College Basketball Picks: UCSB Gauchos vs. Washington Huskies

UCSB Gauchos at Washington Huskies
Friday, 12/16/11, 10:00 PM EST, TV:  N/A
Opening Point Spread:  Washington -8
Current Betting Line:  Washington -7.5
Opening Total:  150
Current Total:  152
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Washington Huskies will open up a five-game homestand Friday night against the UCSB Gauchos

UCSB will play its second consecutive game on the road after picking up a 65-61 win over San Diego as 10-point favorites Tuesday night.  The Gauchos have failed to cover three straight games that includes two overtime losses at home to the San Diego State Aztecs and UNLV Runnin’ Rebels.  Casual basketball fans shouldn’t overlook this program, as its ranks 14th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Poll, which currently has the Creighton Blue Jays atop the list.  UCSB is 10-12 ATS as an underdog the last two-plus years.

The Gauchos were led by forward Jaime Serna’s career-high 22 points against the Torreros, while he also managed to block five shots.  UCSB will need a total team effort in order to pull off this upset, meeting Washington for the third time in school history, dropping both contests.  Free-throw shooting could be a major factor in determining the winner in this matchup, which could be an advantage for the visitory.  UCSB is shooting 71.3 percent from the charity stripe, which is actually down from its 75.2 percent mark from a year ago.

Washington returns home to start a five-game homestand and will look to snap a three-game losing streak that includes an 86-80 loss to the Duke Blue Devils as eight-point neutral-site underdogs on Dec. 10.  “I learned we’re capable of being competitive with just about anyone,” stated Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar despite losing three games in a row away from home.  Fans should anticipate a bounce back performance, as the program has won 31 consecutive non-conference home games.  Washington is 2-1 ATS as a home favorite of 6.5 to 9 points the last two-plus campaigns.

The Huskies should have plenty of motivation to pick up the victory Friday night inside the Alaska Airlines Arena, as the next win will be Romar’s 200th with the program.  Washington has averaged 21.7 wins per season during his nine-year stint on campus, amassing four of the seven largest win totals in school history.  Offensively, the team is averaging a Pac-12 Conference best 80.4 points through eight games, but also allowing ranking 10th in giving up 73.9 points a contest.

Bettors will likely back the Huskies due to their 10-4-1 ATS mark in non-conference action, while the Gauchos are 1-4 ATS as a road underdog.

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