San Diego to Cover NCAA Basketball Odds vs. UCSB

Darin Zank

Thursday, December 11, 2014 3:00 PM GMT

Cal-Santa Barbara and San Diego have met each of the last three seasons, with the Gauchos winning all three of those games, going 2-1 ATS. Here's our free college basketball pick for tonight's matchup.

Toreros-Gauchos Betting Odds
Some NCAAB betting outlets opened this game with UCSB favored by as few as five points; most opened the spread at -7. As of mid-Thursday morning almost every book was chalking the Gauchos at -7.5.

Those who think San Diego might win this game outright could get +285 on the moneyline at BetOnline.

 

Toreros-Gauchos: The Match-Up
Santa Barbara returned four starters this season from a team that went 21-9 last year, 12-4 in the Big West Conference, led by BWC Player of the Year Alan Williams, who averaged 21 and 12. The Gauchos also get back a nice backcourt with a couple of guys who can play the point and one that can shoot the three real good.

UCSB opened this season with a 69-59 loss at Kansas, but covered as a 16-point dog in NCAA Basketball odds. The Gauchos then lost to Florida Gulf Coast 81-75 in overtime. Santa Barbara then won three games in a row, including a 71-43 victory over the Pac-12's Washington State, covering as a six-point favorite. The Gauchos then lost to Colorado State 65-63, but covered as a four-point dog, then beat Seattle 87-46. Last time out, Monday night, UCSB lost at SMU in overtime 80-73, pushing the spread as a seven-point underdog in NCAA Basketball odds.

The Gauchos trailed the Mustangs at the half 38-29, took a 54-53 lead with six minutes to go, fell behind by six with two minutes left, but got a pair of 3-pointers in the final half-minute to force overtime. They then went cold in the OT period, going 0-for-six from 3-point range, giving up the cover.

Santa Barbara shot just 36 percent from the floor Monday, and took too many 3-pointers (30), but also held SMU to just 43 percent shooting and committed only seven turnovers.

On the other side of this match-up San Diego also returned four starters this season from a team that went 18-17 last year, 7-11 in the West Coast Conference. However, the one guy the Toreros lost was their starting center, who averaged 12 points and seven boards a game last year.

San Diego started 4-2 this season, with a tough 81-75 loss to Boise State and a 75-65 victory over Princeton. But the Toreros have since lost their last three games in a row, 68-66 to Western Michigan, 57-48 at ranked San Diego State and, most recently, 75-68 at UCLA. However, San Diego covered as an 11-point dog against the Aztecs, and as a 10-point dog against the Bruins.

The Toreros actually led UCLA at the half last Sunday by a bucket, fell behind by nine midway through the second half, got within 70-66 with a minute and a half to go, but ran out of gas.

For the game San Diego shot 45 percent from the floor, and made eight of 20 shots from beyond the arc, but also went just 10/20 from the FT line and allowed the Bruins to shoot 48 percent from the field.

 

Toreros-Gauchos, By the Numbers
On the season San Diego is shooting 46 percent from the floor, 37 percent from 3-point range but only 65 percent from the free-throw line. The Toreros are also holding opponents to 44 percent FG shooting, and outrebounding foes by about three per game.

Santa Barbara is shooting 45 percent from the field, 37 percent from long range and 75 percent from the FT line. The Gauchos are also holding foes to just 36 percent FG shooting, and outrebounding opponents by seven per game.

In its most recent outing UCSB started three seniors, a junior and a freshman, while San Diego started three seniors, a junior and a sophomore.

Check out our NCAA Basketball Picks page for more betting tips. 

Toreros-Gauchos Recent History
These teams have met each of the last three seasons, with UCSB winning all three games by an average score of 65-54. Last year, as two-point underdogs, the Gauchos beat the Toreros 72-61, shooting 54 percent from the floor while holding San Diego to 40 percent shooting.

 

Toreros-Gauchos Betting Trends
San Diego is 2-2 on the totals this season, as Toreros games have averaged 135 points.

UCSB is 1-3 on the totals, as Gauchos games have averaged 134 points.

 

Injury Update
San Diego G Duda Sanadze, who averaged 13 PPG last year, has missed the last three games with an ankle injury, and is doubtful for Thursday night.

 

Toreros-Gauchos Free Pick
We see this match-up as a little closer to even than the pointspread indicates. San Diego has lost its last three games, but covered its last two, against quality opponents. And we never mind going against the betting flow. So we like the Toreros in this spot, plus the points.

Free College Basketball Pick: San Diego +7.5 at Pinnacle