Free College Basketball Picks: UCLA vs. Duke Odds
by George Monroy - 12/18/2013
The UCLA Bruins are the No. 3 scoring team in the nation and have been lighting up the scoreboard on their way to an impressive 9-1 record. The Bruins average a whopping 89.1 points per game with 18.9 assists on those baskets. The team has not had a chance to showcase its talent against a highly-ranked school yet, but it will look to put on a show when it faces its biggest challenge to date in the Duke Blue Devils on Thursday night.
The Blue Devils may already be accustomed to playing big matchups early in the college basketball season. The team has played three Top-25 schools plus a tough Alabama Crimson Tide squad. Duke’s next challenge will be to face a 9-1 UCLA team that is looking to break into the rankings with a big upset on Thursday. And after that matchup, the Blue Devils will have three relatively easy games to end the year. Let’s take a closer look at the Bruins versus Blue Devils matchup and figure out which side of the spread has the most value to wager on.
UCLA vs. Duke Betting Story Lines
The Bruins have a very productive offensive squad and are ranked in the top three in points, assists and field goal percentage per game. The team shoots 54 percent from the field, 74 percent from the free-throw line, and it is decent from beyond the arc, shooting 41 percent. UCLA’s biggest weakness is its lack of rebounding, and the team grabs an average of only 36 boards per game, which is ranked 164th in the nation.
UCLA has four double-digit scorers on the team and is being led by the 21.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.5 steals and 2.7 assists of second-year guard Jordan Adams. The sophomore has scored over 18 points in five straight games. The team is coming off a 24-point win against Prairie View A&M on Saturday. UCLA was dominant in the matchup and scored 95 points on 64 percent shooting; the only problem was that the team struggled to grab rebounds again and only had 30 for the night.
The No. 8 Blue Devils are still being led by the massive offensive production from Jabari Parker and Rodney Hood, who average 22 and 18.9 points, respectively. Duke failed to cover a 24-point spread in its last outing against Gardner-Webb, but it controlled the matchup and ended up winning by 19 points. It seems at this point in the season the Blue Devils are less worried about blowing teams out and moving up in the rankings and that they would much rather built chemistry and experience with its younger players.
Duke struggles with its rebounding as well, and the team is ranked even worse than the Bruins. The Blue Devils grab only 33 rebounds per game, which is ranked 284th in the nation. Duke prefers to play a fast-paced game that relies on its perimeter players attacking the basket. The team is ranked sixth in shooting percentage in the nation and will probably be looking to get into a shootout with the Bruins.
UCLA vs. Duke NCAA Betting Odds and Key Trends
Duke opened as a three-point favorite over the underdog Bruins at BetOnline. Duke is 4-1 ATS in their last five games following an ATS loss and 5-2 over its last seven Thursday games. However, the team is only 2-5 ATS over its last seven games against squads with winning SU records and 1-4 ATS in its last five matchups following a SU win.
UCLA is 5-0 ATS after scoring more than 90 points in its previous game and 4-1 ATS following a SU win. The team has covered four of its last five overall and nonconference games. However, the Bruins have struggled at neutral-site games over the last few seasons and only have a 9-21 ATS record in those games.
Free College Basketball Picks: UCLA vs. Duke Betting Predictions
Thursday’s matchup between the Blue Devils and Bruins will be played in Madison Square Garden, and even though it will be considered a neutral-site game, the Blue Devils will feel like they have the home-court advantage. UCLA has to travel farther and will probably carry fewer fans with them to the matchup. The spread is a relatively small one at three points, but this is an excellent opportunity to take the Blue Devils with a reasonable number. Those double-digit spreads that Duke has constantly faced can become daunting for a bettor. UCLA has not faced a team this good this season and is probably not as good as its record indicates. Take Duke minus the points.
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