College Hoops Icons UCLA & Kentucky Meeting in CBS Classic on Saturday

Kevin Stott

Saturday, December 23, 2017 1:59 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017 1:59 PM UTC

 Let’s look at the opening betting odds and offer up a pick as we begin our trek into Winter as Basketball betting becomes more popular at sportsbooks Offshore, Online and here in the Silver State.

#7 Kentucky vs. UCLA

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NCAA BASKETBALL SATURDAY PICK: Kentucky -6½Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

#7 Kentucky vs. UCLA (CBS, 4 pm EST/1 pm PST): The second game of the CBS Sports Classic from the Smoothie-King Center in New Orleans on Saturday will feature SEC powerhouses and #7-ranked (AP) Kentucky (9-1 SU, 5-5 ATS) facing Thomas Welsh and Pac-12 icons UCLA (8-3 SU, 2-8 ATS). Offshore sportsbooks have opened up Kentucky as solid 6½-point Favorites (BetOnline). The first game of the day in the event from The Big Easy and the home of the New Orleans Hornets will see Ohio State vs. #5 North Carolina meeting in an ACC-Big Ten showdown (CBS, 3pm EST/12 pm PST) in a game that sees sportsbooks also offering the Tar Heels as 6½-point Favorites (BetOnline). The same four schools will participate in this event again next year at a site yet to be determined with Kentucky and North Carolina colliding and Ohio State and UCLA locking horns on the hardwood.

Kentucky Wildcats

As per usual, Kentucky just reloaded with a superior Freshmen in Lexington, and the Wildcats have started the 2017 NCAA Basketball Regular Season with a 9-1 SU Record, losing only to #4 Kansas, 65-61 on Nov. 13 in Kentucky’s third game of the year an a potential March Madness showdown. In their last game, Kevin Knox (15.8 ppg) and the Wildcats defeated Vermont, 93-86, barely covering ATS by 1 point as 6-point Home Favorites as the Wildcats won their 4th game ATS in 5 tries as super Wildcats Freshmen Knox (21 points), Hamidou Diallo (20 points) and Quade Green (17 points) led the charge for Kentucky. The game also represented the 6th straight Over the Wildcats have played with the Total flying Over (157) by 22 points. Starters Nick Richards (8 points, 6 rebounds), PJ Washington (11 points, 5 rebounds) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (9 points) helped in the balanced Kentucky attack.

The Trends show that Kentucky is 13-5-1 ATS the L19 After Scoring More Than 90 Points Their Previous Game, 4-1 ATS the L5 Non-Conference games and 5-2 ATS the L7 against the Pac-12. The Under is 6-1 the L7 Kentucky Neutral Site games while the Over is 4-0 the L4 Saturdays for the Wildcats and 5-0 in their L5 Non-Conference dribbles.

UCLA Bruins

UCLA also brought in a bunch of talented Freshmen to Westwood for Head Coach Steve Alford, but not even close to the caliber Calipari and Kentucky did. In their last game, UCLA beat South Dakota, 85-82 but failed to cover ATS as 8-point Favorites (158) at Home at Pauley Pavilion in La La Land, UCLA’s 4th non-ATS cover in their L5 games. In the win over the Coyotes on Dec. 19, Thomas Welsh (19 points, 11 rebounds) led the Bruins attack with fellow Starters Aaron Holiday (15 points) and Gyorgy Goloman (12 points) also having good games. Bench players Jaylen Hands (10 points) and Chris Smith (10 points) also both finished in double-digit scoring for the Bruins who are without the Suspended Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, both out for a silly shoplifting incident in China which led to Freshman LiAngelo Ball leaving the team to reportedly be playing pro basketball in Lithuania with his brother LaMelo for Prienu Vytautas and Head Coach Virginijus Šeškus in the Lithuanian Basketball league. What makes me think that this won’t work or LiLast?

The Trends here show UCLA are a very ratty 10-25 ATS their L35 overall, 3-8 ATS the L11 Following an ATS Loss, 3-9 ATS the L12 Following a SU Win and 3-11 ATS the L14 against the SEC Conference, so, edge Kentucky. And the bruins are also 1-4 ATS their L5 Non-Conference affairs, 2-65 ATS their L8 Neutral Site games and 0-5 ATS the L5 playing team with Winning Percentages higher than .600 and with a 9-1 mark (.900), Kentucky meets that criteria.

Despite 5-2 ATS Edge in Series, UCLA Simply Too Hard to Back Here with All of the Young Bruins Choppiness

The series Trends show Kentucky is 2-5 ATS in 7 lifetime meetings with UCLA, but the start, flow and cohesiveness of this one-Loss Kentucky team seems much better than that of the more immature Bruins who have seen three players either suspended or leave while getting off to a 3-8 ATS mark in the process. And you wanted to coach College Basketball? Even though UCLA may win the 3-point battle, the Wildcats should get many points on hustle and in runs whereas UCLA will be hard-pressed to go on a 10-0 run against this athletic Kentucky side. In the end, Calipari’s Freshmen (Diallo, Knox, Vanderbilt, Richards, Green, Baker) are better than Alford’s (Wilkes, Hands, Riley, Hill) and deserve to be ranked and should be a force again come march while the jury is still out on Welsh, Holliday and this Bruins team and coming Pac-12 play Conference will tell us much.

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