The third-seeded Baylor Bears will look to start another deep NCAA Tournament run when they take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos in a South Region first-round matchup in Denver on Friday. The Bears (22-10, 11-7), who have dropped four of their last six games, won the NCAA Tournament in 2021, but bowed out in the second round last year with a 93-86 overtime loss to North Carolina. The Gauchos (27-7, 15-5 Big West), who won their second Big West title in the past three years, are making their seventh NCAA Tournament trip. UC Santa Barbara is 1-6 in the tournament, posting a 70-66 win over Houston in 1990.

Tipoff from Ball Arena in Denver is set for 1:30 p.m. ET. The Bears are 10.5-point favorites in the latest Baylor vs. UC Santa Barbara odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while the over/under for total points scored is set at 141.5. Before making any UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor picks, be sure to check out the college basketball predictions and March Madness betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. The model enters the 2023 NCAA Tournament 79-53 on all-top rated college basketball picks this season, returning nearly $1,300 for $100 players. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor and just locked in its picks and March Madness predictions. You can visit SportsLine now to see the model's picks. Here are the college basketball lines and trends for UCSB vs. Baylor:

  • UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor spread: Baylor -10.5
  • UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor over/under: 141.5 points 
  • UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor money line: UC Santa Barbara +460, Baylor -650 
  • UCSB: The Gauchos are 4-0-1 against the spread in their last five games following an ATS win 
  • BAY: The Bears are 6-1 ATS in their last seven NCAA Tournament games 
  • UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why Baylor can cover

Junior guard LJ Cryer is a big part of the Bears' success. In 29 starts, he is averaging 14.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He is also red hot on the floor, connecting on 44.3% of his field goals, including 42.6% from 3-point range and 90.5% from the free-throw line. He has scored 20 or more points six times, including a season-high 28 in an 80-75 win over UCLA on Nov. 20.

Also helping power Baylor is junior forward Jalen Bridges, who is one of four Bears averaging double-figure scoring. Bridges had a monster game in the 78-72 Big 12 Conference quarterfinal loss to Iowa State. In that game, he scored 28 points, grabbed five rebounds and added two assists. He has reached double figures in three of the last four games. In 32 starts this season, the West Virginia transfer is averaging 10.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists and one block per game.

Why UC Santa Barbara can cover 

Sophomore guard Ajay Mitchell went on a tear during the Big West Conference Tournament. He scored 20 or more points in all three games, including 28 in a 92-87 semifinal win over UC Riverside last Friday. He scored 20 points and added four assists and four rebounds in a 72-62 win over Cal State Fullerton in the title game on Saturday. In 34 games, all starts, Mitchell is averaging 16.4 points, 5.1 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He is connecting on 50.9% of his field goals and 81.5% of his free throws.

Senior forward Miles Norris has scored in double figures in each of the last nine games, including one double-double during that stretch. He scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in an 81-61 win over Hawaii on March 4. It was his fourth double-double of the year. He has also started all 34 games and is averaging 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and one steal per game. He scored a season-high 25 points in an 87-71 win over UC San Diego on Feb. 25.

How to make UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor picks

SportsLine's model is leaning Over on the total, projecting 149 combined points. It has also generated an against the spread pick that hits in over 50% of simulations. You can only get the model's pick at SportsLine

So who wins UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor? And which side of the spread hits in over 50% of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the UC Santa Barbara vs. Baylor spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that has returned nearly $1,300 on its college basketball picks this season, and find out.