Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 5:30 PM EST.
Quarterfinals of Big West Conference Tournament - Honda Center, Anaheim, California
11:59 PM EST. The Anteaters of UC Irvine were Big West champs in 2017 but had to settle for a trip to the NIT after losing to Davis in that year's conference tournament. This season marks the first time in five seasons that Irvine did not win at least 20-games. While it may have taken a step back in the regular season, the Anteaters could be poised to make the leap with a championship run this year. Irvine took out Hawaii in the quarterfinals with a narrow 68-67 victory but it did not cover as four-point chalk, which probably won't make it many friends in the market. However, the Honda Centre in Anaheim is just 15 miles from the Irvine campus, which isn't that far away, even in Southern California's notoriously bad traffic. That proximity should make the Anteaters the defacto home team tonight.
The Mighty Gauchos of Santa Barbara had some big holes to fill this season, but as always, coach Bob Williams found a way. UCSB finished the season 23-8 overall and 11-5 in Big West play which was good enough to get the second-seed in this tournament. Unlike some of their conference brothers, when the Gauchos are good, the nation knows it, as syndicated radio host Jim Rome is a proud alumn and often praises his alma mater when it is racking up the Ws. Last night, as a 10-point favorite over Cal Poly, the Gauchos smashed the Mustangs 75-53. That 22-point beatdown will certainly turn some heads in the market, but do not be fooled, as this is the time of year where overreactions to single games are at their highest point so far. This short line is going to look really appealing to anyone looking over last nights box scores. The market has taken a stand in this game, as the line opened with the Gauchos as a pick 'em at most joints and now UCSB is spotting points in what is essentially a road game. That is not a situational play we can recommend. However, taking back a price with what might be the better side is something we can totally get on board with. Irvine outright,
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#883 Cal Irvine +125 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.50)