Cal vs UCLA Odds & Prediction: The Pac-12 Team Total to Bet

Cal vs UCLA Odds & Prediction: The Pac-12 Team Total to Bet article feature image

Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Marsalis Roberson (Cal)

Cal vs UCLA Odds

Saturday, Feb. 18
10:30 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Cal Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college basketball odds here.

This Pac-12 matchup has a great deal of David vs. Goliath characteristics, as a 22-4 UCLA team takes on a 3-23 California squad.

This extremely experienced UCLA team has not lost to a team outside of the top 50 once this season.

The Bruins also rank third nationally in scoring margin, outscoring their opponents by an average of 13.9 points per game.

On the other side, California's season has been a complete disaster. The Golden Bears have won just three games, all coming at home, with their two most impressive victories coming against Colorado and Stanford, who are both ranked outside the top 50.

California's season went from bad to worse when its leading contributor, Devin Askew, was lost for the season due to a hernia injury on Jan. 28th.

To determine if California can keep things respectable against a superior UCLA squad, let's take a look at the odds and make a prediction for California vs. UCLA.

Cal Golden Bears

The No. 1 question going into this matchup is: how will California find ways to score?

With the loss of Askew, the Bears are down to center Lars Thiemann as the only player on the roster averaging double figures.

As a result, California ranks outside the top 315 in effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, 3-point percentage, 2-point percentage and block percentage.

This laundry list of poor offensive stats will be put on full display against a UCLA defense that ranks second nationally in Adjusted Efficiency.

The Bruins are allowing their opponents to score just 60 points per game, the sixth-lowest rate in all of college basketball.

The Bruins are particularly efficient at creating turnovers, ranking fifth in turnover percentage at 24.9%.

This will be a recipe for disaster for a California offense that ranks 317th in offensive turnover percentage, turning the ball over on 20.8% of its total possessions.

When matched up against UCLA's defense, every possession will be a challenge to find points for this California offense.

UCLA Bruins

The 2022-23 season has been wildly successful for Mick Cronin and the UCLA Bruins. However, there is still room for improvement as the season winds to a close.

The Bruins are widely projected as a two-seed in the NCAA tournament and they could easily be moved up to the one line if they are able to take care of business down the stretch.

This will start with handling their matchup against a California team whose season is all but over.

There is no question UCLA will have success on the defensive end, but it's also important to note how this defense will turn into offense.

The Bruins rank 18th nationally in quick points off breakaway steals, an area California has struggled. The Bears rank 181st defensively in the same category, giving up a steal percentage of 9.3%

In addition to these quick points off steals, UCLA will be able to create plenty of second-chance opportunities against a California defense allowing its opponents to grab offensive rebounds on 30.1% of their shot attempts (250th nationally).

UCLA has already been able to create second chances on 34.9% of its attempts (20th-highest rate in the country).

UCLA will be able to turn defense into offense and give itself crucial extra possessions to take care of this California team

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Cal vs UCLA Betting Pick

It's always difficult to handicap conference games between two teams that are at drastically different points in their seasons.

Due to this separation in talent and perspective, UCLA has opened up as a massive 25-point favorite. This number is justified given the level of defense the Bruins will roll out against a California offense that has been abysmal all year and is now without Askew.

Rather than lay the points with the Bruins, the best value lies in investing in this Bruins defense to make life miserable for California on the offensive end.

Pick: Cal Team Total Under 50.5 or Better

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Nick Sterling
May 29, 2024 UTC