UCLA vs. Colorado College Basketball Odds, Picks and Predictions: Are Buffaloes Underrated at Home? (Saturday, Jan. 22)
Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: Johnny Juzang.
- UCLA travels to Colorado to take on the Buffs in a Pac-12 duel.
- The Bruins are 4-1 since their multiple week COVID-19 pause.
- Keg breaks down where the value lies in this Pac-12 affair.
UCLA vs. Colorado Odds
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
UCLA will head to Boulder on Saturday night looking for its third win in a row as it squares off against the Colorado Buffaloes. The Bruins enter the game off of a 63-58 win over Utah, but they failed to cover as a 9.5-point favorite. The Buffaloes meanwhile lost their last game hosting USC and also failed to cover as a 2.5-point underdog.
A win for the Bruins would be more than just their third win in a row, it would be the eighth in the last nine games and their fifth straight road win.
For Colorado, it is still looking for its first win over a ranked team. Its last loss against USC was the closest it has gotten all season.
These teams squared off once already in December at UCLA, with the Bruins winning that game by 12. Can they replicate that performance in Boulder?
UCLA’s 63-58 win over Utah was the second-lowest point total of the season for the Bruins. It marked the second time since returning from a more than three-week COVID-19 pause that they scored less than 70. However, UCLA won both games which were on the road. And even with the lower scoring as of late, the Bruins rank 18th in adjusted offensive efficiency. They are also 16th nationally in scoring offense at 79.4 points per game.
Johnny Juzang, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyson Campbell and Jules Bernard combine to average over 55 points, with Juzang leading the way at 17.2 points per game. In the first game against Colorado, Juzang only played seven minutes and had zero points. His impact could be huge for UCLA in this game.
The Bruins have been one of the best teams nationally when it comes to ball security as well, ranking sixth in turnover percentage. But they shouldn’t be challenged much by a Buffaloes team that rarely creates turnovers.
On defense the Bruins should have an impressive advantage over Colorado. UCLA ranks 19th in the country in defensive adjusted efficiency and has allowed opposing teams to record just 66.2 points per contest. Opponents are shooting the ball at just 41.8% against the Bruins.
The Colorado offense has had some struggles, posting just 71.4 points per game on average. But even moreso recently, the Buffaloes scored only 58 points against USC, and shot just 31.4% in the game. On the season they are shooting 43.9% and have struggled consistently in all areas of the floor. The Buffaloes rank 214th, posting an effective field goal percentage of only 49%.
Three players for the Buffaloes are averaging in double figures, led by Jabari Walker who is posting 13.1 points per game. Evan Battey adds in 12.2, while Keeshawn Barthelemy is contributing 10.2 points per game. Walker also leads the team in rebounds at 8.5 per contest, and steals with 0.8 per game.
Colorado rarely surrenders second chances and has been outstanding in defensive second-chance conversion percentage, ranking 15th nationally. The Colorado defense has been even better than UCLA in defensive scoring, limiting teams to just 65.8 points per game. Teams are also shooting just 40.8% from the floor against the Buffaloes.
The Buffaloes limited USC to just 61 points in their last game, a performance they will need to replicate against UCLA if they want to have a chance against the Bruins.
UCLA vs. Colorado Betting Pick
Colorado has a shot at breaking into the NCAA Tournament conversation, especially if the Buffs can hang around in Pac-12 play. Currently sitting sixth in the conference, they will need to beat some of the top-ranked teams to get there. Unfortunately I don’t think that will happen Saturday night against UCLA.
Colorado has played well defensively, but it has had issues when it comes to successful offenses like the Bruins. In the first game, the Buffaloes allowed UCLA to rack up 73 points, and that was without any contribution from Juzang. I expect them to struggle once again to limit the 18th-best offense in college basketball.
For the majority of the season Colorado’s offense has been decent, but over the last three games there’s been some regression, averaging just 62.7 points per game and posting a shooting percentage of just 35.8%. I don’t expect a big turnaround to happen against UCLA whose defense has been consistent all year.
UCLA has also yet to lose a game on the road this season, and it has done that against teams better than Colorado. While the environment is sure to be a rowdy one, I think UCLA will survive. I got the Bruins at -5.5, but I would only bet them as high as a 6-point favorite.
Pick: UCLA -6 or better
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