Sunday's Top NCAA Basketball Pick ATS: UCLA +4 vs. Alabama

Steven Suarez

Sunday, December 28, 2014 3:48 PM GMT

The Bruins have not yet taken the court since getting demolished by Kentucky eight days ago. We're eager to see how they respond, as we get set to tackle the college basketball betting odds.

Odds Overview
Looking over the NCAA basketball odds, we see the Crimson Tide favored by four points on their home court. They'll take on a wounded UCLA team, one that will be doing everything in their power to right the ship after two straight losses.

We should witness a high tempo in this game, as the total has been set at 144.5 for now. 

 

Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide are sitting at 8-3 on the year, with their three losses coming to Iowa State, Xavier and Wichita State. They've yet to really disappoint and lose to a team they shouldn't be losing to, so they're in a good spot ahead of the start of conference play.

It's been exactly one week since Alabama last was in action. They overcame Appalachian State, but the game was a lot closer than many expected it to be, with the Crimson Tide escaping with the 60-59 victory. It was quite the scare for an Alabama team that shot just 41.1 percent from the floor overall. Michael Kessens came up big with 17 points, 10 rebounds and three steals, with Levi Randolph chipping in with a nice 14/5/4 line. 

Randolph has been the heartbeat of the team so far, having averaged 16.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 3.1 APG. He's playing heavy mintues night in and night out and will try to lead Alabama to a win over a desperate UCLA squad tonight. Ricky Tarrant and Rodney Cooper are both averaging double-digit scoring for the Crimson Tide.

 

UCLA Bruins
Yikes. We can't start out preview without going over the team's 83-44 loss to Kentucky eight days ago. It was rough from the start for the Bruins, as they were down 24-0 before scoring their first points of the game. 

The effects of a loss like that can be devastating, but a kick in the butt like that could also work in UCLA's favor. They now know that they have a lot they need to work on if they want to be taken seriously this season, and it's at least somewhat reassuring to know that it can't get much worse than what we saw against Kentucky. We expect a much better showing out of the Bruins tonight.

UCLA has been excellent on the glass this season and that should serve them well here. Kevon Looney, and Tony Parker to a lesser extent, have been forces to be reckoned with in the rebounding department, and then the Bruins can also hit you with a lot of scoring from the likes of Bryce Alford and Norman Powell, who are each averaging at least 16.1 points per game on the season. We actually really like the balance of this team's rotation and are excited to watch more out of Steve Alford's team going forward.

 

NCAA Basketball Pick
How can we back the Bruins after their latest two losses? They looked outclassed, right? They don't deserve any love from handicappers, surely!

Well, let's be real. Kentucky is outclassing each and every team they play this season, so we're not going to let a loss to them define UCLA's season. The defeat before that came against another strong national championship contender in Gonzaga, so we're not going to overreact and completely write them off here. Despite the recent setbacks, UCLA has no shortage of talent, so they should be just fine.

With over a week to get in the right frame of mind, we expect much better things out of the talented Bruins this evening. They represent attractive NCAA basketball betting value in our eyes, so we'll add them as our top spread NCAA basketball pick for Sunday. Enjoy the game!

NCAA Basketball Pick: UCLA Bruins +4 at 5Dimes