Unbeaten Iowa An Underdog Against Top-Ranked Gonzaga

Posted on December 18, 2020

The third-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes believe they may be the best team in the nation. On Saturday, Iowa will have a chance to prove it when they meet up with No. 1 Gonzaga.

Do oddsmakers see the unbeaten Hawkeyes as a favorite against the Bulldogs?

How to watch Iowa vs. Gonzaga

  • What: No. 3 Iowa (6-0) vs. No. 1 Gonzaga (3-0)
  • When: 11 a.m. CST, Saturday, Dec. 19
  • Where: Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, SD
  • TV: CBS
  • Online Livestream: CBS Sports App
  • Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network
  • Satellite Radio: Sirius Channel TBD; XM Channel TBD
  • Online Radio Stream: Hawkeyesports.com
  • Live Stats: Hawkeyesports.com

Oddsmakers like the Zags

The oddsmakers expect Saturday’s clash to be a close one, but are siding with the top-ranked Bulldogs.

FanDuel Sportsbook lists Gonzaga as a 3.5-point favorite against Iowa on Saturday.

When it comes to the moneyline, Gonzaga is listed at -176 to win, while Iowa is getting odds of +148 to win straight up.

The over/under is listed at 171.5 points for this contest.

Iowa and Gonzaga without much history

These two programs haven’t had much history to look back on.

Only three times prior have the Hawkeyes and Bulldogs met on the hardwood. Iowa holds a slight 2-1 advantage in the series.

The last encounter came in 2015, a dominant 87-68 Gonzaga victory.

Iowa sports bettors should feel good about the Hawkeyes today. They are 13-2-1 against the spread in their last 16 neutral site games. Iowa is also 6-1 ATS in their last sevens games against a winning team.

Gonzaga is just 1-4 ATS in their last five Saturday games.

Hawkeyes continue to dominate

Iowa has continued to tear up the competition in recent outings.

The Hawkeyes are 6-0 with double-digit wins in every contest. They are 5-1 against the spread in the six games, only failing to cover a 28.5-point spread against Southern.

In the last week, the Hawkeyes have dominated Iowa State 105-77 and Northern Illinois 106-53.

The Hawkeyes are leading the nation in scoring at 100.5 points per game. They are shooting 51% from the field as a team and 39.8% from three-point land.

Luka Garza remains the favorite to win the John R. Wooden Award, averaging 29.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

Garza’s shooting has been unbelievable. He is 68.4% from the arc and 69.1% from the field.

FanDuel is listing Garza as a -300 favorite to win the award right now, while Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu the next closest at +350.

Junior guard Joe Wieskamp has put up 15.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while hitting 50% of his three-point shots.

Sophomore forward Jack Nunge is adding 10.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

Gonzaga could be rusty after layoff

Gonzaga opened its season with three solid wins over Kansas, Auburn and West Virginia.

However, the Bulldogs had to pause their season prior to a meeting with No. 2 Baylor on Dec. 5. Gonzaga stopped all team activities for two weeks due to COVID-19.

The Bulldogs haven’t had a game since Dec. 2, which could lead to some rust against Iowa on Saturday afternoon.

Through the three games, Gonzaga is 2-1 against the spread, failing to cover an 8.5-point spread in an 87-82 win over West Virginia.

Gonzaga has a great 1-2 offensive punch in forwards Drew Timme and Corey Kispert. Timme leads the team with 23.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Kispert is adding 22.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest.

Timme is listed at +600 to win the John R. Wooden Award right now, while Kispert is getting +2500 odds.

As a team, Gonzaga ranks eighth nationally in scoring (93.0 ppg), but the team is shooting just 29.1% from the arc.

Defensively, Gonzaga is allowing 79.7 points per game, which ranks 292nd nationally. Their three-point defense sits 223rd (34.3%).

That’s where Iowa can really attack, as the Hawkeyes shoot nearly 40% from the arc as a team.

Photo by Charlie Neibergall / AP
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life and has been writing professionally 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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