Could No. 3 UCLA reach the top spot in the new polls next week for the first time in years? It’s possible if the Bruins sweep their weekend slate and get a little help ahead of them. UCLA should have little trouble on Thursday night when struggling Pac-12 foe Arizona State visits and will be a double-digit betting underdog in the NCAA Basketball odds.
Arizona State at UCLA Odds, Betting Pick & TV Info
— Sun Devil MBB (@SunDevilHoops) January 17, 2017
When: Thursday, Jan. 19, 11 PM ET
Where: Pauley Pavilion, L.A.
TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening NCAA Basketball Lines: UCLA favored by TBA
Why Bet On Arizona State?
The Sun Devils, coached by former Duke star point guard Bobby Hurley, enter on a two-game losing streak. They last played last Thursday at ranked rival Arizona and lost 91-75. ASU got a career-high 22-point performance by Obinna Oleka, and double-figure scoring efforts from Tra Holder (20 points) and Torian Graham (18 points).
Oleka (9-15 FGs), who came one rebound short of a double-double, Holder (6-10 FGs) and Graham (7-15 FGs) combined to make 22 of the Sun Devils’ 27 field goals in the game. Shannon Evans II tied his career high with eight assists for the Sun Devils (9-9, 2-3 Pac-12), who shot 47 percent for the game. In the end it was the Wildcats’ offense that would prove to be too much as Arizona shot 57 percent for the game, including 43 percent from behind the arc (9-21). The Wildcats outrebounded the Sun Devils 38-22, including a 12-7 advantage on the offensive glass that led to 19 second-chance points for the Wildcats.
Holder is closing in on the 1,000-point mark at ASU, as he has 983 career points. With 17 points he will become the 36th member of the Sun Devil 1,000-point club. Eddie House leads the way with 2,044 points, while Kurt Nimphius is 35th on the list with 1,006. ASU will have a backcourt with two 1,000-point scorers, as Evans has 1,029 career points, 754 of them coming in 62 games at Buffalo.
The 81.6 points per game posted by ASU is its best since the 1997-98 squad averaged 84.5, as ASU ranks second in the Pac-12 in scoring and third in free throw shooting (.753). ASU is averaging just 11.0 turnovers (first in the league) and 9.8 three-pointers made, second in the Pac-12.
Why Bet On UCLA?
The Bruins’ (18-1) lone loss is last month’s last-second 89-87 loss at Oregon. They’re shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range and have the nation’s best effective field goal percentage. UCLA comes off an 83-82 thriller at Utah on Saturday. UCLA overcame a nine-point deficit (51-42) with 16:13 to play in the second half. Aaron Holiday’s game-winning three-pointer with 1:52 left in regulation put the Bruins ahead of the Utes, 81-80. Lonzo Ball scored a team-high 17 points and had eight assists. Fellow freshman TJ Leaf recorded his ninth double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, helping UCLA extend its win streak to five games.
UCLA finished with five players who scored in double figures. Thomas Welsh had 16 points, connecting on 6 of 7 shots, while Bryce Alford followed his 37-point performance last Thursday with 15 points on Saturday. Alford, who has shot over 60 percent from 3-point range in six Pac-12 games, made three 3-pointers at Utah. Alford secured Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for the second time in his career on Monday.
Last week, the Bruins recorded their first Pac-12 “road sweep” since Jan. 2013, earning victories at Colorado on Thursday and Utah on Saturday. In six seasons that the Pac-12 has included Colorado and Utah, the Rocky Mountain road sweep has only been accomplished four times – by UCLA in 2013 and 2017 and by Arizona in 2014 and 2015.
Alford (17.8 ppg), Leaf (16.8), Ball (14.6) and Isaac Hamilton (14.1) all rank among the top 20 in the Pac- 12 in scoring). Six of UCLA’s eight regular contributors have recorded more assists than turnovers. The Bruins have won five of their last six contests against Arizona State. Since the start of the 2004-05 season, UCLA has won 18 of its last 23 games versus Arizona State. UCLA has won its last six home games against the Sun Devils (one home victory came at the Honda Center in Anaheim while Pauley Pavilion was being renovated in 2011-12).
Arizona State at UCLA Betting Pick: UCLA Bruins
This one shouldn’t be close — take UCLA on NCAA Basketball odds.