WCC Tournament Picks: College Basketball Betting Odds and Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 3/5/2013
The West Coast Conference Tournament gets underway this Wednesday night from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. And for the first time in the history of the WCC, the No.1 team in the nation will be playing in this event.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs closed out their regular season with a routine 81-52 romp over Portland as 25.5-point home favorites to finish 29-2 straight up overall and a perfect 16-0 in conference play. The Bulldogs have been installed as a huge 4/11 favorite to win the tournament at Bovada. They will not be in action until Saturday night’s Semifinal Round and will most likely will have to face either the No.5 seed San Francisco Dons (33/1 to won the conference tourney) or the No.4 seed Santa Clara Broncos (22/1).
Gonzaga comes into this tournament ranked ninth in the country in scoring with an average of 78.4 points a game and shooting 50.5 percent from the field. Kelly Olynyk has led the way with 17.7 points and 7.0 rebounds while Elias Harris is chipping in 14.6 points and pulling down a team-high 7.5 rebounds a game. The team, as a whole, has the perfect blend of size, speed and outside shooting to win a national title, so the WCC Championship should basically be a given. 5Dimes must like Gonzaga’s chances as it has it listed as a +650 third-favorite to win the NCAA Tournament this year.
The only other team in the WCC that has a realistic chance at knocking the Bulldogs off their lofty perch in this tournament is the No.2 seed St. Mary’s Gaels (5/2). The only two blemishes on their 14-2 SU record in conference play this season was a tight 83-78 loss to the Bulldogs on Jan.10 as nine-point road underdogs and 77-60 loss to Gonzaga as 1.5-point home favorites on Feb.14. It was just the second time all season long that the Bulldogs entered a game as underdogs.
The Gaels also have a bye all the way to the semifinals and will most likely face the No.3 seed BYU Cougars (10/1) this upcoming Saturday night. They already beat BYU twice this season, but split the series 1-1 ATS by pulling out a one-point victory as five-point road underdogs in the first meeting and winning the second game by seven points as 8.5-point favorites at home. St. Mary’s is another team that can light up a scoreboard with an average of 76.5 points a game. It is shooting 48.2 percent from the field and 38.3 percent from three-point range. The hot hands have been Matthew Dellavedova (16.5 points) and Stephen Holt (11.8 points). Holt is also one of three players averaging over five rebounds a game for the Gaels.
While there are plenty of longshots left on the board in this tournament, but the only one that is probably worth a second look is BYU. The Cougars went 0-4 against the two top seeds, but assuming they can get by the Gaels in the semifinals, anything is possible in the championship game. The Cougars were blown out by 20 points the first time they played Gonzaga this season, but just last Thursday they took the Bulldogs to the wall in a 70-65 loss at home that ended in a “push”.
Tyler Haws had a big night for BYU in that game with a team-high 19 point,s and Brandon Davies posted a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. If these two play out of their minds and get some help from Matt Carlino, who is averaging 10.6 points a game, the Cougars might just make a game of it assuming they can get that far.
Looking at the rest of the field in the WCC Tournament, Santa Clara comes in with a 9-7 SU record in conference play. Next are San Francisco and San Diego (33/1) at 7-9 in the WCC with Pepperdine (200/1), Portland (200/1) and Loyola Marymount (250/1) rounding out the field of nine teams.
Hate to take chalk like this, but for my WCC Tournament picks, I would say either lay the heavy chalk with Gonzaga or just stay away altogether and wait to bet on some of the more hotly-contested tournaments that will be starting next week.
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Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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