27 Mar

2024 NCAA Tournament picks, March Madness bets by model

Teams with vastly different postseason histories clash when the 15th-seeded Long Beach State Beach take on the second-seeded Arizona Wildcats in a 2024 NCAA Tournament West Region first-round matchup on Thursday. Long Beach State (21-14), who won the Big West Conference Tournament championship, will be making its 10th appearance in the event, but first since 2012. The Wildcats (25-8), who won the Pac-12 regular-season title, are making their 38th NCAA Tournament appearance and ninth since 2013. The Wildcats are 58-36 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, while Long Beach State is 7-10. Arizona leads the all-time series 8-0, and has won each game by 15 points or more.

Tip-off from the Delta Center in Salt Lake City is set for 2 p.m. ET. The Wildcats are 20-point favorites in the latest Long Beach State vs. Arizona odds from SportsLine consensus, while the over/under for total points scored is 163.5. Before making any Arizona vs. Long Beach State picks, be sure to check out the college basketball predictions and betting advice from the SportsLine Projection Model.

The model simulates every Division I college basketball game 10,000 times. It enters the 2024 NCAA Tournament on a 148-106 roll on all top-rated college basketball picks dating back to last season, returning more than $1,700 for $100 players. It also has a strong 29-19 (+810) record on top-rated spread picks this season. Anyone following has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Long Beach State vs. Arizona 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 odds and betting lines for Arizona vs. Long Beach State:

Long Beach State vs. Arizona spread: Arizona -20
Long Beach State vs. Arizona over/under: 163.5 points
Long Beach State vs. Arizona money line: Long Beach State +1270, Arizona -2620
LBSU: The Beach have hit the money line in 18 of their last 30 games (+11.00 units)
ARIZ: The Wildcats have covered the spread in 21 of their last 33 games (+7.80 units)
Long Beach State vs. Arizona picks: See picks at SportsLine
Why Arizona can cover
The Wildcats have four players averaging double-digit scoring, led by senior guard Caleb Love. In his first season at Arizona after spending three years at North Carolina, he has scored 10 or more points 30 times, and 20 or more 14 times, including a season-high 36 in an 87-78 win over Oregon on Jan. 27. In 33 games, all starts, he is averaging 18.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 32 minutes.

Also helping power Arizona is senior center Oumar Ballo. In 33 games, all starts, he is averaging 13.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 25.9 minutes. He has 18 double-doubles on the year, including two in the Pac-12 Tournament. He scored 14 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in a 67-59 semifinal loss to Oregon on Friday. He had 10 points and 13 boards in a 70-49 win over USC in the Pac-12 quarterfinals. See which team to pick here.

Why Long Beach State can cover
The Beach have been on a roll this past week, sweeping through the Big West Tournament. Senior guard Marcus Tsohonis is a big reason why as he poured in 25 points, added four assists, three rebounds and two steals in the 74-70 win over UC Davis in Saturday’s title game. He had 15 points in the 83-79 win over UC Irvine in the semifinals and had 19 before fouling out in the 86-67 quarterfinal victory over UC Riverside. In 30 games, including 26 starts, he is averaging 17.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals in 29.1 minutes.

Junior guard Jadon Jones enters the NCAA Tournament as Long Beach State’s second-leading scorer at 12.2 points per game. In 33 games, including 28 starts, Jones also averages 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals, 1.7 assists and one block in 30.2 minutes. He is connecting on 42.3% of his field goals, including 37.9% from 3-point range and 84.9% at the foul line. See which team to pick here.

How to make Arizona vs. Long Beach State picks
SportsLine’s model is leaning Under on the point total, projecting 157 combined points. It has also generated an against-the-spread pick that cashes in nearly 60% of simulations. You can only get the model’s pick at SportsLine.

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