College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Colorado vs. UCLA: Betting Guide to Pac-12 Duel
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images. Pictured: Evan Battey
- UCLA faces Colorado in a Pac-12 battle at Pauley Pavilion.
- The Bruins are No. 5 in the nation and their only loss is against Gonzaga.
- Mike Randle breaks down the game and offers up his best bet.
Colorado vs. UCLA Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
The Pac-12 season kicks off tonight for UCLA with the preseason conference favorite Bruins hosting Colorado at Pauley Pavilion.
UCLA has been as good as the No. 5 ranking would indicate, starting with a 6-1 overall record, including a perfect 4-0 record at home. The Bruins are 4-3 against the spread, including 3-1 at home.
Colorado has also enjoyed a surprisingly strong start, tallying the same 6-1 overall record, including an opening Pac-12 win over Stanford. However, the Buffs have really struggled against the spread, with only a 1-5-1 betting record.
Which teams should bettors back in this December Pac-12 matchup?
Colorado lost almost 50 points per game from last year’s 23-9 team that reached the second-round of the NCAA Tournament.
Head coach Tad Boyle enters his 12th season with the Buffaloes’ best recruiting class ever. A strong group of freshmen have provided necessary depth to offset their scoring losses. Freshman KJ Simpson has averaged 10 points per game over Colorado’s last three contests.
The Buffaloes are led by three viable scoring options that average 14 points per game. Senior forward Evan Battey (14.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG), sophomore guard Keeshawn Barthelemy (14.6 PPG, 50% 3P) and sophomore forward Jabari Walker (14 PPG, 9.3 RPG) provide a versatile offensive attack that has strong shooting metrics across the board.
Colorado ranks 44th in adjusted offensive efficiency, shooting 52.4% from 2-point and a solid 35% from 3-point range.
Colorado has also experienced some unfortunate luck, with teams shooting almost 74.8% from the free throw line. Boyle’s team is very familiar with the Bruins, which has led to very close battles over the past two seasons.
The last four games between these two teams have an average difference of less than six points per game.
The Bruins start has been even more impressive when you consider they lost their starting senior forward four minutes into the season to a left knee sprain. Rutgers transfer Myles Johnson (4.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG) has assumed the starting role and has averaged 8.3 rebounds over the last four contests.
UCLA has four solid starters that each average 11 points or more. Johnny Juzang (17.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 37.5% 3P) and Jaime Jaquez Jr. (15.6 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 35.3% 3P) both have the ability to carry the Bruins to a victory over any team. The Bruins shoot 38.7% from deep as a team (39th overall).
Point guard Tyger Campbell (11.4 PPG, 3.6 APG, 46.4% 3P) leads an offense that ranks 17th best in offensive turnover percentage.
The Bruins are also a superior rebounding team, even during Riley’s absence. UCLA ranks 13th in defensive rebounding percentage and averages 13.4 offensive rebounds per game.
UCLA’s defense has struggled, however, against the 3. The Bruins are allowing opponents to shoot 35.7% from deep, 253rd in the country.
They have also benefited from teams shooting just 69% from the free-throw line, which played a critical role in their biggest win of the season. Against Villanova, the Bruins overcame a 10-point second-half deficit when the Wildcats shot just 66% from the foul line.
Colorado vs. UCLA Betting Pick
UCLA’s lines continue to get inflated after last season’s magical NCAA Tournament run. Even with all their success, the Bruins were only 17-9 in last year’s regular season and trailed Michigan State by 10 points in their opening game.
The loss of Riley will matter most in this conference game and the scoring ability of the Buffaloes’ three top talents will allow the team to cover this spread.
I’m taking the 13.5 points with Colorado, on a line that could get higher by tip-off.
I would take this down to Colorado +13.