Bet: UCLA -23 @ -105
This one is pretty simple for me. Long Beach State is one of the worst teams in the country and I simply don’t think this is quite enough points against a UCLA team that is firing on all cylinders and looking for their 6th consecutive win. The Bruins lost their opener against San Diego State but Mick Cronin’s guys have won in impressive fashion every game since that time including a strong second half effort against a solid Marquette team last time out.
The Bruins have a balanced roster with Jaime Jaquez Jr. leading the team in scoring and Jalen Hill anchoring the defense and on the glass. There is no truth to the rumor about me taking UCLA tonight based solely off the fact that my namesake, and First Team All PAC-12 performer Chris Smith is second on the Bruins in both scoring in rebounding, by the way.
Long Beach State is simply outclassed in this one. The artists formerly known as the 49ers have one uninspiring home victory over Seattle sandwiches between two embarrassing road losses to Loyola Marymount and San Francisco. That loss to the Dons was of the 40+ point variety. While that might be a bit extreme, I essentially expect much of the same here in this spot in a game that was originally scheduled for a few weeks ago.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Bruins do travel to Kentucky this weekend for a showdown with the Wildcats so this could be a bit of a potential look-ahead spot, but my sense is the talent disparity will be on display throughout this one and I’m not going to stray away from laying the 23 points.