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Gonzaga vs. Connecticut odds, prediction, betting trends for 2023 March Madness Elite Eight matchup

With a trip to Houston on the line, the third-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs (+2.5) go head-to-head against the fourth-seeded Connecticut Huskies in West Regional final on Saturday night (8:30 pm. ET, TBS). Both teams experienced polar opposite victories in their Sweet 16 matchups, with Connecticut leading wire-to-wire in a 88-65 throttling over eighth-seeded Arkansas while Gonzaga rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit, only to blow a 10-point lead in the final minutes against UCLA. Down by one point with 12 seconds remaining Mark Few called out the “Villanova” play, with sophomore guard Hunter Sallis setting up Vegas native Julian Strawther for a game-winning trailer three.

In UConn’s thrashing of Arkansas, the Huskies maintained their red-hot three-point shooting in the tournament, canning 45 percent of their triples while scoring 1.27 points per possession. They made a Razorbacks defense that ranked top-20 in defensive efficiency look like a below-average unit, thriving in transition while executing their half-court sets to a tee. Six of UConn’s eight players who logged at least 10 minutes finished with an offensive rating above 100.

Gonzaga’s heavyweight battle with UCLA turned out to be another instant classic. The first 20 minutes weren’t kind to Bulldogs’ fans, as Gonzaga was unable to stop the Bruins, surrendering 46 points while having consistent defensive lapses. The Bulldogs shored up on the defensive end of the floor in the latter 20 minutes of play, holding UCLA scoreless for more than 11 minutes while completely flipping the script of the game. Senior center Drew Timme couldn’t be stopped by an undermanned UCLA frontcourt, dropping a game-high 36 points on 16-of-24 shooting. 

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Which college basketball powerhouse will return to the Final Four and keep its National Title hopes alive? Here’s everything to know about betting on Gonzaga vs. Connecticut in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, including updated odds, trends, and our prediction for this Elite Eight matchup.

Gonzaga vs. Connecticut odds

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

Per BetMGM, the fourth-seeded Huskies currently sit as 2.5-point favorites with a moneyline price of -135. That feels warranted given that the Huskies have played lights out through three tournament games. While late money came trickling in on Gonzaga after UCLA starting center Adam Bona (shoulder) was ruled “out,” the Bulldogs still closed as short one-point underdogs, and their three-point win notched the Gonzaga’s first win as underdogs this season (1-2 SU). Plenty of points are expected with two offenses ranking in the top three in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, as the current total sits at 153.5.

  • Spread: Connecticut -2.5 (-110); Gonzaga +2.5 (-110)
  • Over/Under: OVER 153.5 (-110); UNDER 153.5 (-110)
  • Moneyline: Connecticut -135; Gonzaga +115

Three betting trends to watch 

— Connecticut’s a spread-bettors dream team on a neutral court this season, covering in seven of eight games (87.5-percent cover rate).

— Along with dominating on neutral courts, the Huskies sport the nation’s fifth-best cover rate this season (68.6 percent), posting a 24-11-1 ATS record.

— The Zags haven’t had nearly as much success against the spread in neutral-site games this season, covering in just 33.3 percent of those contests (4-8 ATS).

Gonzaga key players  

As evident in Gonzaga’s come-from-behind win over UCLA, the Zags will go as far as Timme (21.5 ppg, 62.3 FG%) takes them, but the play of fellow contributors Julian Strawther (15.4 ppg, 47.7 FG%) and Anton Watson (11.3 ppg, 60.6 FG%) is just as integral to the Bulldogs’ success. Gonzaga’s third-leading scorer, Rasir Bolton (10.2 ppg, 44.2 FG%), took just one shot in 17 minutes of action last night, while fellow reserve guard Malachi Smith (8.7 ppg, 53.7 FG%) took on a larger scoring load, recording 14 points on six-of-11 shooting in 24 minutes.

Connecticut key players  

The Huskies see two of their nine rotational pieces average double-figures in scoring, with Adama Sanogo tallying 17.3 ppg on 61 percent shooting and guard Jordan Hawkins chipping in with 16.1 ppg on 40.7 percent shooting. Sanogo’s one of the more efficient scores in college basketball, boasting the No. 32 effective field goal percentage (63 eFG%) while taking a shot on 29.9 percent of possessions. Hawkins is a lethal three-point shooter who’s canned 37.7 percent of his three-point attempts (98-of-260), and when he’s on his game, the Huskies are tough to beat. Additionally, 6-6 swingman Andre Jackson might be the most important piece, as he does just about everything on the court (6.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.5 apg). 

Best individual matchup: Drew Timme vs. Adama Sanogo

All eyes will be on the battle of the bigs, as Timme’s bout with Sanogo likely determines which school returns to the Final Four. Timme’s as close to matchup-proof as it gets, but the 6-9 Sanogo has a chance to limit Timme’s effectiveness just enough to eke out a narrow win. While Timme feasted against an undermanned Bruin frontline, the Huskies frontcourt is the most complete unit he’s faced this season with 7-2 Donovan Clingan coming off the bench. On the defensive end of the court, we’ll see if Sanogo’s physicality leads to an efficient scoring night against Timme.

Gonzaga vs. Connecticut stat to know

With both offenses ranking within the top three in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency metric, this game likely comes down to whichever defense can slightly throw their opponent off rhythm. Connecticut has the upper hand on the defensive end of the floor, allowing only 93.1 points per 100 possessions (13th in D-1), while the Zags allow 99.3 points per 100 possessions (73rd in D-1).

Gonzaga vs. Connecticut prediction  

Given Connecticut’s stability on both ends of the court, their pricing as the favorite is justified. It’s always tough to bet against Gonzaga, but if there’s a team who can out-physical the Bulldogs and get key defensive stops in the final minutes, it’s UConn. Danny Hurley’s crew finds a way to carve out a three-point win, returning to the Final Four for the first time since 2014.

Prediction: Connecticut 77, Gonzaga 74. Connecticut (-2.5) covers the spread, with the game going UNDER the total (153.5).

See what BetQL is projecting for Gonzaga vs. Connecticut, along with sharp picks, value bets, and more for every March Madness game!


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