The ninth-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs have big dreams for the 2023 NCAA Tournament, and they tip things off Friday with a first-round matchup with the Grand Canyon Antelopes. The Bulldogs (28-5) entered the season ranked second in the nation but come into the tournament as a No. 3 seed. They got off to a slow start to the season but have won nine straight games, the most recent a 77-51 rout of Saint Mary's in the West Coast Conference Tournament final on March 7. They lost in the national title game to Baylor in 2021 and reached the Sweet 16 at last year's NCAA Tournament. Grand Canyon (24-11) earned its second NCAA Tournament berth in three years by beating Southern Utah 84-66 last Saturday to win the WAC Tournament.
Tip-off is set for 7:35 p.m. ET at Ball Arena in Denver. The Bulldogs are 15-point favorites in Caesars Sportsbook's latest Grand Canyon vs. Gonzaga odds, while the over/under for total points scored is 156. Before locking in any Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon picks, be sure to check out the college basketball predictions and March Madness betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. The model enters the 2023 NCAA Tournament 79-53 on all-top rated college basketball picks this season, returning nearly $1,300 for $100 players. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now, the model has broken down the Grand Canyon vs. Gonzaga matchup and just locked in its picks and March Madness predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the betting lines and trends for Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon:
- Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon spread: Bulldogs -15
- Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon over/under: 156 points
- Grand Canyon vs. Gonzaga money line: Antelopes +1050, Bulldogs -2000
- GCU: The Antelopes are 11-4 ATS at neutral sites under Bryce Drew
- GON: The Bulldogs are 5-8 ATS this season when favored by 15 or more
- Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why Gonzaga can cover
The Bulldogs, who are 13-18-1 against the spread this season, are the nation's highest-scoring team. They also can shoot the lights out, making 52.9% of their attempts from the field to average 88 points per game. Both marks lead the nation, and two-time first-team All-American Drew Timme will be looking for a storybook ending to his senior season. The 6-foot-10 forward is 10th in the nation in shooting percentage (62.4) and averages 20.9 points and 7.3 rebounds.
The bulk of the scoring is done inside the arc, but Gonzaga can do plenty of damage from long range. Their 38.2 3-point shooting percentage ranks 17th in the nation, with Julian Strawther making 72 of his 169 tries (42.6%). Rasir Bolton, Malachi Smith and Nolan Hickman have all made at least 40 3-pointers. Strawther averages 15.1 points and 5.9 rebounds, and Anton Watson scores 11.3 points and chips in 5.8 boards. Gonzaga is 3-6 ATS at neutral sites.
Why Grand Canyon can cover
The Antelopes' only loss in their past nine was to the Seattle team they beat in the opening round of the WAC Tournament. They built a lot of confidence in their three-day run to the title, knocking off top seed Sam Houston before the rout of Southern Utah. Ray Harrison had 31 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the final. Harrison took over when star Javon Blackshear was lost for the season in January and averages 17.7 points and 3.6 assists.
The X-factor could be 6-foot-9, 250-pound enforcer Yvan Ouedraogo, who will make things uncomfortable for Timme. The junior averages 5.1 points but grabs 5.8 rebounds per game and can deflect passes and block shots. Forward Gabe McGlothan averages 12.8 points and 7.9 rebounds. Chance McMillian and Noah Baumann also will have an impact, as both shoot better than 40% on 3-pointers. Bulldogs opponents shoot 34.7% from long range (246th in the nation).
How to make Grand Canyon vs. Gonzaga picks
SportsLine's model has scrutinized the Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon matchup from every angle and revealed its results. It is leaning Over on the point total, with the model projecting six players will score in double figures. It also says one side of the spread is hitting in well over 60% of simulations. You can only get the model's pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Grand Canyon vs. Gonzaga in Friday's NCAA Tournament first round matchup? And which side of the spread hits well over 60% of the time? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side of Gonzaga vs. Grand Canyon you should be backing Friday, all from the advanced model up almost $1,300 on its top-rated college basketball picks this season, and find out.