Rise to the occasion
California will enter Pauley Pavilion with an 8-4 overall record, but all of its losses have come within the last five games, including a 67-62 setback to Harvard as 11-point home favorites last Saturday, while going UNDER the total of 137. The Golden Bears might rise to the occasion with the start of conference play, especially since they’ve covered the spread in the last six meetings in this series.
UCLA has one of the more talented rosters in the country, but it’s a youthful group that may suffer a letdown after its thrilling 97-94 overtime victory over the Missouri Tigers as 3.5-point home favorites last Friday night. The Bruins have won five consecutive games, but they’ve gone 1-3 ATS in that span.
Cobbs and Crabbe
Junior guards Justin Cobbs and Allen Crabbe make the Golden Bears a dangerous underdog when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, considering they combined to average 37.3 points per game. California has scored 858 total points this season, with this pair accounting for 52 percent of the scoring (448 points). The team should enjoy some success against an opponent that’s more concerned about scoring on the offensive end this year.
Scoring at will
There’s no doubt that the Bruins have opened it up offensively, averaging a Pac-12-leading 80.9 points per game, while reaching the 89-point mark in their last four contests. Shabazz Muhammad is leading the way in averaging 19.6 points per game, as he’s scored in double figures in each of his first 10 games on campus. Lost in all the scoring is the play of point guard Larry Drew III, who ranks second in the country with 8.6 assists per game.
I truly believe that all the value in the betting market lies with the Golden Bears in this matchup, considering the public will look at their 0-5 ATS record in their last five games and land on the other side. California has won three of its four Pac-12 openers under the direction of current head coach Mike Montgomery, which fits nicely with the road team covering the number in 14 of the last 20 meetings in this Golden State rivalry.
I’m going to recommend that readers back the Golden Bears as one of their college basketball picks, as I believe their experience backcourt will be the difference down the stretch in this game. California should be listed as a five-point road underdog in this affair—giving us 2.5 points of value.
College Basketball Picks:
California Golden Bears +7.5 at BetOnline