UCLA -8.5 over Tulsa for NCAA Tournament

Steven Suarez

Thursday, March 20, 2014 2:25 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 20, 2014 2:25 PM UTC

Tulsa has been on one heck of a roll recently, but they're still the heavy underdogs for their matchup with UCLA. Have we found the best college basketball betting value?

Odds Overview

It varies depending on the sportsbook, but we can find the spread at either 8.5 or 9 points on the NCAA Basketball odds board, with the Bruins obviously the favorites. UCLA went 26-8 SU and 21-12 ATS this season, while Tulsa was 21-12 SU with a very profitable 22-8 ATS record.

UCLA Bruins

The Bruins must be in a great frame of mind right now after the way they played in the Pac 12 tournament last week.

Some were wondering how they'd fare after losing by 18 in their regular season finale at Washington State, but UCLA really showed up to play. They beat Oregon 82-63 in the quarters, Stanford 84-59 in the semis and then overcame Arizona 75-71 in the championship game.

It really couldn't have gone much better for the Bruins, who looked good on both ends of the floor and wound up covering the spread for backers in each of their victories.

Kyle Anderson continued his stellar play, averaging 15 PPG, 10.3 RPG and 6 APG in the Pac 12 tournament, including a splendid 21/15/5 line against the Wildcats. If he can keep that level of play going, UCLA is going to mighty tough to beat.

Thing is, the Bruins have quite a few other players who can contribute offensively. Jordan Adams (17.2 PPG) has been excellent, while Norman Powell and Zach LaVine have both averaged double-digit scoring too.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

A perfect run in the Conference USA tournament was the icing on the cake to what's been an amazing six weeks or so for Tulsa.

The Golden Hurricane have won 11 straight games overall and, amazingly enough, have cashed against the spread in all but one of those victories.

In the tournament, they crushed Tulane by 21 before holding on for a 76-69 win over MTSU in the semi-finals. In the final, they got a huge performance out of James Woodard, who had a game-high 27 points, helping the Golden Hurricane to a 69-60 victory over Louisiana Tech.

Woodard has been an inspiration for this team all season long, averaging a team-best 15.7 points game. He's joined by Rashad Smith (12.0 PPG) as the only other player on the team averaging in double figures.

Even though Tulsa has pieced together this amazing winning streak, it's hard to get a read on just how good these guys are. They really struggled in non-conference play, going 5-9 SU, which included losses to Wichita State (54-77), Creighton (72-82), Oklahoma (91-101) and Maryland (74-85). Perhaps we'd all be wise not to read too much into this run they've put together in a weak conference.

NCAA Tournament Betting 2014: Ways to Wager

College Basketball Pick

While Tulsa has been playing well lately, they haven't come up against a team like UCLA during the streak and we have a hard time seeing them keep up.

The Bruins are extremely talented and their outstanding offensive efficiency should give them enough firepower to storm past the Golden Hurricane. Anderson is a matchup nightmare and should dominate, while Adams and Powell should make life difficult on Tulsa as well.

That's not even getting into UCLA's bench. This team has a lot of weapons and, in the end, we see them pulling away and cover this number. They have a rotation of eight strong and should be able to wear down Tulsa, meaning we'll be backing the Bruins as one of our college basketball picks.

NCAA Tournament Pick: UCLA Bruins -8.5

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