Arizona State vs. UCLA Odds & Prediction: Expect Defenses to Shine

Arizona State vs. UCLA Odds & Prediction: Expect Defenses to Shine article feature image
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Pictured: Adem Bona #3, Dylan Andrews #2, Jake Seidler #22, Logan Cremonesi #20 and Abramo Canka #1 of the UCLA Bruins. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

Arizona State vs. UCLA Odds

Thursday, March 2
9 p.m. ET
ESPN
Arizona State Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
+11
-110
133.5
-110o / -110u
+475
UCLA Odds
SpreadTotalMoneyline
-11
-110
133.5
-110o / -110u
-625
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

UCLA looks to extend its win streak and make a push for a the one line in the NCAA Tournament when it hosts Arizona State.

Arizona State is coming off a miraculous upset over its in-state rival after Desmond Cambridge hit a half-court shot at the buzzer to beat Arizona in Tucson.

The Shot Heard Around the State❕

Dez wins it from half court 🤯 pic.twitter.com/GyiGFm4Rbk

— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) February 25, 2023

The Sun Devils have had an up-and-down season, but are one-game up on the four seed, which gets them a bye in the conference tournament, so this game is vitally important.

UCLA continues to look like one of the best teams in the country, gutting out a win at Colorado on Sunday. The Bruins are the top No. 2 seed per Bracket Matrix and are getting dangerously close to overtaking Purdue for a one seed. UCLA has already locked up the Pac-12 regular season title, but the Bruins need to continue winning handily to convince the committee they deserve to be a one seed.


Arizona State Sun Devils

Despite putting up 89 points against Arizona, the Sun Devils offense has been pretty lackluster this season. In fact, the Sun Devils are ninth in the Pac-12 in adjusted offensive efficiency.

They do one thing incredibly well though and that is attack the rim. Arizona State is second in the country in PPP on shot attempts at the rim and is shooting 58% on those shots. The Sun Devils are also a top-100 team in shot selection and spacing, but what has truly plagued them is their shooting from beyond the 3-point arc.

The Sun Devils are only shooting 29.6% from 3-point range in conference play, which is the worst mark in the Pac-12. They also are 323rd nationally in open 3-point rate, per ShotQuality.

It would help if the Sun Devils gave themselves ample second-chance opportunities or got to the free-throw line at high rate to make up for their poor shooting from beyond the arc, but they aren't doing that. Arizona State is ninth in the Pac-12 in offensive rebounding percentage and last in free-throw rate.

The defensive side of the ball is the reason why Arizona State is potentially looking at a first-round bye in the Pac-12 tournament. The Sun Devils are 34th nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom and defend inside the arc at an elite level.

Arizona State is only allowing opponents to shoot 43.0% from 2-point range and 47% on shot attempts at the rim. Both of those are top-10 nationally.

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UCLA Bruins

As we get closer to the NCAA Tournament, I think a lot of people are to starting to ask themselves if UCLA is the best team in the country. The Bruins certainly make a compelling case.

UCLA is second in the nation in adjusted defensive efficiency and only two opponents during Pac-12 play have averaged over 1.00 PPP against the Bruins. UCLA boasts an incredibly well-rounded defense that does everything well. The Bruins turn opponents over at a top rate, they're top 50 in both 2-point and 3-point field goal percentage allowed and they're also a top-25 defensive rebounding team.

In this matchup, the Bruins will have to be able to defend Arizona State at the rim, which they did a tremendous job of in the previous meeting, holding the Sun Devils to 16 points at the rim. What is even more shocking about that previous meeting is Arizona State shot the lights out from 3-point range and still couldn't compete with UCLA.

Image via ShotQuality

UCLA is a heavy pick-and-roll and mid-range jumper offense. The Bruins are fourth in the country in pick-and-roll frequency and 29th in mid-range jumper frequency. However, they're ninth in the Pac-12 in PPP off of pick-and-roll sets. They're also hitting 41% of their mid-range jumpers.

UCLA crashes the offensive glass at an elite level, leading the Pac-12 in offensive rebounding percentage, which is huge against an Arizona State side that has struggled on the offensive glass.

The Bruins don't take a high number of 3-point shots and don't get to the free-throw line at a high rate, so they are pretty reliant on mid-range jumpers and finishing at the rim.


Arizona State vs. UCLA Betting Pick

This is a good spot to back an under. Arizona State went crazy from 3 in the previous meeting and was still only able to score 62 points. So what happens when the Sun Devils regress back to the 3-point shooting team they've been during the rest of Pac-12 play?

On the flip side, their defense matches up pretty well with UCLA. That was evident in the previous meeting as the Bruins only put up 0.89 PPP off of the pick-and-roll.

UCLA plays at one of the slowest paces in the Pac-12 and given that this will be played at Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins will likely be able to control the pace.

I like the value on under 133.5 points and would play it down to 132.

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