Last Updated Mar 17, 2022, 9:59 PM

Akron Zips vs. UCLA Bruins Picks, Predictions, Odds

The Akron Zips (24-9) of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) will meet the UCLA Bruins (25-7) of the Pac-12 Conference in first-round action in the NCAA Tournament. Tip-off is scheduled for approximately 9:50 p.m. ET at Moda Center in Portland, Ore., and the game can be viewed on TBS.

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Score Prediction

UCLA 71, Akron 61

Best Bet

Akron +14 (-110)
Over 127.5 (-110)

NCAA Tournament Expert Picks | NIT Tournament Picks

MARCH MADNESS BETTING RESOURCES

AKRON ZIPS vs. UCLA BRUINS PREDICTIONS

The Zips of Akron ran through the Mid-American Conference Tournament with three wins and three covers. The longer the tourney went on, the better and better the results were, too. They opened with a 70-68 win over Buffalo as 3-point underdogs, they topped Toledo 70-62 as a 5.5-point 'dog and then blew out rival Kent State by a 75-55 score as a 1-point underdog to go a perfect 3-0 ATS. Akron has gotten hot at the right time, rattling off eight consecutive victories with seven covers during the span.

The Bruins of UCLA were considered an elite team for most of the season. Since Feb. 3, the Bruins fell on slightly hard times, losing four games in the final 11 regular-season games, while slipping up against Arizona on March 12 in the rubber match, 84-76. This is still a dangerous team with a win against 1-seed Arizona, on Jan. 25, as well as a victory over 2-seed Villanova back on Nov. 12. They also topped tournament team Marquette on the road on Dec. 11 by 11 points, and the Bruins picked up a 75-68 victory over USC on March 5, another team in the NCAA Tournament field.

AKRON ZIPS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING ODDS

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AKRON ZIPS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING RESOURCES

  • Date: Thursday, March 17, 2022
  • Matchup: No. 13 vs. No. 4
  • Region: East
  • Venue: Moda Center
  • Location: Portland, Ore.
  • TV-Time: TBS - 9:50 p.m. ET

AKRON ZIPS BETTING ANALYSIS

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

  • SU: 24-9
  • ATS: 17-14
  • O/U: 14-17

The Zips have gotten red-hot with eight consecutive wins and seven covers dating back to a stunning 66-63 loss against Northern Illinois on Feb. 17. That stunner served as a wake-up call for the Zips, scoring 70 or more points in six of the previous seven outings, too.

Akron is also 28-10 ATS in the past 38 games as an underdog, while going 4-0 ATS in the past four games against winning teams and 4-0 ATS in the past four neutral-site games. They're also 6-1 ATS in the past seven games following a straight-up victory, as well as 5-1 ATS in the past six following a cover.

As far as totals are concerned, Akron has hit the UNDER in four of the past five games, while going 4-1 in the past five games following a straight-up victory, too.

UCLA BRUINS BETTING ANALYSIS

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

  • SU: 25-7
  • ATS: 17-14-1
  • O/U: 16-16

UCLA saw its five-game win streak snapped against Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament Final. The Bruins came up just short of their first tournament championship since 2014, when it beat Arizona, so the Wildcats gave them a little revenge served up cold.

The Bruins have posted a 7-3 ATS in the past 10 games overall, while going 4-1 ATS in the past five as a favorite. They're also 8-3 ATS in the past 11 neutral-site games, while going 6-0 ATS in the past six NCAA Tournament games. They're also 5-1-1 ATS in the past seven games following a straight-up loss, while going 4-0 ATS in the past four after a non-cover.

For totals, the OVER is 5-1 in the past six games overall, while going 4-1 in the past five as a favorite. The OVER is 5-0 in the past five games following a straight-up loss, and 5-0 in the past five following a non-cover, too. The UNDER is 4-0 in the past four NCAA Tournament games as a favorite, too.

UCLA is 6-0 ATS in its past six NCAA Tournament games. (AP)

INSIDE THE STATS - AKRON ZIPS

  • Record: 24-9
  • PS/G: 71.2 (168th)
  • PA/G: 62.8 (24th)

INSIDE THE STATS - UCLA BRUINS

  • Record: 25-7
  • PS/G: 76.4 (49th)
  • PA/G: 64.8 (46th)

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

  • AKRON: Ali Ali - F (14.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 2.6 APG, 46.5 FG%)
  • AKRON: Enrique Freeman - F (13.0 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.2 BPG)
  • UCLA: Jaime Jaquez, Jr. - G (13.3 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 48.1 FG%)
  • UCLA: Johnny Juzang - G (16.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG, 84.1 FT%)

AKRON ZIPS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING CONCLUSION

The Zips have been red-hot lately, while the Bruins haven't really been playing good basketball. Of course, that's all relative, especially considering the higher quality opponents for UCLA.

Akron has 24 victories this season, and if you can remember all the way back to Nov. 9, the Zips lost on a tip-in at the buzzer at Ohio State, losing 67-66. The Zips also topped Wright State, another NCAA Tournament team, by a 66-48 score on Dec. 15 in Dayton, but the quality wins are few and far between for Akron.

Still, the Zips have been playing with a lot of confidence, and this is the type game where on paper, it looks like a mismatch, on the big board, it looks like a mismatch, and in a 13-4 matchup, it looks like a mismatch. Then, with a few minutes to play, Akron is bucking for a major upset, and the chance to screw up everyone's brackets.

UCLA isn't going to screw up anybody's bracket, though. They'll get it done against Akron, but it wouldn't be shocking to see the Zips keep it within single digits for most of the evening before finishing with a double-digit victory late on free throws. Akron will hold on for the cover, however.

MARCH MADNESS PICK RESOURCES

AKRON ZIPS vs. UCLA BRUINS BETTING TRENDS

  • Akron is 7-1 ATS in the past eight games overall.
  • Akron is 28-10 ATS in the past 38 games as an underdog.
  • Akron is 4-0 ATS in the past four vs. winning teams.
  • Akron is 4-0 ATS in the past four neutral-site games.
  • UCLA is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 games overall.
  • UCLA is 4-1 ATS in the past five as a favorite.
  • UCLA is 6-0 ATS in the past six NCAA Tournament games.
  • UCLA is 8-3 ATS in the past 11 neutral-site games.
  • The UNDER is 4-1 in the past five games for Akron.
  • The OVER is 5-1 in the past six games for UCLA.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the past five as a favorite for UCLA.
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