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BYU Basketball Opens as 12-Point Underdog at Gonzaga

NCAA Basketball: Brigham Young at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Vegas released its opening line for BYU-Gonzaga and pegged the Cougars as 12-point underdogs in Spokane. KenPom gives BYU a 23% chance to win and predicts a 82-73 final score in favor of the Zags.

Gonzaga is the number 1 team in the AP Poll and has a 19-1 record on the year. Gonzaga started off slow in WCC play, which included a 7-point halftime deficit at Portland and narrow 5-point win at home versus Pepperdine, but have won their past three games by an average of 39.6 points. They are coming off a 50-point home win over Santa Clara, who had won at St. Mary’s last Saturday.

With freshman reserve forward Anton Watson out for the season, Gonzaga is down to a seven- or eight-man rotation, similar to BYU without Yoeli Childs and Trevin Knell. Knell broke his thumb during Thursday’s shoot around and is expected to miss three weeks. Gonzaga is an extremely balanced team, as evidenced by its top seven guys averaging between 9.5 and 16.7 points. 6-foot-11 big man Filip Petrusev leads the team with 16.7 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

BYU has lost two straight games in Spokane, but won the previous three road matchups. BYU’s last win came in the 2017 regular season finale, which ruined #1 Gonzaga’s shot at a perfect season.