Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Analysis & Pick

March 24, 7:09 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Gonz -9.5

Gonzaga makes its seventh straight appearance in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, Arkansas its second straight, when the teams meet in a West Region semi-final game Thursday night at Chase Center in San Francisco. The Bulldogs are also favored by almost double-digits for this contest, even though they haven't covered a spread in this tournament yet. How are we playing this game with our free NCAA tournament college basketball betting pick?

NCAA Tournament Betting Odds

The Sweet 16 betting lines opened Gonzaga as an 8.5-point favorite over Arkansas with an over/under of right around 155. Early betting action then bumped the Bulldogs to -9.5. According to Sagarin's CBB ratings, the Zags should be favored by 8.5 points for this match-up.

Arkansas Sweet 16 Betting Preview

The No. 4-seeded Razorbacks reached this Sweet 16 match-up by holding off 12th-seeded New Mexico State in a second-round match last Saturday 53-48. Arkansas, with both teams shooting poorly, led the Aggies 26-17 at the half, then fell down 33-32 midway through the second half. But the Hogs used a 9-0 run to regain control and held on from there for the victory. However, the Razorbacks came up short on the cover as favorites of 6.5 points. Arkansas shot just 28 percent from the floor Saturday but made 22/25 from the free-throw line, held New Mexico State to 34 percent FG shooting, and won the turnover battle 19-12. The Razorbacks opened this NCAA tournament with a 75-71 win over 13th-seeded Vermont but couldn't cover at -4.5. Stretching back into January, Arkansas is 17-3 SU, 14-5-1 ATS over its last 20 games. The Hogs are also now 8-2 SU, 6-3-1 ATS this season against teams that made this NCAA tournament.

Gonzaga Sweet 16 Betting Preview

The top-seeded Bulldogs, meanwhile, reached this regional semi-final match by holding off ninth-seeded Memphis in a second-round bout last Saturday 82-78. Gonzaga, favored by 9.5 points, trailed the Tigers 41-31 at the half and by 12 early in the second half. But the Zags used a 45-26 run to take a seven-point lead and held on from there for the W. But they couldn't cover that spread. Gonzaga shot 52 percent from the floor Saturday and held Memphis to just 43 percent FG shooting. But the Bulldogs also kept the Tigers in the game by going just 13/24 from the line. The Zags opened this NCAA tournament with a 93-72 victory over 16th-seeded Georgia State. But the Bulldogs actually trailed the Panthers by a bucket with 13 minutes left, and while they rolled to the win from there, two late GSU free throws cost them the cover at -22.5. Stretching back into December, Gonzaga is 21-1 SU, 10-9-3 ATS over its last 22 games. The Zags are also now 10-3 SU but only 4-7-3 ATS against teams that made this NCAA tournament this season.

These two programs have only met once before, a meaningless Gonzaga victory in the 2013 Maui Invitational.

NCAA Tournament Betting Trends

  • The favorites are 36-15 SU but only 24-27 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • The higher seeds are 32-16 SU but only 20-28 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • College basketball's Power 6 conferences are 22-5 SU 15-12 ATS against non-Power six opponents in this NCAA tournament.
  • The SEC is 4-5 SU, 2-7 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • The West Coast Conference is 3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS in this NCAA tournament.

Totals Report

The overs are 21-14 in Razorbacks games this season, which are averaging 145.5 total points. The unders are 17-14 in Bulldogs games this season, which are averaging 153 points. The overs are 28-24 in this NCAA tournament.

Arkansas vs. Gonzaga Predictions ATS Sweet 16

Gonzaga is the better team here and should win this game. The Bulldogs shoot the ball better from the floor and the 3-point line, hold opponents to under 38 percent FG shooting and do a little better job on the boards. But Gonzaga also shot just 16/30 from the line in its first-round tournament game, which basically cost them the money, then hit just 13/24 against Memphis. And you've gotta hit those free throws when you're trying to close out games and cover spreads. Meanwhile, Arkansas can play some defense, and after shooting so poorly last Saturday, we expect better Thursday night. We're not calling for the outright upset here, but we are taking the Hogs and the points.

Free Pick: 
Take Arkansas +9.5