Lay The Chalk As UCLA Hosts Shorthanded Stanford

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, January 8, 2017 2:40 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 2:40 PM UTC

Our West Coast college basketball expert breaks down this game between the shorthanded Stanford Cardinal and hot UCLA Bruins in Pac-12 action.

Stanford Cardinal vs UCLA Bruins

The 8-7 Stanford Cardinals finish up their Los Angeles road trip with a game against 4th ranked 15-1 UCLA on Sunday afternoon, a team that they beat last year at home. Things have gone differently for the teams this year, and the spread posted for the game show it. The Bruins have been placed as 20-point home favorites at 5Dimes in this game, which is the most that Stanford has been an underdog all year long.

With UCLA’s 98.7 points scored average at home, the total has opened at a relatively high 160.5 points. That would be the highest total listed for a Stanford game this year by a margin of 13.5 points. Stanford plays at a much slower pace than UCLA, averaging just 54 attempts per game on the road versus UCLA’s 65 attempts per game at home.

The slower pace would be ok for Stanford if they were efficient shooting the basketball, but they are not. The Cardinal shoot just 39.6% from the field on the road and 25% from behind the arc. They average just 63.3 points per game on the road vs. opponents averaging 74.3 points per game given up. It’s no wonder that they started the year hitting 5 Unders in a row.

Making things even worse for the Cardinal is that their leading scorer, junior 6’ 8” forward Reid Travis, was injured two games ago against Arizona and won’t be playing in this game. Travis was the Cardinal’s leading scorer averaging 17.5 points per game over 30.8 minutes, and chipped in 9.6 rebounds per game as well – also leading the team.

The shorthanded Cardinal will run into a UCLA team that is 1st in the country in field goal percentage, 2nd in points scored, and 4th in the country in 3-point percentage. The Bruins are the college basketball version of the Golden State Warriors on offense right now. They are led by freshman wunderkind, Lonzo Ball, who distributes the ball with an average of 8 assists per game. He is not the leading scorer on the team, but he could be if he wanted too. That title would go to 6’ 10” forward, TJ Leaf, who averages 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.

Stanford comes into this game loser of five in a row against the spread and has shown the ability to get blown out on the road. They lost to SMU 72-49 on the road as an 8-point underdog, and 91-52 as a 6.5-point dog against Arizona. 20 points is a large number to cover, but Stanford won’t have what it takes to keep up with UCLA with Reid Travis out of the lineup. Throw in the fact that UCLA won’t take Stanford lightly as they lost to them last year, and we have the ingredients for a blowout. Take UCLA and lay the heavy chalk as one of your Sunday college basketball picks.

 Free NCAAB Picks: UCLA -20Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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