UCLA vs Oregon Odds, Picks: Why to Back the Underdog
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Oregon’s Will Richardson.
UCLA vs Oregon Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
Although UCLA sits atop the Pac-12 standings, it still has some work to do if it wants to secure the regular-season title. The Bruins sit in a tie with Arizona, while Oregon, Utah and USC are just two games back.
UCLA’s defense of first place starts on Saturday night as it travels to Eugene to take on an Oregon squad that has been rolling. The Ducks have won two straight, including an impressive 18-point win over USC on Thursday.
UCLA’s past three games have put it in cruise control, as it’s faced Washington, Washington State and Oregon State. Of those teams, only Washington cracks the top 70 nationally.
In order to pick which team will continue their winning streak and make a significant statement in the Pac-12, let’s take a look at the odds and make a prediction for UCLA vs. Oregon.
UCLA sits inside the top 10 no matter which ranking system is used.
Much of that success can be attributed to its elite play on the defensive end of the floor. The Bruins rank third nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing teams to score just 59.7 points per game (7th).
This defense efficiency is predicated on the Bruins’ ability to force their opponents into turnovers. UCLA produces a turnover on one of every four of their opponents’ possessions — the fourth-highest rate in the country.
The Bruins combine this with high-quality rim protection to produce a deadly defensive combination. Overall, UCLA has a block percentage of 12.5%, which ranks 39th nationally.
For Oregon to be successful on the offensive end, it will need to prioritize taking care of the basketball — an area it’s shown competence in this season. In conference play, the Ducks are turning the ball over on 18.3% of their possessions, which is below the Division I average.
Even more important is Oregon’s ability to finish at the rim. The Ducks are allowing just 6.9% of shot attempts to be blocked, the 38th-lowest rate in the country.
In addition to finishing at the rim, the Ducks will look to attack this UCLA offense through their midrange game. Oregon has a midrange field goal percentage of 41.3% (90th), while the Bruins are allowing 39.8% from the same range (207th).
There’s a path for this Oregon offense to succeed against one of the elite defenses in college basketball.
For Dana Altman and the Ducks, this clash with UCLA could not come at a better time. Oregon is coming off of one of its most impressive wins of the season in which it dominated USC on both ends of the floor en route to a 78-60 victory.
On both ends of the floor, the Ducks have been driven by the play of 6-foot-11 senior N’Faly Dante. The Mali native has scored in double figures in the Ducks’ last three games and has been a difference-maker on the defensive end.
.@nfaly_dante12 doing it on both ends!
Ducks up 20. #DanteDunk
📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/iG1zuz7ybp
— Oregon Men's Basketball (@OregonMBB) February 10, 2023
With Dante as its defensive cornerstone, Oregon will be able to limit what UCLA wants to do on the offensive end.
UCLA thrives on its ability to create high-quality looks from inside the 3-point line. The Bruins are scoring 60.1% of their points from 2-point range, which is the ninth-highest rate in college basketball.
Star guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. erupted for 16 second-half points, leading the UCLA Bruins to victory on the road after trailing to Washington State at half-time.
Those include these two long midrange jumpers, where Jaquez ranks in the 96th %ILE with 0.81 PPP. pic.twitter.com/eV907ed7Ua
— ShotQuality (@Shot_Quality) January 1, 2023
Defensively, Oregon has used its 14.4% block percentage (12th) to limit its opponents to just 46.4% shooting from 2-point range.
The Ducks also utilize their size and length to create problems for teams on the interior. Oregon ranks fourth nationally with an average height of just over 6-foot-7.
Just as Oregon has the tools to find success on the offensive end, it will also have the ability to slow down a methodical and efficient UCLA offense.
UCLA vs Oregon Betting Pick
This is truly a dream spot for an Oregon team peaking at exactly the right time. Oregon has played some of its best basketball on its home floor, ranking 36th nationally in home-court advantage, according to KenPom.
On the other side, UCLA has not been immune to struggling on the road. In fact, all four of the Bruins’ losses have come either at a neutral site or on the road.
Oregon has scored 76.3 points per game in its last three due to a 54.7% conversion rate on midrange attempts — one of the few areas UCLA can be exploited.
Additionally, Dante’s size and length — and Oregon’s defense as a whole — will be enough to force a Bruins offense that relies on interior success into some struggles.
This Oregon team has come a long way from losing by nine to UCLA in early December. As a result, I will gladly back the Ducks as an underdog on their home floor, a place where they have been at their best.
Pick: Oregon +2.5 (Play to +2)
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