Big West NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet Cal Poly Plus Odds Over UC Irvine

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, February 3, 2016 8:26 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016 8:26 PM UTC

Good value is not only confined to Power 5 conferences, and such is the case tonight with the Cal Poly Mustangs looking like live home underdogs vs. Cal Irvine in Big West action.


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NCAA Basketball Pick: Cal Poly +3½ 
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle


There appears to be good late night value in the Big West Conference on Thursday when the potentially overvalued Cal Irvine Anteaters (17-6, 10-10-1 ATS) turn up as road favorites when they pay a visit to the Cal Poly Mustangs (8-12, 6-11 ATS) at Mott Gym in San Luis Obispo, CA at 10:00 ET with live audio only available at

The point spread at Heritage Sports has Cal Poly as a moderate home underdog for this contest with the current line at +3½ on the NCAA Basketball odds board at odds of +100.


Irvine Leads the Way in Big West
Cal Irvine was one of the preseason favorites to win the Big West this season after winning the Big West Tournament as a two-seed last year and then proceeding to throw a scare into Louisville before just missing 57-55 in the NCAA Tournament, and the Anteaters have fulfilled their forecasts so far leading the conference with a 6-1 mark. The lone loss did come in their last game though, and it was a bad loss 76-60 at home to Cal Santa Barbara on Saturday.

Cal Poly on the other hand has disappointed going only 8-12 overall and 2-5 inside the conference after being the losing NCAA Basketball pick the last two games, first at home to UC Riverside and then on the road visiting the reigning Big West regular season champions in UC Davis. That could be serving to give the Mustangs good underdog value at home here though, as this is a very well coached team under Joe Callero that is better than its record.


Mustangs Do Not Beat Themselves
The Mustangs actually did well to go 6-7 during the non-conference portion of their schedule considering that they faced the 24th ranked non-conference SOS in the county according to the Pomeroy Ratings, a schedule that included the likes of Saint Mary’s, Texas A&M, USC, UCLA and UNLV! Granted they did not beat any of those heavyweights, but one of their conference wins did come vs. another Pomeroy Top 100 team in 77th ranked Long Beach State.

Furthermore that win over the 49ers came on the road, which only goes to show what Poly is capable of with its best effort. Yes, the Mustangs have been disappointingly erratic in league play winning just one other game besides the upset at Long Beach, but they can be expected to bring their best effort tonight at home hosting the first place team in the Big West, and doing so could result in another upset, albeit a smaller one at only +3½.

Cal Poly plays disciplined basketball by not turning the ball over, ranking 17th in the country in offensive turnover percentage at just 15.2 percent vs. a national average of 18.4 percent, a feat that looks even better when you consider the killer non-conference slate, and the Mustangs are also a very good perimeter shooting team ranking 44th in the land in three-point shooting at 38.0 percent.


Will Irvine Score Enough?
Now, we have a lot of respect for the Anteaters and their 17-6 overall record, as they are one of the better defensive teams in the Big West allowing just 63.5 points per game overall to rank 19th in the country in scoring defense. However, the strength of the Irvine defense is the interior where it is 14th in the county in two-point defense allowing just a 41.5 percent success rate.

As mentioned though, the strength of the Poly offense is on the perimeter, so the Mustangs are quite capable of shooting right over the normally staunch Irvine defense from beyond the three-point arc. If that happens, it could put the favored Anteaters at a disadvantage if they need to rely on their offense to win this game.

That is because scoring is not a strong suit for a Cal Irvine offense ranked 209th in the nation in offensive efficiency and 215th in effective field goal percentage at 48.9 percent. The Anteaters do not figure to match the Mustangs from beyond the arc as they are only 208th in three-point shooting at 33.6 percent, and to add insult to injury, Irvine is not a good foul shooting team either at 68.5 percent.


Underrated ‘Stangs
Finally, while the record does not reflect it, Cal Poly is an experienced team that still has seven players left on the roster from the team that crashed the NCAA Tournament two years ago after winning the Big West Tournament as a seven-seed, and that experience is another reason why the Mustangs are so fundamentally sound offensively without turning the ball over.

This is a team that can beat anyone in the Big West on any given night when it plays up to its full potential, and we are looking for Cal Poly to do just that while pulling the mild upset at home over first place Cal Irvine on Wednesday.

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