NCAA Tournament Betting: Can McNeese State Upset Gonzaga?

Nicholas Vazquez
Nicholas Vazquez@nickvaz
NCAA Tournament Betting: Can McNeese State Upset Gonzaga?

The first two days of the NCAA Tournament are like Christmas for sports fans, especially if we come prepared with knowledge before things kick off. If we do enough research, we should be able to find some value when taking a look at the college basketball odds at FanDuel Sportsbook?

The 2024 edition of the big dance has arrived, and here at FanDuel Research, we'll have you covered with a betting guide for each game.

All college basketball odds come from FanDuel Sportsbook, and lines may change after this article is published.

NCAA Tournament Betting Picks

McNeese State vs. Gonzaga Betting Odds

Date and Time: Thursday, 3/21, 7:25 Eastern Time

Spread: Gonzaga -5.5 (-120)

Total: 149.5


McNeese vs. Gonzaga Statistical Breakdown

Advanced stats from KenPom, Bart Torvik and numberFire.


  • numberFire Ranking: 67th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 81st
  • KenPom Ranking: 61st
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 84th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 51st
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 282nd


  • numberFire Ranking: 16th
  • Bart Torvik Ranking: 14th
  • KenPom Ranking: 15th
    • Adjusted Defensive Efficiency Ranking: 46th
    • Adjusted Offensive Efficiency Ranking: 9th
    • Adjusted Tempo Ranking: 83rd

McNeese vs. Gonzaga Best Bet

Gonzaga Moneyline (-250)

The Gonzaga Bulldogs enter the tournament as a 5 seed, their lowest seed since 2016 as an 11 seed. They made it to the Elite Eight last season, but that team was 28-5 heading into the tournament while this team is 25-7.

They'll take on the McNeese State Cowboys, winners of the Southland conference. They've qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002.

While all three rating systems have Gonzaga in the 14-to-16 range overall, their rating for McNeese varies a lot. Bart Torvik has them all the way down at 81 while they are 61 by KenPom.

It will be a struggle for the Cowboys to keep with the Bulldogs if they play at the slow pace they have all season. With the 282nd-ranked adjusted pace and 51st-best offense, it's unlikely they can compete with Gonzaga and their ninth-ranked offense.

The model on numberFire gives Gonzaga's moneyline a five-star rating, so that's our best bet for this game.

McNeese vs. Gonzaga Prop Bet

Method of First Basket: Gonzaga Two-Point Field Goal (+155)

We expect Gonzaga to play well -- especially on offense.

The way the Bulldogs tend to play can lead us to make this bet on the method of the first basket. Their 31.9% three-point rate was 309th in the country, and their free-throw rate is 220th in the country.

McNeese was not a terrible defensive team this season, but they struggled in one key area for this prop. They had a defensive rebound rate that was 239th in the nation. This could give the Bulldogs second-chance opportunities to get the first basket on a put back.

This is the most likely outcome for this market, but we'd still get a nice payoff at +155.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.