UCLA Vs. Washington Odds, Picks, NCAAB Predictions (1/1/23)

Happy new year! With the first day of the new year being heavily dominated by football, a fantastic college basketball matchup goes unnoticed tonight when the UCLA Bruins take on the Washington Huskies. After a narrow victory over the Washington Cougars on the road, the Bruins continue their road stretch against the stingy Huskie defense. Can UCLA find more success this time around and avoid the upset?

UCLA Vs. Washington Odds

Oddsmakers think so as they opened the Bruins as a -11 favorite. Bettors disagree, backing the Huskies down to as low as +10 in some books. This comes as kind of a surprise as the Bruins recent level of play was lackluster and are now in the midst of a road stretch which is never ideal for a faltering offense. Should the Bruins take their foot off the pedal, they may be in upset territory as Keion Brooks is a game changer.

As for the total points are expected to be scored at a blistering pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 140.5. Bettors think otherwise, taking the under down to as low as 138.5. With UCLA’s offense struggling to find a rhythm, the Huskies zone defense won’t do them much favor should the midrange shots not be able to fall for the Bruins. Especially slightly undersized, giving up more room for Washington’s length to stretch across the court.

UCLA Vs. Washington Prediction & Pick

The Pick: Under 139

Until UCLA rounds back into elite form, I will take the under for a small wager in what will be an intriguing stylistic showdown. I do believe this is just a bump in the road as the Bruins offense is incredibly efficient, ranking sixth in Offensive Adjusted Efficiency per Kenpom. The issue this time around is that their bread-and-butter mid-range efficiency may struggle to find consistency against the Huskies zone defense.

This is detrimental for the Bruins as they do a brunt of their damage from the perimeter and mid-range as they lack size. To make up for the lack of size, their facilitation and lethal jump shooting stretches out opposing defenses which gives them cleaner looks at the rim. The Huskies zone negates that, giving them much needed length stretched out across the perimeter with shifts to either side clogging up the middle.

To beat the zone, you need to find the gaps and attack the paint or quick fire a jump shot before being smothered by the shift. This is the key metric to watch as the Bruins built an offensive identity off of this type of offense, but tired legs may dictate the success of it. Especially if they are behind early, making it a tough climb back over the course of the game.

UCLA’s lack of size also plays a role in another key factor, their inability to generate second chance points with a lack of rebounding. Second chance points are a killer to any under ticket, now getting some comfort knowing that the better scoring unit may go in lulls throughout the game should the shot not fall and they fail to crash the glass.

(Tallysight pick tile here)

UCLA Vs. Washington Key Matchups

How will UCLA’s defense fare against one of the best players in the Pac 12?

UCLA interior defense vs Keion Brooks

The Huskies offense lives and dies by the scoring production of Keion Brooks who is electric to watch. He is one of two players who average double figures for the Huskies, which is alarming as the Huskies play 10 players in meaningful minutes. Keion Brooks is currently averaging 17.1 points per game and hauling in 6.6 rebounds. 

Washington shouldn’t be much of a threat on the offensive end, relying solely on the scoring production of Keion Brooks. UCLA will hound him all game as they are a Havoc minded type of defense, forcing him into kicking it out to their inconsistent shooters on the outside. Taking away the middle will be key as Washington is a mediocre perimeter shooting team.

If UCLA can negate Keion Brooks presence in the middle then our under ticket will be looking just fine.

Verdict

With UCLA going through an offensive lull and going against a defense capable of taking away the middle, I will take the under at no lower than 138.

Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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