The 2021 college basketball title game is on tap, and the match-up is set between top seeds Gonzaga and Baylor. Plenty of articles, videos and opinions covering the match-ups and breakdowns, and leading online sportsbook BetOnline reporter Dave Mason noted that early action was nearly split with 52% of the spread money (handle) on Gonzaga -4.5. More bettors are taking the over 159 with greater than 70% of the money expecting a high scoring game. However, the total has dipped down slightly, as has the moneyline on Gonzaga to win the game; now -195.
BetOnline has the Most Outstanding Player award prop and odds down to two favored Gonzaga players: Drew Timme (+100), and Jalen Suggs (+110). If Baylor wins, Davion Mitchell (+500) and Jared Butler (+600) may prove to be the best plays at 5-6 times greater odds.
In looking at other picks, players and props for the national championship game, I made a play on Gonzaga senior guard Joel Ayayi to make more than 1.5 three pointers. You can review more of the analysis in my article and Championship game update at Forbes. Feeling is more attention on Suggs, and Ayayi is going to go out shooting in his final collegiate game. Ayayi may well go over his over/under of 13.5 points as well if he hits a few 3's as anticipated, but money has come in a bit on the Under for that prop.
Highest Scoring Teams in NCAA Tournament Championship
I don’t have a bet on side or total yet, and this may be a game to get more involved on in-play wagering as you see how the teams come out early. I favor a first half Under with Gonzaga off the thrilling and emotional buzzer-beater bank shot by Jalen Suggs.
The keys to NCAA Tournament success have been strong and on display for these two high-scoring teams. The recent history of No. 1 seeds has continued for these two teams since reaching the Sweet 16. Gonzaga can now become the first college basketball team to go undefeated and win the national title since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers under coach Bob Knight.
More data and scoring info was provided to me through a contact of Mr. East. Beyond the fact that Gonzaga is averaging a NCAA-best 91.6 points per game and Baylor No.4 in the country averaging 82.8, we have rare match-up of very high scoring teams in the championship game. During the NCAA Touranment, Gonzaga is averaging 89.2 points per game with the overtime win over UCLA, and Baylor is averaging 75.2 points per game in the tournament with its defense performing better holding opponents to an average of exactly 60 points per game.
Can the Bears contain Gonzaga's most efficient high-scoring offensive attack and strong shooting? Will the Zags be less efficient off their toughest test of the season and emotional win over UCLA?
Here is a little deep dive into championship scoring when two high-scoring teams meet, and average at least 80 points per game.
Since the 2002 NCAA Basketball Championship game involving two teams that combine to average 160 points or more per game, there has been six occurrences of these match-ups. Those teams combined to average 176.5 PPG, and in the championship game they produced an average score of 158.1 points - right at the posted total between Gonzaga and Baylor. So the combined score in the championship game fell more than 18 points below the two teams average combined scoring for the season.
All the teams that entered the championship game in this scoring situation averaged 11 points per game fewer in the championship game. Taking Gonzaga and Baylor's scoring, that would mean the Zags 80.6 and the Bears 71.8 for a estimated margin of victory of 9.0 points favoring Gonzaga with a total ending up with 152.4 points.
So the small sample size history suggests these teams won't reach their scoring averages with it all on the line in the Championship game.
Gonzaga has been the most consistent and best team this season with Baylor right behind. The Bulldogs took their heavy punches from UCLA, which many championship teams do at one point during the NCAA Tournament. Watch history tonight as Gonzaga completes and undefeated and unblemished season as the 2021 college basketball national champion.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay