UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State face off in a late night battle for the Big West Championship Title. How are we planning to finish out a busy day of NCAA Basketball betting, and which picks should pay out the most?

The Big West tournament championship features UC Santa Barbara going up against the number one seeded Long Beach State. This NCAA basketball pick is for all you chasers out there, and the game doesn’t tip off until 11:00 PM EST, so you should have plenty of time to make up your mind about this matchup.

The sportsbooks have opened up the NCAA Basketball odds in favor of the number one seeded 49ers at -3.5. Will this spread be too low for the hot 49ers, or do the Gauchos have a chance to steal one?

49ers on the bubble

UC Santa Barbara vs. Long Beach StateEven though they have had a tough schedule and a couple of good wins, the 49ers need this win to get into the dance. A 24-8 and 15-1 conference record will not be enough for an at large bid. They lost to Cal State Fullerton to ruin a perfect Big West run. They know that they absolutely have to win this one to guarantee a spot in the field of 68, (still getting used to saying that).

This small spread is a bit surprising, considering the 49ers have beaten UCSB twice this year; both by double figures and once by 23 points. Of course this is March and anything can happen, but Long Beach State is an impressive team. They are top 50 in the country in scoring and field goal percentage, and are a team with seven seniors and six juniors.

In their game last night, the 49ers won against UC Irvine 68-57. Senior Casper Ware had 22 points to lead the 49ers. Long Beach State has nearly five guys that average scoring in double figures, and all five of them will need to be at their averages if they want to make this one an easy win.

Gaucho Power

Coming into the conference tournament as a three seed, UC Santa Barbara has played very well down the stretch of the season to get to this point. They won 11 of their last 13 games in the regular season to improve their conference record to 12-4 on the year. They didn’t get a shot at knocking off two-seeded Cal State Fullerton, but they have won both of their tournament games by double figures. 

Led by the outstanding play of Orlando Johnson, UCSB is just one win away from an NCAA tournament berth. The 49ers will undoubtedly be locked in on Johnson this evening. Other then senior James Nunnally, Johnson is the bulk of the Gauchos’ scoring at over 19 a game. If one or both of these guys don’t have their best games, it might be a long night in Gaucho nation. 

The Sharp Pick

I normally don’t like tailing the public when they are on one side of a game at the tune of 75%, but the numbers don’t lie, and the 49ers really need this win. Long Beach State is 17-13 ATS this season and 8-2 ATS in their last ten games facing UC Santa Barbara. Long Beach State scored over 70 points both times they played the Gauchos this season and held them to an average of only 53 points per game in their two meetings. I like laying the points here tonight. The balanced scoring and team defense of the 49ers wins out for a cover and a guaranteed berth into the dance for Long Beach State.

My Pick: 49ers -3.5