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UCLA vs Utah Picks and Odds (Jan. 20)

Chris Amberley

by Chris Amberley in College Basketball

Jan 20, 2022 · 3:47 AM PST

Johnny Juzang tries to get to the basket
UCLA guard Johnny Juzang, right, drives past Oregon State guard Dexter Akanno during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 81-65. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
  • #9 UCLA is a 9.5-point favorite over Utah on Thursday (Jan. 20th) at 11 pm ET in Pac-12 play
  • The Utes have dropped six straight games coming in
  • Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction

There’s more late night college hoops to sweat on Thursday (January 20th), as #9 UCLA visits Utah. The Pac-12 rivals have been trending in the opposite direction from one another lately, as the Bruins have won six of seven, while the Utes have dropped six straight.

UCLA vs Utah Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
UCLA Bruins -555 -9.5 (-110) O 144.5 (-110)
Utah Utes +400 +9.5 (-110) U 144.5 (-110)

Odds as of Jan 19th at BetMGM.

The Bruins opened up as a 9.5-point favorite, in a contest that features a total of 144.5. Tip-off is scheduled for 11 pm ET at the Jon M. Huntsman Center, in Salt Lake City, Utah, with FS1 providing the broadcast coverage.

UCLA remains one of the favorites in the odds to make the Final Four, sitting at +345. Though that has faded from +300 at the start of the season. After opening as the second-best NCAA Tournament title odds, the Bruins have faded to tenth at +2100.

UCLA Bruins Betting Analysis

UCLA (11-2, 3-1 Pac-12) rebounded from its first conference loss of the season (last Thursday to Oregon) by waxing Oregon State 81-65 on Saturday. It was the Bruins’ eighth double-digit win of the season, and it came without the services of Jaime Jaquez Jr.

UCLA’s second leading scorer sat out with an ankle injury, after scoring just 4 points in the Bruins’ previous game. His absence was hardly felt however, as UCLA barely broke a sweat against the Beavers.

Four Bruins reached double-figures, led by the 24 points of leading scorer Johnny Juzang. Jaylen Clark splashed 11 points starting in place of Jaquez Jr., while the team shot a blistering 61.7% from the field.

Jacquez Jr. was reportedly a “full go” at practice on Tuesday, and is trending towards playing versus the Utes on Thursday.

UCLA dominated Oregon State inside, winning the rebounding battle and outscoring them 40-22 in the paint. They held the Beavers to 43.9% shooting from the field, forcing 16 turnovers, and racking up 9 steals.

The Bruins enter play with the 18th best average score margin in the country (+13.8), and the 11th best scoring offense (80.6 ppg). They rank 23rd in total rebounding, while only 11 programs in all of college hoops commit fewer turnovers.

At the other end of the court, they rank above average in scoring defense (66.8 ppg), and opponent shooting percentage (42.1%), but shouldn’t have to worry too much about a potential efficient offensive performance from Utah.

Utah Utes Betting Analysis.

That’s because the Utes (8-10, 1-7 Pac-12) are a middling team at both ends of the court. They’re averaging 70.7 points per game, but that number is propped up from early season results versus lousy competition. They’ve failed to exceed 68 points in five straight games, and their prospects for a victory in the near future do not look bright. They’ll face not only the ninth ranked Bruins on Thursday, but also #16 USC on Saturday.

Utah’s latest setback, a 64-62 loss to Arizona State last Monday, dropped them to 0-5 on the road and 1-7 in conference play. They shot just 35% from the field, and 25% from three, committing 14 turnovers along the way.

The lousy offensive performance wasted a solid effort on defense. The Utes held the Sun Devils to 41.% from the field, and 26.9% from three, but couldn’t capitalize often enough on the offensive end.

A big problem for the Utes so far this season, has been a lack of turnovers on defense. They force just 9.4 per night, which is one of the lowest marks in the nation. That, plus a middling defensive rebounding percentage has allowed their opponents to get off over 61 field goal attempts per game, which is one of the highest amounts in the country.

UCLA vs Utah Pick

The Utes’ middling offense has helped keep its games low scoring this season, especially against quality competition. They’ve failed to exceed 66 points versus five of the top-six programs they’ve faced, while the under has hit in each of their past four contests.

The Bruins meanwhile, tend to produce high scoring games except when they’re away from home. In five games either on the road or at a neutral site, the under is 5-0.

I can’t stomach laying -9.5 with UCLA, especially since they’re 3-7 ATS when laying 7 or more points this season, so I’ll grab the under.

Pick: Under 144.5 (-110)

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