West Coast Conference Tournament Betting Advice and Analysis

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West Coast Conference Tournament Betting Advice and Analysis
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As we close in on the NCAA Tournament, we look at some conference tournaments that should be interesting for your college basketball betting.

The West Coast Conference Tournament has essentially been the Gonzaga Invitational in recent years.

Since 2011, the Bulldogs have won nine of 11 WCC tournaments, with St. Mary’s winning in 2012 and 2019. Gonzaga has won 18 of the conference tournament titles since 1999, so it has been the dominant program for a long time.

The Bulldogs are overwhelming favorites to win the tournament again. They are -390 at FanDuel and -380 at DraftKings.

St. Mary’s has the second-best odds at +500 on FanDuel and +425 at DraftKings before there’s a large drop-off to Santa Clara, which is +1500 at DraftKings and +1400 on FanDuel to win the conference tournament.

Discount on the Zags

Gonzaga’s 67-57 loss to St. Mary’s on Saturday was good news for anyone looking to get a discounted price on the Bulldogs in the WCC Tournament.

Along with St. Mary’s, Gonzaga will have the luxury of a double-bye, meaning both teams won’t have to play until Monday’s semifinal round and Tuesday’s championship game if they were to advance.

For a 10-team bracket, the WCC is one of the conferences that rewards its top teams for what they accomplished during the regular season, and it’s somewhat of a wonder why more traditional one-bid teams don’t do the same to give their top teams the best chance to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

At -380, Gonzaga has a 40.82% implied win percentage probability to win the WCC Tournament. But in reality, it should be much higher.

Gonzaga will likely face either BYU or San Francisco in the semifinals, and neither team put up much resistance against the Bulldogs’ frontcourt of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. In the 89-73 win over San Francisco on Feb. 24, the pair combined for 41 points, 24 rebounds on 16 of 28 shooting.

The last contest with BYU was even more dominant. Gonzaga recorded a 90-57 win, with Holmgren going off for 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, and five blocks, while Timme had 13 points in one of the team’s best showings.

BYU didn’t have a starter taller than 6-foot-6, which doesn’t give its frontcourt a chance at stopping the 6-foot-10 Timme and 7-foot-1 Holmgren.

The question becomes whether or not there’s reason to be concerned about Gonzaga in a potential rematch with St. Mary’s. The Gaels bodied the Bulldogs, bringing physicality and force inside.

Timme missed his first eight shots and he and Holmgren had just 12 points on 5 of 17 shooting while turning it over six times. Based on the success each has enjoyed this season, I wouldn’t expect them to struggle like that if they faced St. Mary’s again.

A lot of the missed shots Timme had come with his creating space, elevating and just not finishing like he typically does. Foul trouble also negated some of Holmgren’s effectiveness before he fouled out.

The Gaels also won’t have the comfort of playing at home as they did in the upset victory, and it’s fair to wonder if they can muster up the energy to pull off a similar upset on a neutral court.

There’s also no guarantee the Gaels get to the final. Santa Clara won the last meeting between the two teams on Feb. 8, 77-72, and has won six of its last eight games, with the two losses coming to Gonzaga and San Francisco. The Broncos’ strong close to the season has them on the fringe talk of the bubble.

BYU Prop

If you’re interested in betting on teams to make the NCAA Tournament, be on the lookout for this prop in the coming days.

FanDuel already his this up for multiple teams, including BYU. The Cougars are +225 to make the NCAA Tournament and -320 to miss it.

BYU has impressive nonconference wins over Oregon and San Diego State, but has faltered a bit in conference play. The Cougars weren’t competitive in either matchup with Gonzaga, lost twice to St. Mary’s but did manage a win over San Francisco.

As it stands, ESPN has BYU as the second team listed beyond Loyola Chicago on its first four out list. But that could change with one conference tournament win.

The WCC could see as many as four, possibly five, teams make this year’s NCAA Tournament. Many analysts have Gonzaga, St. Mary’s and San Francisco as locks to get in. BYU and Santa Clara could qualify with a deep run.

BYU will face the winner of Loyola Marymount and Pacific in a second-round matchup on Friday before the winner will take on San Francisco in the quarterfinals.

The matchup with San Francisco could turn out to be a play-in game for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, depending on how the other conference tournaments play out.

A win against the Dons and a decent showing against Gonzaga could be enough for the Cougars. BYU would also benefit with Loyola Chicago winning its conference tournament and no other major upsets taking place, which would take away a key at-large bid from a fringe team like the Cougars.

A few things would have to go BYU’s way in addition to them playing well in the WCC Tournament, but at +225 odds, it's worth taking a shot on the Cougars.

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Bryce Derouin

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