College Basketball Predictions: Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Loyola Marymount Lions

No. 7 Gonzaga Bulldogs at Loyola Marymount Lions
Thursday, 1/31/12, 11:00 PM EST, TV:  ESPN2
Opening Point Spread:  Gonzaga -16.5
Current Betting Line:  Gonzaga -15.5
Opening Total:  142
Current Total:  142.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are second in the nation in field goal percentage
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are second in the nation in field goal percentage

Gonzaga has won back-to-back games since suffering a one-point road loss to Butler, as it comes off a 66-52 victory over San Francisco as 20-point home favorites, while going UNDER the total for a fourth consecutive contest.  The Bulldogs have three probable starters averaging in double figures, with junior center Kelly Olynyk leading the way, scoring 18.2 points per game.  He has managed to average 25.0 points over his last five games, including a 26-point performance against BYU two games back.  Gonzaga is 11-14 ATS on the road the last two-plus seasons, which is important to consider when looking over the college basketball betting lines Thursday night.

The Bulldogs have gone 26-3 versus the Lions under the direction of head coach Mark Few, while they’ve won 34 of the last 37 meetings dating back to 1996.  Both of Gonzaga’s losses this year have come to ranked teams, while it has managed to win its last three West Coast Conference games by double-digits.  Offensively, the team ranks second in the country in shooting 51.1 percent from the field, trailing only the Creighton Bluejays in that category.

Loyola Marymount has lost and failed to cover the spread in its last four games, as it suffered a 60-57 setback to the Pepperdine Waves as 5.5-point home favorites last time out, while going UNDER the total for the first time in four opportunities.  The Lions have shot a combined 35.9 percent during their current funk, but have lost each one by nine or fewer points, which makes them a bit attractive in making your college basketball picks against the spread.  Loyola Marymount is 1-7 ATS when playing with five or six days rest over the last two-plus seasons, with the OVER going 6-2 in that situation.

The Lions have three probable starters averaging in double figures, with junior guard Anthony Ireland leading the way, scoring 20.0 points per game, which ranks second in the WCC and 15th nationally.  He does a lot of his damage at the charity stripe—knocking down 81.4 percent of his attempts from that area.  The program is 4-4 in its last eight games versus ranked opponents.

Sports bettors will likely play the total in this affair, as the OVER is 7-3-1 in the Lions last 11 games overall.

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