California at UCLA Betting Pick & Prediction

Posted by Peter Boysen on January 4, 2017 in

The #4 UCLA Bruins (14-1) host the California Golden Bears (10-4) on Thursday night in Pac- 12 basketball action. The Bruins opened their Pac-12 slate with a loss to Oregon, but then they rebounded in a big way with a 76-63 win over Oregon State on Friday night. Cal opened conference play with a home loss to #18 Arizona but then beat Arizona State, 81-65, on New Year’s Day. Let’s check out this college hoops matchup — and then take a look at our online betting odds for other big games going on this week.

California at UCLA Betting Pick & Prediction

When: Thursday, Jan. 5, 9 PM ET
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles
Stream: WatchESPN
Radio: California / UCLA
NCAA Basketball Odds: TBA


Why should you bet on the Golden Bears?

UCLA simply doesn’t play defense. They just don’t. So if you shoot lights out on your own end of the floor and have the horses to turn a game into a track meet, then you have a chance of beating the Bruins, like Oregon did last Wednesday night. The problem for Cal is that they don’t have the depth or the speed to do this, particularly on the road. The two freshmen that UCLA brought in — Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf — are simply amazing. Ball passes like an NBA point guard, and Leaf gives the Bruins a solid presence around the rim. The guards in front of him don’t do much to halt penetration, but he does alter some shots around the rim. Cal leads the Pac-12 in defense — but they don’t take away the ball, instead contesting shots and rebounding solidly. So Cal can try to slow the game down and clog up the three-point line, like Oregon State did, and their defense is better than the Beavers’, so if you like Cal here, you’re thinking their defense can do this.

Why should you put your money on the Bruins?

Is it time for the Bruins to worry about Isaac Hamilton? He went 0 for 10 against Oregon State — and had gone just 1 for 6 in UCLA’s loss to Oregon. The senior guard had a number of open looks in the second half against Oregon State but appeared to lack the confidence to shoot, instead passing the ball away — to the point where coach Steve Alford was hollering at him to take shots It is true that Oregon State made a priority of taking away the three-ball, which is a UCLA staple. The Bruins just went 9 for 25 from downtown — and 26 for 59 for the whole game. Luckily, though, the Bruins had freshmen Lonzo Ball (a career best 23 points) and T.J. Leaf (21 points and 10 boards) to pace the team. So even if Hamilton and his senior counterpart in the backcourt, Bryce Alford, continue to struggle, the Bruins have the depth to beat a team like Cal.

Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

I don’t like Cal’s chances to pull off a win — not on the road. I’ll look at this matchup again when the scene shifts to Berkeley. For now, I’m predicting an 84-76 UCLA win.