Bet Utah to Cover vs. UCLA's 2-Game Losing Streak for NCAA Basketball Picks

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, January 29, 2015 4:46 PM GMT

Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 4:46 PM GMT

The Utah Utes visit UCLA in a PAC 12 showdown tonight at famed Pauley Pavilion and this NCAA Basketball handicapper is eager to share his expert betting insight for free.

Utah (-6) at UCLA 10:00 ET ESPN2
Tonight's NCAA Basketball game will feature a pair of teams headed opposite directions. These teams met earlier this season in Salt Lake City with Utah totally dominating the proceedings with a 71-39 romp. Though 30 point revenge may be a motivating factor for UCLA, the fundamental advantages for Utah are too great.

A lot went right for HC Steve Alford last year in his first year at the helm of the storied UCLA program.  The 28-9 SU season ended in a Sweet 16 loss to Florida (79-68).  But, the off-season was not kind to the Bruins.  UCLA returns just 1 starter, Norman Powell.  He is questionable tonight (illness) for this contest.  Losses included 3 NBA 1st round picks in Zach LaVine, Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson.  UCLA also misses the experience of the Wear twins.  That’s losses of 5 of their top 6 players from a team who averaged 81 points per game.  Regrouping has not come easily for UCLA. For the year, UCLA is 11-9 SU, 7-13 ATS.  Many problems have come on the offensive end, where they are shooting just 42%, including 34% from behind the arc.  Lone cause for concern in this matchup is the fact they are 2-0 SU ATS in their only 2 conference home games, beating Stanford by 5 and California by 19.  That makes UCLA NCAA basketball odds at 51-10 SU 3+Y on this court, including 9-1 SU TY. Tonight, however, they enter on a 2-game losing streak with solid defeats of 11 points at Oregon St. and 18 points at Oregon.

Utah is a team that continues to build under 4th year HC Krystowiak.  The Utes have gone from 16 to 21 wins in the 1st three years under the Western version of Coach K.  This year, the Utes are a solid 16-3 SU, 13-5 ATS, including 6-1 SU ATS in PAC 12 play.  The only loss has come at Top 5 Arizona.  All 6 PAC 12 victories have come by 17 or more points.  Key to this year’s success has been outstanding defense.  For the season, Utah allows just 57 PPG, 38% from the field and 33% from the arc.  They feature a +6.3 rebound margin, a +3.1 Assist/TO margin and qualify for Defensive Dandy status.  Currently tied atop the PAC 12 with Arizona, there is clear motivation for this team to keep on winning.  With 4 RS from last season, featuring Loveridge, Olsen, Taylor and Wright, this is an experienced team who has not shown any willingness to take their foot off the gas against outmanned foes.  

In a matchup of 2 teams headed opposite directions, we will make the Defensive Dandy my NCAA basketball pick which is the Utah Utes!

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Take Utah 

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