UCLA vs. Stanford Odds & Betting Pick: Back Bruins to Cover Against Shorthanded Cardinal
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Tyger Campbell.
- The Pac-12 will be in action on Saturday as the UCLA Bruins take on the Stanford Cardinal.
- The Cardinal could be without four key players, however, which would give the Bruins plenty of value.
- Check out BJ Cunningham's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick based on his analysis below.
UCLA vs. Stanford Odds
UCLA looks to remain perfect in Pac-12 play when it battles a reeling Stanford team on the road.
The Bruins are a perfect 8-0 in conference play this season and find themselves on a seven-game win streak.
The reason for that is their offense, which is one of the best in the country, ranking ninth in efficiency, per KenPom. What’s even more impressive is they’ve done all of this without their best player, Chris Smith, who is out of the season with a torn ACL.
Stanford had its last game against USC postponed due to COVID-19, and it breathed a sigh of relief as most of its top players were going to miss the game anyway.
It’s not official, but word is that staters Zaire Williams and Dejon Davis have both taken a leave of absence from the team. The Cardinal will also potentially be missing Bryce Wills and Spencer Jones, who are two main contributors as well.
If Stanford is missing all four on Saturday, it’s going to be severely shorthanded, which would not bode well for it.
When UCLA Has the Ball
Mick Cronin’s offense has been the best in the Pac-12, putting up 1.14 points per possession. The reason for that? It’s shooting the absolute lights out from 3-point range at 44.3% during conference play.
However, the Bruins actually like to get the ball down low more often than any other team in the Pac-12. Over 71% of their field goal attempts come from inside the arc, and it’s for good reason because they’re scoring on 63.6% of their shots at the rim, per Hoop-Math.
Stanford came into the Pac-12 conference schedule as one of the best defenses in the conference. However, during conference play, it’s taken a step back and is allowing 1.01 points per possession.
The reason it’s fallen back is that it’s not defending the perimeter well at all, as its opponents are making almost 36% of their 3-point attempts. That’s going to be a problem against a red-hot shooting UCLA squad.
Additionally, potentially not having three of their main five contributors is going to pose a major problem for the Cardinal.
It will leave Oscar de Silva out on an island defensively, so the Bruins should be able to attack the rim at will and try to get Stanford’s best player into foul trouble.
When Stanford has the ball
The Cardinal have flat out stunk on offense since Pac-12 play began. Stanford averages only 1.01 points per possession and is turning the ball over at an alarming 21.2% rate. Not having Williams or Davis available to handle the ball is going to potentially make things even more difficult.
The one bright spot for Stanford is that it will still have its best player available in de Silva. He is one of the most versatile big men in the country, averaging 19.3 points and shooting over 60% from the floor. However, he’s likely going to get doubled whenever he touches the ball, so his effectiveness could be limited.
A typical Cronin-coached team is stout on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes this UCLA team so odd.
The Bruins are 87th in defensive efficiency and allowing 1.04 points per possession on the road this season. While they’re not doing a great job defending the opposing teams’ shots, they’re the best defensive rebounding team in the Pac-12.
That will come in handy against de Sliva, who has one of the highest offensive rebounding rates in the conference.
Betting Analysis & Pick
If Stanford is severely shorthanded on Saturday, I don’t see how de Silva is going to take on this UCLA team by himself.
The Bruins should be able to put on a clinic offensively and walk away with an easy victory if Davis and Williams are both out.
I’ll back the Bruins to -4.5 points or better if all four players who are questionable for Stanford are out.
Pick: UCLA -4.5 or better (if Williams, Davis, Wills and Jones are out for Stanford)