my most confident college basketball picks of the night, as I think the Zags put together a solid 40-minute effort and move on to the Elite 8.

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Article Author


Joey has spent the last 6+ years betting on sports with a focus on basketball and baseball. Basketball is his main focus, and not many people know more about mid-major basketball than him. Whether you need advice on a Saturday night primetime game or a Tuesday night back-alley SWAC/MEAC game, Joey is your man.


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