UCLA Bruins at Utah Utes – NCAAM February 25

8 p.m. ET – UCLA (-1) at Utah O/U: 135½

Teams Spread Money Line Total Points
UCLA -1 (-110) O 135½ (-110)
Utah +1 (-110) U 135½ (-110)

The 16-5 Bruins travel to Salt Lake City to take on the 9-10 Utes on Thursday night. UCLA defeated Arizona State 80-79 for its third straight win to move into second place in the Pac-12. Utah fell to Oregon on Saturday, 67-64, for its third consecutive loss. These two teams met in Los Angeles on Dec. 31, when the Bruins squeaked out a 72-70 win. Utah shot 50 percent from the field in the previous matchup, as well as 40 percent from beyond the arc, to nearly pull off the upset.

UCLA Bruins LogoUCLA is led by guard Johnny Juzang, who averages 13.8 points per game. Juzang had 13 points in the first matchup on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. But it is the Bruins’ improved defense under second-year coach Mick Cronin that is the biggest reason for their success. Cronin instilled a much-needed defensive intensity that took some time for the Bruins to buy into, but now it is a major component of the team’s winning mentality.

Utah Utes LogoUtah is led by forward Timmy Allen, averaging 17.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game. Allen had 18 in the previous game against the Bruins on 8-of-14 from the field and the Utes will need that and more from him and his teammates to hang around again in this one. Utah has struggled offensively in recent games, averaging just 62 points over its last three games.

Please Note:
The Over/Under total for this game is a bit inflated due to the high-scoring nature of UCLA’s last game. But that is a bit misleading. Every game featuring Arizona State is high scoring due to ASU’s pace of play. Cronin’s team will not take Utah lightly after barely defeating them earlier this season, so expect a big defensive effort tonight. Plus, the Utes are not likely to shoot the ball as well as they did the last time they met. Much like Cronin’s teams that he coached during a highly successful 13-year run at Cincinnati, the Bruins can go long stretches where they struggle to score, making the Under of 135½ the best bet for this Thursday night Pac-12 showdown.
The Bets
Under 135½ Points

*Odds courtesy of MyBookie

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Joe Menzer / Author

Joe is an award-winning writer and editor who has covered the NBA, NFL, NASCAR, golf, various collegiate athletics and other sports for newspapers, Turner Sports, Fox Sports and ESPN. He has been on the beat for seven Super Bowls, six Daytona 500s and numerous NBA playoff series and All-Star Games. He once was dispatched to Rome, Italy to spend time with an NBA draft choice who opted to play overseas, after which he produced an award-winning series of stories. He also is passionate about fantasy sports and breaking down games in ways that even novice gamblers can use to make their most intelligent wagering decisions.