Gonzaga vs. Norfolk State Betting Predictions

Gonzaga vs Norfolk State NCAA Tournament
Gonzaga vs. Norfolk State NCAA Basketball

No. 16 seed Norfolk State takes on No. 1 Seed Gonzaga Saturday in a first round matchup featuring the top offensive team in the country in the Zags. Gonzaga is only the fifth team since Indiana (1976) to enter the tournament with a perfect record. It will take a miracle for the Spartans to pull off an upset, and I expect Gonzaga to put up big points and get the win.

Gonzaga vs. Norfolk State Betting Odds

Norfolk State secured a spot in the tournament by squeaking by Appalachian State 54-53 Thursday in Indianapolis. Their reward is the chance to take on an undefeated Gonzaga team that leads Division 1 schools in points per game this season (92.1).

The Spartans have won 10 of their last 11, including the Thursday victory over Appalachian State. Their sole previous appearance in the NCAA tournament was in 2012, when they upset No. 2 seed Michigan in the first round.

Guard Devonte Carter leads the team in scoring (15.2) rebounds (5.2) and assists (4.0). The Spartans have several players who are threats from 3, including guard Jalen Hawkings (44.3% on 61 attempts). Hawkins scored 24 points and was 4-5 from 3 in Thursday’s First Four game.

The Spartans are strong in defending against the three. Opponents are shooting just 30.8% against them from deep. They held Appalachian State to 36% shooting from beyond the arc on Thursday on 36 attempts. Gonzaga enter’s Saturday’s game shooting 36.5% from beyond the arc.

The Zags enter as the favorite to win it all. Making their 23rd tournament appearance, Gonzaga finished 26-0 this season and have won 30 straight dating back to last year. Their last loss was on February 22, 2020. They defeated BYU 88-78 to win the WCC Conference Tournament Final in their most recent game on 3/9.

First-Team All-American forward Cory Kispert leads the team in scoring (19.2 PPG) and is shooting 44.4% from 3 on 162 attempts. He’s 10-25 in his last three games from beyond the arc. Kispert is surrounded by a great cast of offensive weapons, including guard Joel Ayai (11.8 PPG) (39.7% from 3), forward Drew Timme (8.7 PPG on 65.6% shooting), and guard Jalen Suggs (14.3 PPG on 35.4% 3-point shooting and a team-leading 4.5 assists per game). Defensively, the Zags are holding teams to 69.1 PPG on 47.5% shooting.

The legal sports betting sites in New Jersey (888Sport) have Gonzaga listed as 33.5 point favorites. Money line odds are -10,000 for Gonzaga at most online sportsbooks. Like a lot of these early round matchups, none of this is a surprise. You’ll have to get creative to find some value here.

I’m seeing a good game parlay of Gonzaga -33.5 and Over 154.5 at +255 odds (Sugar House). There’s always the danger that the Zags will jump out to a big early lead and rest their starters in anticipation of a deep tourney run, but I think they have enough depth to keep pouring on the points throughout Saturday’s game, making this bet worth it. Norfolk will have trouble hanging with the Bulldogs, but they can score also. Though they only managed 54 points in Thursday’s win, they can shoot from 3 and averaged 74.2 PPG for the season.

Gonzaga Norfolk State
888Sport
-10000 +2000
Sugar House
-10000 +2000
Caesars
-150000 +3500

My Prediction

Gonzaga -33.5 points
I don’t see an upset happening here. Gonzaga is under a lot of pressure to complete a perfect season, and they have a tough road ahead, but they get it done Saturday against an overmatched Spartans team.

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Conor Allen lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where he roots passionately for the 49ers, Warriors and the UC Berkeley Golden Bear football team. After previously spending several years in the Boston area he is also not ashamed to root for the Patriots. Conor currently writes about college basketball for UsaLegalBetting and blogs about a variety of sports, including the NFL at https://herecomestheblitz8.blogspot.com. He enjoys performing improv comedy and trail running in his spare time.

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