California at UCLA Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,January 4, 2017 10:37, EST in

The University of Cal-Berkeley hasn’t beaten a Top-5 team away from home in a decade. Do the Bears have a shot to do just such a thing when they visit No. 4 and Pac-12 favorite UCLA on Thursday? The Bruins look like a national championship contender and will be favored on college basketball odds.

California at UCLA Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Thursday, Jan. 5, 9 PM ET
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles
TV: ESPN
Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: California / UCLA
Opening NCAA Basketball Lines: UCLA favored by TBA

Why Bet On Cal?

The Bears (10-4) come off an 81-65 win over Arizona State to end a two-game losing streak. California coach Cuonzo Martin played a hunch and decided to start Grant Mullins for the first time since late November. Mullins scored a season-high 20 points to lead four players in double figures and California pulled away late. Mullins earned his fifth start of the season and first since Nov. 30 vs. Louisiana Tech.

Ivan Rabb had 20 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for his sixth double-double of the season despite being in foul trouble. Jabari Bird added 16 points and Sam Singer scored 10. Rabb has grabbed at least 10 rebounds eight times in his 12 games this year. Rabb ranks in the top 30 in the country in defensive rebounds per game (10th, 7.92), rebounds per game (24th, 10.3) and double-doubles (28th, 6). Bird has scored in double figures in seven of the eight games he has played this season.

Cal combined 8-for- 38 (21.1%) on 3-pointers the previous two games vs. Virginia and Arizona, both losses. The Bears made 8 of their first 16 3 point attempts vs. ASU and finished 11-for- 25 from behind the arc. This matchup marks Cal’s third game against a top 25 opponent in the last four outings, with the Bears seeking their first win over a ranked opponent this season. Upset-minded California has lost by five points or fewer to both its ranked opponents this season, falling to then-No. 12 Virginia, 56-52, on Dec. 21 and dropping a game to then-No. 18 Arizona, 67-62, on Dec. 30.

The Bears are looking to take their first win over a top 5 team on the road since March 2007. Coincidentally, Cal’s last win over a top 5 opponent away from Haas Pavilion came against the then-No. 4 Bruins in overtime, 76-69, at the Pac-10 Tournament in Los Angeles on March 8, 2007.

Why Bet On UCLA?

With the arrival of super freshman Lonzo Ball, UCLA has vaulted into the country’s top spot in assists (347) and assists per game (23.1). 66.3 percent of UCLA’s made field goals have been assisted this season. However, only 46 percent of the field goals Cal has allowed in 2016-17 have been assisted.

The Bruins (14-1) bounced back from their first loss to Oregon with an easy win over Oregon State on Friday. OSU tied the game, 38-38, early in the second half, before UCLA used a 9-2 scoring run at the 10-minute mark to pull away for the road win. Ball scored a season-high 23 points and added seven assists and six rebounds. Ball connected on 4 of 8 shots from 3-point range. TJ Leaf recorded his sixth double- double of the year, logging 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Beavers.

Freshmen Leaf (17.5 ppg 8.9 rpg) and Ball (14.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 8.1 apg) rank among the top 10 in multiple categories in the Pac-12. Leaf has twice been named the conference’s player of the Week (Dec. 5, Dec. 19), ranks first among all Pac-12 players in overall field goal percentage (65.7%) and fourth in scoring.

Ball, named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Nov. 28, is the nation’s only player averaging at least 10 points, five rebounds and eight assists per game. He has scored at least 20 points in two games and dished at least 10 assists in five games. Ball has totaled 121 assists in 15 games as a freshman, just 58 behind the school’s single-season freshman assists record that was established by Pooh Richardson (179) in 1985-86.

Last season, UCLA lost its only contest against California, 75-63, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. UCLA has won each of its last four games in Pauley Pavilion against California (2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015) and has posted a 7-2 record at home against the Golden Bears since the 2006-07 season (one of those two losses came at the L.A. Sports Arena in Feb. 2012).

California at UCLA Expert Pick: UCLA Bruins

Take the Bruins, probably the country’s best offensive team, on NCAA Basketball odds.