College Basketball: PAC-12 CAL vs. UCLA
California Golden Bears (10-4) at #4 UCLA Bruins (14-1, 8-0 home)
January 5, 2017- 9:00 PM ET (TV ESPN) Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
After getting a taste of defeat in their conference opener to fall from the No. 1 spot, the UCLA Bruins bounced big their last time out and now return home to play host to the upset-minded California Golden Bears in a Pac-12 showdown that has the following betting lines;
Best Golden Bears Lines: 5Dimes Spread (+11) ML “See Live Odds”
Best Bruins Lines: MyBookie Spread (-11) ML “See Live Odds”
Over/Under: BetOnline “See Live Odds”
Pauley Pavilion will be the site on Thursday night for what should be an entertaining contest between the Cal Bears and No. 4 Bruins, two teams who split their conference openers last weekend.
For Cal (10-4), they suffered a loss at home to Arizona but bounced back with an easy 81-65 victory over Arizona State. Hoping to add some depth to their lineup, 7-foot-1 junior center Kameron Rooks is back practicing since injuring his knee back on Nov. 30, though his status remains unclear for Thursday’s road-test.
Backed behind G Jabari Bird and his team-leading 15.8 points per game, California is scoring 70.9 points per contest, while they do well in protecting the basket allowing 60.3 points per game thanks to leading the nation in defensive rebounding with 82 percent.
And for the high-scoring offense of the Bruins who are lighting up the scoreboard to the tune of 93.9 points per game, it’s been a collective group effort in the scoring department, though it is freshman forward TJ Leaf that is leading the way with 17.5 PPG along with 8.9 boards. Dynamic ball-handler G Lonzo Ball leads with 8.1 dishes as the Bruins stand at 14-1 with an undefeated home mark.
UCLA continues to lead the nation in assists with 23.1 per game as continued unselfish play has been the successful blueprint for this Bruins team thus far.
On defense, UCLA is allowing 74.3 points per game.
The Bruins dropped an 89-87 heartbreaker to a ranked Oregon team to tip off their conference opener, but were able to get the split up north with a 76-63 victory over Oregon State.
UCLA is also getting healthy with the impending return of C Thomas Welsh, who has missed the last four games with a bruised right knee.
Ranking third in the nation in points scored, the visiting Golden Bears will be greatly tested in trying to slow down the offensive machine of UCLA but should be on point in the defensive rebounding department. Taking a look at the betting lines, MyBookie is favoring UCLA (-11) points over CAL with an over/under that still needs to be determined.
Expecting a closer than projected outcome, I will take the Golden Bears PLUS the points (+11) to cover the spread against UCLA as my betting pick.