UCLA at Kentucky Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Friday,December 2, 2016 8:13, EDT in

The two greatest programs in men’s college basketball history are UCLA with its 11 national championships and Kentucky with its eight. It’s a marquee matchup between the No. 11 Bruins and No. 1 Wildcats on Saturday in Lexington with UK a favorite on college basketball odds.

UCLA at Kentucky Odds, Expert Pick & TV Info

When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 12:30 PM ET
Where: Rupp Arena, Lexington
TV: CBS
Stream: CBSsports.com
RadioUCLA / Kentucky
Opening NCAA Basketballl Lines: TBA

Why Bet on UCLA?

The Bruins (8-0) haven’t been challenged much yet this year but also haven’t played anyone of note. UCLA comes off a 98-56 win over UC Riverside. Isaac Hamilton scored a team-high 27 points and Lonzo Ball recorded a freshman single-game UCLA record with 13 assists.

Ball had a season-high 13 assists and just one turnover for the Bruins, who have opened the season with eight consecutive wins for the first time since the fall of 2013. Ball, a freshman guard, attempted just three shots (making two), in a record-setting display distributing the ball. His 13 assists were one more than Pooh Richardson’s total in a double-overtime win at Washington State in 1986. Richardson had 12 assists as a freshman in his team’s win in Pullman, Wash., on Jan. 11, 1986.

Hamilton tied his career high with seven 3-pointers in the Bruins’ 42-point victory. He made 9 of 15 total shots, connecting on 7 of 12 attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. The Bruins also received double-doubles from TJ Leaf (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Thomas Welsh (12 points, 12 rebounds).

Ball and Bryce Alford are as lethal a backcourt as there is in the country. Either one of those guys can catch fire at any moment, and Kentucky is giving up 18 points a game on 3-pointers, 23 points over their last three games, which ranks 76th in the country.

Coach Steve Alford was worried his guys would look ahead to UK, but now they can: “We are excited about it. We are glad we are 8-0 and undefeated through November. Now we start a difficult stretch of games in December. We’ve got a championship under our belt, we have taken care of our home games and have played pretty well, and I think we have improved. State. So you have two teams that are undefeated. Two teams that are both playing well. Two teams that like to play fast.”

Why Bet on Kentucky?

The Wildcats (7-0) are winning by an average of 30 points per game. Kentucky has won all seven games this season by at least 21 points, the first time that has happened since the 1947-48 Wildcats initiated the campaign with six wins of at least a 24-point margin victory.

The Cats are the only team in the country ranked in the top 5 in adjusted offensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions) and adjusted defensive efficiency. North Carolina, Villanova and Kansas are the only other teams in the top 10 in both categories. Kentucky has only shot below 50 percent from the field twice, and the Cats are scoring almost 117 points per 100 possessions. The only weakness thus far for UK is that the Cats are currently shooting threes at 32.3 percent as a team, which ranks 254th in the country. Granted, it’s a small sample size, but still, there’s a potential hole.

Kentucky comes off a 115-69 win over Arizona State in the Bahamas on Monday. Freshman De’Aaron Fox posted the second triple-double in school history with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Fellow freshman Malik Monk scored 23 points for the Wildcats, who Kentucky led by double figures roughly 6 minutes in, led 58-30 by halftime then scored the first 12 points after the break to go up 40 with 15 minutes left.

UK scored its most points in the first half of a game (58) since Dec. 22, 2008, vs. Tennessee State (59). The 58 points were the most first-half points in the John Calipari era. It was the fourth straight game that UK scored at least 50 points in the first half. Kentucky’s 115 points is the most in the Calipari era and the most for the Wildcats since Dec. 30, 2002, when UK defeated Tennessee State 115-87 Fox has produced 3 double-digit assist games in his first seven as a college player. Monk has scored 23- plus in four of his last five games. Together, they’re averaging 34.6 points, 10.3 assists, 8.6 rebounds and 2.9 steals per game.

UCLA at Kentucky Expert Pick: Kentucky

Take UK at home on NCAAB odds in what should be a terrific, high-scoring game.