Free NCAA Basketball Picks: Fade The Public & Go 'Under' When UCLA & Washington Collide

Willie Bee

Friday, January 1, 2016 3:30 PM GMT

The Pac-12 begins its conference season today, among the matchups to get things rolling a pick 'em on the NCAA basketball odds between UCLA and the Washington Huskies.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2935792, "sportsbooksIds":[169,1096,93,19,92,238], "LineTypeId":3, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Under 162
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

The consensus is that everyone in the Pac-12 is chasing Arizona on the hardwood this season. With the Wildcats not beginning their conference slate for two more days, and facing three road games to start league play, the opportunity is there for either the UCLA Bruins or Washington Huskies to put themselves ahead of that chase when they meet in Seattle this evening.

FOX Sports 1 will carry the 11 PM (ET) tip at Alaska Airlines Arena, and the matchup is presently going off as a pick 'em on the NCAA basketball odds. Books such as The Greek hanged its initial total at 162.

Given their dominance in the conference over the years, it's no surprise to see the Bruins with a dominating 96-40 edge in the series with the Huskies. A 5-game win streak against Washington is what UCLA brings into this one, the last defeat coming on Groundhog Day 2012 here in Seattle, 71-69. The Bruins still managed to cover that one as 3 point road 'dogs, and have cashed for their backers five of the last six with the totals splitting in those games.

The only matchup last season took place in Los Angeles where the Westwood Gang scored an 88-66 decision as 10½ point chalk. Tony Parker's 20 on 10-of-12 shooting from the field helped 'over' bettors on a 141 point total.

 

Bruins Must Keep Big Men In The Game
UCLA (9-4 straight up, 4-9 against the spread) has been idle since three days before Christmas when the Bruins went through the motions in a 67-53 victory over McNeese State. The margin of victory wasn't even half enough to cover the 29 point spread, UCLA's third straight loss against the NCAA basketball odds, and fourth wallet-buster in the last five games.

The decision did put the team back into the win column after getting spanked by North Carolina at the CBS Sports Classic in New York, 89-76. Parker was in foul trouble, limiting the 6-9 senior to just 21 minutes vs. the Tar Heels, and the Bruins turned it over 17 times, about five more than usual.

Steve Alford could only keep 7-footer Thomas Welsh in that contest for 20 minutes as well, and without that inside presence of the two, the Bruins were overmatched. Parker and Welsh are averaging more than 26 points and 18 boards between them, Parker putting up a double-double so far (13.8 ppg, 10.3 rpg).

 

Who Wins Battle Of The Boards?
Washington (8-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) has already seen some action since Christmas, and things didn't go as planned for Lorenzo Romar's outfit. The Huskies hosted pesky and well-tested UC-Santa Barbara on Monday hoping to get in a quick easy scrimmage before conference play, and the Gauchos left Seattle with an 83-78 upset as 9 point 'dogs.

The setback was a little more than a week after losing at home to Oakland, 97-83, in a game the Huskies were favored by 11. Washington was beaten badly on the boards by the Golden Grizzlies, and also let the Gauchos win the glass-cleaning battle a few days ago, which is weird since U-Dub leads the nation in rebounds (44.7 per game). Oakland (43.0 rpg, 9th in nation) isn't far behind the Huskies...and neither are the Bruins (42.0 rpg, 22nd).

That sets up a big battle inside for second chances or to start a fast break the other way. Parker and Welsh should have the advantage over Washington insiders Noah Dickerson and Marquese Chriss, but where the Huskies have some mismatches in their favor or at guard. Andrew Andrews and Dejounte Murray are stat sheet stuffers, so UCLA's Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton are going to have to drag those guys out on defense by hitting some long jumpers early.

The trend for both teams has been the 'over', but my free NCAA basketball pick is going the opposite direction with an 'under' play.