January 7, 2016 (2:07 PM ET)
There is one college pick tonight.
In addition, two NFL picks have been released in advance for the weekend.
Take UCLA at +3 spread against Arizona for 3% of the bankroll.
The UCLA Bruins are just 9-6 on the season and have opened up their conference slate with back to back losses to the bottom tier of the Pac-12. They have been as inconsistent as it gets to start the season and to the occasional sports-bettor, they have all of the makings and appearance of a mediocre team. With a scheduled matchup against the No. 7 ranked, 13-1 Arizona Wildcats, there are likely not too many out there who will be giving the Bruins a chance in this contest, especially with the Bruins coming off of two straight losses. On paper, it certainly looks like Arizona should run away with this contest given the recent perception of this UCLA team, however we don't believe that will be the case.
The Bruins return home tonight to Pauley Pavilion Stadium which will no doubt be a much needed boost for this team. There are few teams in the country who have had more disparity in their results and statistics on the road vs. at home than this UCLA team. In their 3 true road games this season, the Bruins have shot just 41% from the field, however in this venue, they have won 7 straight and shoot a blistering 47% from the field. They have already knocked off two ranked opponents this season in this stadium, defeating both the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Kentucky Wildcats and could have a chance to do the same to the Wildcats tonight!
The Wildcats will also get a missing piece back tonight as this contest will mark the return of Kaleb Tarczewski who has been out for the early part of the season with a foot injury. While many expect Tarczewski's return to immediately make an impact for the better on the team, we actually believe he could somewhat hinder the team's production, at least in this contest as he will likely be a bit rusty and out of game shape from sitting on the sidelines for so long. It will likely take Tarczewski another game or two to get back into rhythm and the mistakes or lack of plays he makes tonight could be the difference in Arizona winning / covering this game.
While this matchup may seem like a mismatch on the surface to some, the Wildcats have actually had their share of struggles both against UCLA and especially in this venue where Arizona has lost 7 of their last 8 trips here. The fact that the oddsmakers have listed the Wildcats as only a single possession favorite speaks volumes about how they believe this game will play out. There is certainly no way that they could have listed the Bruins as the favorites in this contest, but it is clear that the professionals have a huge amount of respect for UCLA given what they have already been able to accomplish at home this season, as do we.
If UCLA loses this game tonight, it will be their first 0-3 start in conference play dating back to the 1981-82 season! That is certainly the side of history that no team wants to be associated with. We can expect and extra added fire and motivation both in these players and the coaching staff tonight as they prepare to battle with one of the conference's elite. The Bruins have already proven their ability to step up against elite competition this season and we expect them to do the same for this contest. Both Bryce Alford and Tony Parker were held to a combined 16 points in their last contest, which is a rare performance for both as the Bruins consistently have 5 players who average in double figures. We expect a much better showing from both Alford and Parker as they get back on track tonight. This is likely to be a back and forth affair with this game possibly being decided by free throws at the end. Given the fact that the Bruins are desperate for a win and can hardly afford a loss, we expect them to keep this game close, if not pull off the outright victory.
Other notable facts to consider:
- UCLA has covered 6 of last 7 against Arizona!
- The Underdog is 8-1 ATS last 9 games of this series.
- UCLA is 7-1 ATS last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning road record!
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