UCLA vs. Oregon College Basketball Odds & Picks: Ducks’ Injury Makes Bruins a Live Underdog
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: UCLA Bruins forward Jalen Hill (24).
- The UCLA Bruins will travel to Eugene on Wednesday afternoon to take on the Oregon Ducks in a Pac-12 matchup.
- The Ducks just suffered a key loss to their roster, leaving the door open for a Bruins upset.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting analysis complete with updated odds and a pick below.
Editors Note: As of Wednesday, Dec. 23 at 4:32 p.m. ET, today’s UCLA vs. Oregon college basketball game has been postponed.
Today's @UCLAMBB at @OregonMBB game has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19 testing protocols for game officials. The Pac-12 will work with both programs to attempt to find a mutually agreeable date to reschedule the contest.#Pac12Hoops https://t.co/WeOXZHVHjB
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) December 23, 2020
UCLA vs. Oregon
UCLA heads to Eugene on Wednesday to take on Oregon in a showdown between two of the best teams in the Pac-12.
Mick Cronin has plenty of talent on his Bruin roster, with UCLA poised to finish near the top of the Pac-12 standings.
The Bruins started off their season with a blowout loss to San Diego State but have since rattled off five wins in a row, including a home victory over Marquette, before losing in the CBS Sports Classic to Ohio State over the weekend.
Oregon was dealt a huge blow this week as one of its best players, N’Faly Dante, tore his ACL and is out for the season.
Before the Dante news, the Ducks were projected by almost every outlet to be crowned Pac-12 champions. Outside of an opening season loss to Missouri, the Ducks have ripped off six straight wins, including victories over Seton Hall and Washington. However, UCLA will be the best team Oregon has seen so far this season.
Cronin’s squad had completely rebounded from the blowout loss to San Diego State to begin the season but fell short against Ohio State on Saturday. The Bruins allowed the Buckeyes to shoot 50% from the floor, so they’ll need to improve their defense if they want to be slow Oregon’s offense.
The Bruins are humming offensively, ranking 14th in offensive efficiency, while playing at one of the slowest tempos in the country (336th in AdjTempo, per KenPom).
The biggest issue for UCLA last season was its terrible shooting and defending from the perimeter. The Bruins shot only 32.2% from deep and allowed opponents to shoot more than 38%, which I’m sure drove Cronin insane.
So far this season, the Bruins have improved in both of those areas, specifically defensively, as they allow opponents to hit at a 28.7% clip from deep.
UCLA brings back almost everybody from last season and added sharpshooter Johnny Juzang from Kentucky via the transfer portal. So, the Bruins are loaded and ready to contend in the Pac-12 this season.
Replacing an Oregon legend like Payton Pritchard was always going to be difficult for Dana Altman, but this Ducks team is loaded with experience.
Double-digit scorers Will Richardson and Chris Duarte are back to lead the Ducks’ backcourt, while versatile transfers Eric Williams Jr. (Duquesne) and Eugene Omoruyi (Rutgers) will command the frontcourt and give the Ducks possibly the most complete starting five in the Pac-12.
However, the loss of center Dante cannot be understated. The 6-foot-11 sophomore was poised for a breakout year before his season was cut short.
So far this season, the Ducks have been well balanced on both ends of the floor, ranking inside the top 25 in both offensive and defensive efficiency, per KenPom. However, they’ve struggled from deep to begin the season, likely due to the absence of Pritchard. Now, the Ducks are shooting only 31.7% from behind the arc.
Defensively, though, Oregon is one of the best teams in the Pac-12. It allows an effective field goal percentage of only 44.9% to opponents and only 29% from 3-point range. If the Bruins don’t shoot the ball well on Wednesday, they could be in a lot of trouble.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Without Dante, there’s a big hole in the Oregon frontcourt that UCLA should be able to take advantage of. However, UCLA will need to shoot a high percentage against this Oregon defense if it wants a chance to pull off the upset as short road dogs.
I have the Ducks projected as 1.82 favorites with Dante on the sidelines, so I think there’s some value on the Bruins moneyline of +135. However, I wouldn’t play it any lower than that number.
Pick: UCLA +135