Last Updated Nov 23, 2021, 4:00 AM

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins Picks, Predictions, Odds

Nov. 23, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert

The Gonzaga Bulldogs (5-0) and UCLA Bruins (5-0) square off at T-Mobile Arena in the Empire Classic championship game on Tuesday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 10 p.m. ET, and the game can be viewed on ESPN.

Score Prediction

Gonzaga 87, UCLA 80

Best Bets

Gonzaga -5.5 (-110)

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins Predictions

Gonzaga boat-raced Central Michigan by a 107-54 score in Monday's tournament opener, as five players went for 11 or more points, including C Chet Holmgren with 19 points, five rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists. F Drew Timme registered 11 points with seven rebounds on an efficient 5-of-6 shooting night, and the Bulldogs were an outstanding 57% (42-of-74) from the field while also hitting 9-of-32 (28%) from long distance. If there is one area which is in desperate need of improvement heading into Tuesday's game against UCLA in this marquee matchup, it is Gonzaga's work from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs hit just 14-of-24 (58%) from the charity stripe, and that's simply not going to cut the mustard.

In the opener of this event, UCLA actually got a pretty good test from Bellamarine of the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Knights easily covered a 22.5-point number against the Bruins, and UCLA was covering only briefly in the second half when it went up 52-29. In the final 15:38 of the game, the Knights actually outscored the Bruins 33-23.

The Bruins had some shooting woes, hitting 33-of-73 (45%) from the field. While that isn't that bad, star Johnny Juzang hit 5-for-14 from the field to finish with 13 points, and he was the only UCLA starter to hit double digits. Jaime Jaquez Jr. hit just 3-of-11 from the field to finish with six points, and Tyger Campbell misfired on six of his seven field-goal attempts, ending up with two points. Jules Bernard was also just 2-of-8, ending up with just five points. Perhaps UCLA was just caught looking ahead a little bit?

Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Odds

  • Gonzaga -5.5 (-110)
  • UCLA +5.5 (-110)
  • More Odds | Futures Odds

    Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Resources

    • Matchup: WCC vs. Pac-12
    • Date: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
    • Venue: T-Mobile Arena
    • Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
    • TV-Time: ESPN - 10:00 p.m. ET

    Gonzaga Bulldogs Betting Analysis

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

    • SU: 5-0
    • ATS: 3-2
    • O/U: 2-3

    The Bulldogs have faced Texas so far, and they are playing UCLA and Duke this week, as well as Washington. No one can accuse Gonzaga of not trying to play a tough non-conference schedule.

    Gonzaga also faced Bellarmine, posting a 92-50 win over the Knights as 31-point favorites as the UNDER connected. The Bulldogs have covered three of the past four games overall, including a pair of covers of 31 or more points in each of the past two. In its showdown with Texas on its home floor at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, the Zags registered an 86-74 victory. This will be Gonzaga's second Top 5 battle of the season, and they passed the first one with flying colors.

    Against the Longhorns, the Bulldogs saw Timme do most of the heavy lifting with 37 points, seven rebounds and three assists with an amazing 15-of-19 shooting night. Rasir Bolton was the secondary scoring option with 16 points, including four triples.

    Gonzaga is 10-4 ATS in its past 14 neutral-site games, while going 5-2 ATS in the past seven against teams with a winning overall record. The UNDER is 4-1 in the past five for the Zags, although the OVER is 13-6 in its past 19 neutral-site affairs.

    UCLA Bruins Betting Analysis

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

    • SU: 5-0
    • ATS: 3-2
    • O/U: 4-1

    UCLA has already had a major test, passing with flying colors on Nov. 12 against Villanova at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins racked up an 86-77 overtime victory to cover the three-point spread as the OVER connected. In fact, the OVER hit in the first four games for the Bruins before the UNDER in Monday's game against Bellarmine. It's possible the Bruins were simply holding back a little against the Knights, trying not expend all of their energy ahead of Tuesday's titanic bout. Or, let's give Bellarmine a little credit, and perhaps the Knights played a perfect game and gave UCLA all it could handle.

    The Bruins opened with a 95-58 win over Cal State Bakersfield, covering a 23-point number, before the 'Nova tilt. They registered a 100-79 win over Long Beach State on Nov. 15, failing to hit on a 26.5-point number, while the OVER easily connected. In the past two games against A-Sun teams, UCLA blasted North Florida 98-63 for the cover, before the non-cover against Bellarmine.

    The non-cover against the Knights Monday snapped a 6-0 ATS run for UCLA on a neutral-site court. UCLA is 9-2 ATS in the past 11 games overall dating back to last season, while going 7-1 ATS in the past eight against teams with a winning record. The OVER is 5-1 in the past six games overall, too.

    Inside the Stats - Gonzaga Bulldogs

    • Record: 5-0
    • VI Ranking: 1
    • PS/G: 93.2
    • PA/G: 59.6
    • ORtg: 38.8
    • DRtg: 25.6

    Inside the Stats - UCLA Bruins

    • Record: 5-0
    • VI Ranking: 3
    • PS/G: 90.8
    • PA/G: 67.8
    • ORtg: 39.4
    • DRtg: 28.4

    Key Players to Watch

    • ZAGA: Drew Timme - F (18.8 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 2.2 APG)
    • ZAGA: C Chet Holmgren - C (12.8 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 3.4 BPG)
    • UCLA: Johnny Juzang - G (19.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 36.4% 3P%)
    • UCLA: Jaime Jaquez Jr. - G (15.6 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.8 SPG)

    Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Conclusion

    I like what I have seen from both teams, at least until Monday. I am going to chalk up UCLA's subpar performance and stumbling through the Bellarmine game as a combination of looking ahead to Tuesday, as well as perhaps some struggles with the backdrop at T-Mobile Arena when shooting. Of course, Gonzaga didn't seem to have any problems in its tune-up game against Central Michigan.

    This is going to be a titanic showdown that people are going to talk about all season when discussing 'good wins/losses', strength of schedule and power rankings. No one remembers win over Bellarmine, Long Beach State or North Florida, but everyone remember a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup, in Vegas no less. I am a little concerned about the free-throw shooting of both teams, hitting less than 75%. That's going to be huge down the stretch, and the team that steps up at the free-throw line is going to win this game. I am siding with Gonzaga, as it was 15-of-17 against Texas when the game was on the line and they needed to be good at the charity stripe.

    Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. UCLA Bruins Betting Trends

    • Gonzaga is 10-4 ATS in the past 14 neutral-site games.
    • UCLA is 6-1 ATS in the past seven neutral-site games.
    • UCLA is 9-2 ATS in the past 11 games overall.
    • The UNDER is 4-1 in the past five games for Gonzaga.
    • The OVER is 13-6 in the past 19 neutral-site games for Gonzaga.
    • The OVER is 5-1 in the past six games for UCLA.

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