UC Irvine vs. UC Santa Barbara Odds & Pick: How To Bet the Big West Championship (Saturday, March 13)

UC Irvine vs. UC Santa Barbara Odds & Pick: How To Bet the Big West Championship (Saturday, March 13) article feature image

John McCoy/Getty Images. Pictured: Amadou Sow.

  • UC Irvine and UC Santa Barbara meet in the Big West Tournament on Saturday night.
  • The totals from both of their previous contests were higher, but books haven't quite adjusted, giving the over value once again.
  • Check out Andrew Norton's full betting guide complete with updated odds and a pick based on his analysis below.

Big West Conference Championship

UC Irvine vs. UC Santa Barbara Odds

UC Irvine Odds+3
UC Santa Barbara Odds-3
Moneyline+133 / -157
Time | TV11:30 p.m. ET | ESPN2
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings.

It is finally here: the Big West tournament championship tips off tonight at 11:30 p.m. ET to decide which of these two top-ranked teams will receive the automatic bid to the Big Dance.

Both the UC Irvine Anteaters and the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos have had a relatively smooth path to this game, leaving no question as to who the two best teams in the Big West are this year.

The Anteaters had a decisive win over a worthy contender in UC Riverside, winning by 17 points last game. That is certainly a good sign for UC Irvine backers in this game.

This season, these two teams had back-to-back matchups in late December, and the Anteaters won both. The total points scored in those games were 131 points in the first game and 142 points the following night.

The current over/under line is set at 126.5 points, and all signs are pointing to the over right now.

UC Irvine Anteaters | (18-8, 12-4 Big West)

UC Irvine has won six straight and eight of its past nine.

The Anteaters are a notably tough matchup. Their best player, 6-foot-9 junior forward Collin Welp, is averaging 14.9 PPG and 7.7 RPG.

They have another great frontcourt player in their 6-foot-11 senior leader, Brad Greene. Greene goes for 9.5 PPG and 7.5 RPG.

The Anteaters have really great size and play an antagonizing level of defense, as they maintain the 32nd-ranked adjusted defensive efficiency in the nation, per KenPom.

However, they can struggle offensively, as they stand at 218th in points per game.

Recently, they have gotten better on that end, though, and the progress is evident in the results. This win streak is a great indicator of their increased productivity and chemistry.

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos | (21-4, 15-3 Big West)

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos have been on a historic streak, winning 17 of their past 18 contests.
After dropping three of their four games spanning from mid-December to late December — two of which were to the Anteaters — these Gauchos have taken the road less traveled amongst college basketball programs and expected nothing less than greatness from themselves.

In the time since I wrote the Big West Tournament preview, not much has changed with the Gauchos or their best player, JaQuori McLaughlin.

McLaughlin's season average is at 15.9 points per game, but in the two tournament games that UC Santa Barbara has played, McLaughlin has had 22 points on 50% from the field and 17 points on 54.5% from the field.

He is stepping up his game even higher when it matters most, and that efficiency instills confidence in the Gauchos' offense.

Additionally, Amadou Sow, the long junior forward, has had back-to-back fantastic games in the conference tournament, scoring 20 and pulling down nine rebounds in the quarterfinals and then dropping 23 points with seven rebounds in the semifinals.

This dynamic duo, when playing at its best, can beat most teams around the country.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Don't overthink this.

The two prior games between these teams both finished over where the current line is set. The only thing that has changed since then is that the Anteaters and the Gauchos are better teams and scoring at a higher clip.

For example, since the Gauchos' insanely excellent run in late December, they have averaged 75 points per game as a team.

During the Anteaters' recent hot streak, they have been pouring in 73.4 points per game.

I'll let math and statistics be the winner of this argument. Stick to the over here; it's the simple bet.

Pick: Over 126.5.

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