Abilene Christian vs. UCLA Predictions, Odds, Preview

Mar. 22, 2021
Thom Cunningham
NCAA BK Expert

Abilene Christian vs. UCLA Predictions

Can Abilene Christian shock March Madness with another upset win? Yes, considering ACU features the top-ranked defense nationally in terms of efficiency rating. Texas can tell you all about how good this Wildcats defense is. UCLA has more depth than Texas, but the Longhorns are much more prolific at scoring buckets.

UCLA has a few players on fire right now in terms of shooting the three-pointer, so this is a wonderful clash of stout defense vs. scorching hot offense. Given Abilene Christian's imposing defense and very high confidence, take ACU to cover although I do believe UCLA advances. The point total should go UNDER as well, highly unlikely ACU allows UCLA to touch 70.

  • Score Prediction: UCLA 68 Abilene Christian 64
  • Best Bets - Side: ACU +5
  • Best Bets - Total: UNDER 134

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Abilene Christian vs. UCLA Betting Odds

Line Movements

  • Spread: UCLA -5
  • Total: 134
  • Money-Line: UCLA -200 Abilene Christian +175

Odds to Win NCAA Tournament

Odds to Win West Region

Odds Subject to Change

Second Round Predictions

Monday's Previews - Mar. 22, 2021

Handicapping Abilene Christian vs. UCLA

It's hard to bet against ACU's defense, consistently solid and proven against a top scoring team like Texas. ACU has covered the spread in 17 of 23 games this season, and are 4-1 on the ATS as the underdog. They are also a perfect 5-0 on the ATS when playing in a neutral court.

They have also gone UNDER the point total in three of their last five games. UCLA has covered three of its last five games on a neutral court, although Abilene Christian is the best defense they will have faced in the tournament so far. This is a much more difficult game to handicap then it appears to be on paper, but lean with ACU's consistent defense in both markets.

  • Region: East
  • Matchup: 11 vs. 14
  • Venue: Bankers Life Fieldhouse
  • Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Date: Mar. 22, 2021
  • TV-Time: 5:15 p.m. (ET) - TBS

Handicapping Resources: March Madness Central | NCAA Consensus Picks

Betting Stats & Analysis - Abilene Christian Wildcats

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

ACU suffocated Texas in Round 1, holding the Longhorns to just 35% from beyond the arc and forcing 22 turnovers. Courtney Ramey and Matt Coleman struggled tremendously, while leading scorer Andrew Jones only say 13 hard fought points.

Expect this sort of defense from ACU again, as the Wildcats will look for similar results against the three-headed UCLA monster. UCLA has more depth than Texas though, so the task is more difficult to contain this Bruin offense.

ACU averages 10 steals per game (ranks third nationally) and averages 17.9 assists per game (ranks fifth nationally). This points to solid backcourt play, which means the Bruins key player might be point guard Tyger Campbell in this one.

Seed: 14
Conference: Southland
Bid: Auto

  • SU: 24-4
  • ATS: 17-6
  • O/U: 14-9
  • Current Form (Last 5): 5-0 SU, 5-0 ATS, 2-3 O/U
  • Notable Wins: Texas
  • PS/G: 76.8 (53rd)
  • PA/G: 60.2 (4th)
  • Off Rtg: 106.2 (93rd)
  • Def Rtg: 83.3 (1st)

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Betting Stats & Analysis - UCLA Bruins

UCLA , much like the entire Pac-12 conference, has been flying under the radar this season. UCLA is coming ff huge wins against Michgian State and BYU, as the talent and depth of Mick Cronin's team is starting to rise over everyone else.

The Bruins have been electric in scoring points through the first two games thus far, now with the 51st-most efficient offense in the nation. Most notably is the three-point shot, in which UCLA is hitting 37.4% which ranks 37th-best in the nation. What has gotten UCLA this far in the tournament will be test against the country's top defense.

Seed: 11
Conference: Pac-12
Bid: At-large

  • SU: 19-9
  • ATS: 14-14
  • O/U: 16-12
  • Current Form (Last 5): 2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS, 3-2 O/U
  • Notable Wins: BYU, Oregon State, Michigan State, Colorado
  • PS/G: 73.3 (120th)
  • PA/G: 68.7 (128th)
  • Off Rtg: 108.9 (51st)
  • Def Rtg: 102 (220th)

Key Players to Watch

Joe Pleasant might be the most popular man for ACU, hitting the final two free throws to send the Wildcats dancing further into March Madness. What's interesting about Pleasant is that he averages the second-most points per game on the team, but only shoots 59% from the charity stripe. Him hitting those free throws speaks volumes to his leadership, poise and conviction.

UCLA has a long list of players to watch. The two lethal scorers who have taken over March Madness are Jaime Jaquez and Johnny Juzang. They have been prolific scorers, and will be difficult to contain. Although they are the offensive source for UCLA, Tyger Campbell's control of pace is the most crucial element for UCLA winning this game.

  • ACU - Kolton Kohl (12 PPG, 4.8 RPG)
  • ACU - Joe Pleasant (10.8 PPG, 5.5 RPG)
  • UCLA - Johnny Juzang (15 PPG, 4.2 RPG)
  • UCLA - Jaime Jaquez (12.3 PPG, 6 RPG)

2021 March Madness Tournament Team Results

ACU covered their fifth straight games by upsetting Texas 53-52 in Round 1. UCLA also won and covered in its last game, beating BYU by 11 points. It's the third game UCLA has covered over its last four tries, failing to cover in 10 of 12 prior.

March Madness Records & Trends

Abilene Christian Wildcats

  • All-Time Record: 1-1
  • Last Appearance: 2019
  • Deepest Run: Second Round (2020)

-- Abilene Christian has covered the spread in four of its last five games when playing as the underdog.
-- Abilene Christian has covered the spread in five straight games when playing on a neutral court.
-- Abilene Christian has won 24 of its last 28 games.
-- Abilene Christian has gone OVER the point total in 11 of its last 14 games.

UCLA Bruins

  • All-Time Record: 108-42
  • Last Appearance: 2018
  • Deepest Run: Champion (1995)

-- UCLA has won five of its last eight NCAA Tournament games.
-- UCLA has reached the Sweet 16 in three of its last six NCAA Tournament appearances.
-- UCLA has failed to cover the spread in 11 of its last 15 games.

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