Though they've won four consecutive games, we're not sold on UCLA in this situation. They welcome an immensely dangerous Gonzaga team to Pauley Pavilion, and we're banking on a win for the road team.
For now, the Bulldogs are laying 5.5 points on our NCAA basketball odds, though some sportsbooks have a spread of six available - for those that believe there's value in the home dog late tonight,
Expect quite a few offensive fireworks, with a O/U of 143 posted on the board. Both UCLA and Gonzaga are ranked in the top 20 in points per game, so we could easily see a shootout.
The Bruins have already had to deal with some adversity this season.
In late November, UCLA had trouble in the Bahamas in the Battle 4 Atlantis, losing to both Oklahoma and UNC in the process. However, the Bruins have since responded by earning four consecutive victories, with the most recent coming over UC-Riverside in a 77-66 triumph.
UCLA shot 53.2 percent from the field overall and recorded a nice win despite turning the ball over twice as many times as their opponents. Norman Powell led the way with 20 points, while Tony Parker and Kevon Looney were absolutely dominant on the glass, combining for a whopping 27 rebounds (and three blocks) in total.
Ahead of tonight's home date with the top ten Bulldogs, the Bruins have proven to be very efficient on the offensive side -- they're averaging 81.5 points per game and are also ranked #11 in the country in rebounding. Not a bad combination there. Powell and fellow guard Bryce Alford have been the main scoring threats for UCLA, but Parker and Looney's presence inside (both are averaging at least 11.4 PPG and 8.1 RPG on the year) has helped make the team very well balanced.
Speaking of balance, Gonzaga is looking stronger than ever, despite a recent setback on the road against Arizona (a three-point loss).
Back on Wednesday, the Bulldogs had little trouble scooting past Washington State in a 81-66 victory. As a team, Gonzaga shot 53.8 percent from the floor and also dominated the Cougars in the rebounding department.
Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. totaled just two points between them, yet it didn't matter, as Przemek Karnowski, Kyle Wiltjer and Byron Wesley each logged 20+ points. When you've got that kind of balance offensively, it's going to be mighty hard for teams to stay close, let alone pick up wins against this Gonzaga squad.
Looking at the statistics, we see five different Bulldogs who are averaging in double figures. They've also got four different guys pulling in at least five boards a contest. Ranked in the top 10 in points per game, assists per game and field goal percentage, opponents have felt the wrath of facing this very talented Gonzaga squad. Will we see more of the same against the Bruins this evening?
NCAA Basketball Pick
Look, there's a reason the Bulldogs are our NCAA basketball pick here, despite being on the road and facing a UCLA team that's playing sound basketball.
It's simple: Gonzaga is the better all-around team. They've got a lot more experience and have been almost unstoppable offensively, with a number of guys who can step up on any given night and take over.
We like what UCLA has been doing recently, but the Bulldogs look to be a true national championship contender, so we think they'll be able to scrape out a win and cover the NCAA basketball betting odds away from home. They've faced a much more difficult schedule of late and that should prepare them for this road test against UCLA. Back the visitors.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs -5.5 at BetOnline