UCLA vs. San Diego State Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Over/Under on College Basketball Opening Day
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Mick Cronin.
- UCLA and San Diego State will battle in the late-night spot on college basketball's opening day on Wednesday.
- The Bruins are looking to complete their transformation under Mick Cronin, but the Aztecs have been strong against tough opponents in recent years..
- Check out Mike Calabrese's full betting analysis with updated odds below.
UCLA vs. San Diego State Odds
|UCLA Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|San Diego State Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-175/+143 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||134.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Wednesday, 10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
The tip-off of the UCLA-SDSU game will likely be pushed up to comply with the state of California’s 10 p.m. curfew, according to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. Any health and safety news that preserves a game being played is welcomed here in 2020.
This matchup is emblematic of the shift in the college basketball landscape on the West Coast. The Aztecs have won 41 more games than the Bruins in the past decade, punching their ticket to the Big Dance six times, while collecting six NCAA Tournament wins. The Bruins, meanwhile, cycled through four coaches and only captured a single regular-season Pac-12 title in that time span.
Yet despite these differences, the public can’t stop backing the California Blue Blood of yesteryear. Splashy recruits like Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Kevon Looney, and Lonzo Ball have forced bettors to pay a premium at the window in recent years. As a result, UCLA is 59-80-1 (42.4%) against the spread in non-conference play since 2010, while the Aztecs are a sterling 68-49-2 (58.1%).
The Bruins’ ATS woes extended to last season, with UCLA posting a losing record against the spread during its non-conference slate. But that hasn’t stopped oddsmakers from installing the Bruins as a three-point road favorite against SDSU.
Can the retooled Aztecs take advantage of a rare home game against a Power Conference opponent, or will UCLA experience a meaningful improvement in Year 2 of the Mick Cronin regime?
The Bruins were a USC buzzer-beater away from closing their 2020 campaign on an eight-game winning streak. And with the exception of an 86-83 overtime shootout against Washington State, UCLA had essentially morphed into “Cincinnati West” down the stretch under Cronin. UCLA scored 70 points or fewer in five of the Bruins’ seven wins during that hot streak and relied upon one of the nation’s most surprising defensive turnarounds to do so.
The Bruins really cleaned things up on the glass, using their strong finish to vault into the top 35 in a few key rebounding metrics. Senior wing Chris Smith and junior forward Jalen Hill led the way in the rebounding department during the last month of the season.
The Bruins return all five starters, a factor that has raised expectations in Westwood considerably. The continuity gains should be apparent in their opener, but it’s fair to wonder just how much UCLA can improve on the offensive end with essentially the same cast of characters.
Here’s a look at UCLA’s lowlights on the offensive end from last season:
- Points Per Game — 69.3 (206th)
- Effective FG% — 48.4% (230th)
- 3-Point% — 32.2% (226th)
- AST-TO Ratio — 0.990 (164th)
San Diego State Aztecs
The Aztecs opened last season unranked and rose as high as fourth in the AP Poll. Of their 2019-20 roster, they return their starting center, power forward and small forward. But the most interesting element of their starting lineup this year is graduate transfer Terrell Gomez.
The 5’8 point guard is a lethal 3-point shooter (43.6%) and was a two-time, first-team All-Big West performer at Cal State Northridge. His offensive instincts should help the Aztecs space the floor properly in Brian Dutcher’s offensive system.
Defensively, the center I mentioned above is arguably a new addition to the lineup. Nathan Mensah played in SDSU’s first 13 games before complications related to blood clotting derailed his season.
With the Ghanaian rim-protector defending the lane, the Aztecs allowed just 56.3 points per game. Without him, SDSU surrendered 61.6. He will be critical in this one from the jump.
Betting Analysis & Pick
It took a while for UCLA to properly execute Cronin’s vision, but once it turned the corner, it became a reliable team to tail ATS. This was also true in terms of its totals, as it slowed the pace and tightened the screw on defense.
Add a healthy and potentially dominant post defender into the mix for SDSU, and I’m fairly confident that this game will be played in the low 60s. I’ll be playing the under down to 133.
Pick: Under 134.5 (down to 133).