The top-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs opened the 2020-21 season as the No. 1 team in the nation and will try to end it that way when they face another No. 1 seed in the Baylor Bears in the 2021 NCAA Tournament National Championship game Monday on CBS. The Bulldogs (31-0) are the first team to enter the title game with an unblemished record since Larry Bird-led Indiana State in 1979 and a victory on Monday would make Gonzaga the first unbeaten champion since Bob Knight’s 1976 Indiana squad finished 32-0. The matchup against Baylor (27-2) marks only the ninth time since the NCAA began seeding in 1979 that a pair of No. 1 seeds will vie for the national title.
Tip-off is set for 9:20 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. William Hill Sportsbook lists the Bulldogs as 4.5-point favorites while the over-under for total points scored is 159 in the Gonzaga vs. Baylor odds. Before finalizing any Baylor vs. Gonzaga picks, you need to see the 2021 NCAA Tournament National Championship Game predictions from SportsLine’s Matt Severance.
A well-connected writer and handicapper who has worked in the industry since 2005, Severance is on a stunning run and called UCLA to cover vs. Gonzaga in the Final Four. He is on a blistering 138-101 roll on college basketball picks against the spread, returning $2,674 to $100 bettors during that span. Anyone who has followed him is way up.
Now, he has set his sights on Baylor vs. Gonzaga in the 2021 NCAA Tournament National Championship Game. You can head to SportsLine to see his picks. Here are several college basketball odds and trends for Gonzaga vs. Baylor:
- Gonzaga vs. Baylor spread: Gonzaga -4.5
- Gonzaga vs. Baylor over-under: 159 points
- Gonzaga vs. Baylor money line: Gonzaga -200, Baylor +175
- ZAGS: The Bulldogs have won 14 straight neutral-site games
- BAY: The Bears are 6-0 against AP top-10 teams this season
Why Gonzaga can cover
The Zags can beat a team in so many ways, as evidenced by a pair of plays that were dwarfed by Jalen Suggs’ half-court heave to stun UCLA in overtime. Suggs made a huge defensive play late in regulation, blocking a dunk attempt at one end before finding a streaking Drew Timme with a brilliant bounce pass for what amounted to a four-point swing. Timme was responsible for sending the game into OT, taking a charge with 1.1 seconds left despite play with four fouls.
The 6-foot-10 Timme finished with 25 points Saturday and looms as one of the biggest matchup problems for Baylor’s guard-oriented lineup. Not only does he lead the Bulldogs in scoring (19.2 points per game), rebounding (7.1) and shooting percentage (65.4), but he is only the third player in this century to score at least 20 points and shoot 50 percent in four straight NCAA games. Gonzaga shoots 55.1 percent for the season and was 37 of 63 (58.7) vs. UCLA.
Why Baylor can cover
The Bears reached the Final Four without the usual contributions from star guard Jared Butler, an Associated Press first-team All-American and their top scorer at 16.6 per game. Butler averaged 13.0 points and struggled with his perimeter shooting during the first four NCAA games, connecting on 6 of 24 3-point attempts after converting on 44.4 percent in the regular season. That changed Saturday as Butler scored all 17 of his points in the first half, burying 4 of 5 3-pointers.
Butler is one of four players shooting at least 40 percent from distance for Baylor, nation’s best-shooting 3-point team (41.2 percent). The Bears also can bring in two more guards off the bench in Adam Flagler and Matthew Mayer, who average a combined 17.3 points and shot 8 of 16 in Saturday’s victory over Houston. MaCio Teague is the team’s No. 2 scorer (15.8 points) and can be lethal from outside, hitting 10 3-pointers vs. Texas Tech on March 7.
How to make Baylor vs. Gonzaga picks
Severance is leaning over on the total and he’s found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Gonzaga vs. Baylor? And which critical X-factor makes one side hit hard? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of the Baylor vs. Gonzaga spread you need to jump on, all from expert who has crushed his college basketball picks.
CBS Sports Staff
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