College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Long Beach State vs. UCLA: Bruins to Keep Momentum Going?

College Basketball Odds, Picks, Predictions for Long Beach State vs. UCLA: Bruins to Keep Momentum Going? article feature image

Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Juzang.

  • UCLA, which is coming off a massive win over Villanova at home, will host Long Beach State
  • The Beach have only played one game so far this season, beating Idaho in come-from-behind fashion.
  • Alex Hinton breaks down the non-conference matchup and offers up his top pick.

Long Beach State vs. UCLA Odds

Monday, Nov. 15
11:00 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Long Beach State Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

As in-state foes, Long Beach State and UCLA have become fixtures on each other's schedules. The programs have met in five of the last six years, and it would have been six out of seven had COVID-19 protocols not canceled last year's scheduled meeting. UCLA has won the last six meetings, including a 69-65 victory in 2019.

This year, expectations are on the opposite end of the spectrum for the programs. Long Beach State was picked to finish sixth in the Big West. The Bruins are the favorites to win the Pac-12, but the Bruins have bigger aspirations after reaching the Final Four last season. With added weapons to a number of returning starters, the Bruins figure to have one of the best offenses in the country. That could lend to a high-scoring game on Monday game.

Long Beach State Must Improve Defense

Long Beach State is coming off a rough 2020-21 season in which it was 6-12 and 4-8 in the Big West. The 49ers return two starters from last year's team,  guard Jadon Jones and forward Joe Hampton. Jones is an excellent floor spacer as he shot 44% from three, which was third in the Big West. He averaged 8.4 PPG as a true freshman but upped his average to 18.5 in the Big West tournament. Hampton averaged 10.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in his first season with the program after transferring from JUCO.

The 49ers also return fifth-year senior guards Drew Cobb and Colin Slater and forward Jordan Roberts. They will be joined by three transfers and three incoming freshman. In the season opener, it was transfer Joel Murray who stole the show with 28 points, four rebounds and three assists. The 49ers were able to pull out a 95-89 win over Idaho.

The high-scoring affair continued a few trends from last season. The 49ers were eighth in adjusted offensive tempo according to Kenpom. However, Long Beach State was also 332nd in points allowed and 268th in defensive rating. It will need to get more stops if it wants to be more competitive this season. However, stops may be difficult to come by on Monday night.

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Bruins Poised For Another Magical Season

After a magical run to the Final Four as an 11-seed, the No. 2 Bruins are loaded to make another run. UCLA returns all five starters from last year's team (guards Tyger Campell, Jules Bernard, Johnny Juzang, and forwards Jaime Jaquez and Cody Riley). All five starters averaged double-digit figures last year, led by Juzang's 16 PPG.

The Bruins added five-star freshman forward Peyton Watson and graduate transfer center Myles Johnson from Rutgers. Johnson averaged 2.4 blocks last season and will be a big addition to the Bruins' interior defense.

The Bruins have started 2-0 this season with wins over CSU Bakersfield and No. 4 Villanova. UCLA needed overtime to beat Villanova, but it was able to pull an early-season marquee win over another championship contender. Juzang led the way with 25 points and eight rebounds, while Jaquez had 21 points and 13 rebounds.

UCLA operated at a slow pace last season, ranking 341st in adjusted tempo. However, it ranked 11th in adjusted offensive efficiency. Thus far, that trend has continued as the Bruins are sixth in adjusted offensive efficiency and are averaging 90.5 PPG.

Long Beach State vs. UCLA Betting Pick

After a huge win Friday night, UCLA might sleepwalk its way through the half against an opponent it should beat with relative ease. However, the first part of the game will be about dictating pace. Long Beach State wants to get up and down while UCLA wants to slow the game down. However, either way I see this game going over.

UCLA was aided by overtime against Villanova, but its first two games have had 153 and 163 points. This included the blowout win over Bakersfield. The Bruins are shooting 43% from three as a team, and now it faces one of the worst defensive teams. Even if UCLA has a little shooting regression, it will have a size advantage over Long Beach State and should be able to control the glass. The Bruins are averaging 45 rebounds per game — 10.5 on the offensive glass through its first two.

Long Beach State is capable of putting points on the board and it should score enough to contribute to the over. With a total of 146.5 , it might not have to do much if the Bruins score 90+ points. I would play the over up to 150.

Pick: Over 146

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