Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:15 PM EST.
11:00 PM EST. Cal Santa Barbara is 9-0 at home and if you play them today, you’re only being asked to spot -1½-points. In other words, just win and there is a 96% chance of cashing the bet. The book shops have hung a pretty enticing number on the host, who is not only 9-0 at home but 4-1 in the conference and 15-4 overall but we’re urging you to proceed with extreme caution if you like the chalk.
UCSB played the 333rd ranked out-of-conference schedule in the country. Cal Irvine’s non-con strength of schedule ranked 128th, a difference of 205 positions. The Gauchos have feasted on weaklings all season long and it’s also worth noting that three of UCSB’s four losses were disturbing. The Gauchos lost by 19 to North Dakota St., by 11 to Omaha and most recently by 21 to Cal Fullerton in a game we pegged the Gauchos as being frauds. We’re not going to relent here, as we’re getting the vastly superior team that has much less market credibility than the host to anyone that follows the Big West.
The Anteaters schedule has been so much more difficult than the Gauchos schedule but Irvine has just one more loss. The Anteaters beat Texas A&M, Saint’s Mary’s and came close to beating Toledo (17-4) in their non-conference slate. They lost to Butler, Pacific, Utah State and Toledo. It’s only bad loss was to Long Beach State but every single team among 353 will suffer a bad loss somewhere down the line.
UC Irvine has received exactly one NCAA bid in the program's history (in 2015), and the Anteaters have never won a tournament game. So, yes, there's plenty of room available on this particular ground floor but here's why that history takes a dramatic turn in 2019. Russell Turner has brought back his top eight scorers from a group that went 11-5 in the Big West last season and came within 20 minutes of an NCAA bid before folding against Cal State Fullerton in the second half of the Big West title game. Stanford transfer Robert Cartwright also joined the crowd, The Anteaters are one tough defense again this year and now they’re the unwarranted underdog based on UCSB’s skewed record. This is a showdown between the top two teams (on paper) in the Big West but we’re here to tell you that the Anteaters are legit while the Gauchos are not. Now let the chips fall where they may.
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#647 Cal Irvine +106 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.12)