Last Updated Feb 23, 2023, 9:39 PM

UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Picks, Predictions, Odds

The Utah Utes are currently on the wrong side of the bubble when it comes to their March Madness hopes. Utah is 17-11 after back-to-back losses to Arizona and Arizona State, and the Utes have just one Quad 1 win. They have had their chances to pick up wins against other big name opponents, but they have lost each of their other seven games against Quad 1 opponents. A win over the UCLA Bruins on Thursday night would be enormous for their chances of making it to the NCAA Tournament, but they likely need to beat USC or Colorado too in order to get to a 12-8 record in conference play.

On Thursday, February 23, 2023, the Utah Utes will welcome the UCLA Bruins to the Beehive State. These Pac 12 rivals will square off in an important conference game at 11 p.m. ET on FS1 from the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Utes are 0-6 in their last six matchups against UCLA. (Getty)

UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Betting Prediction

UCLA cruised to a 68-49 victory in the first game between these teams back on January 12. However, Utah was without its best player in that game as leading scorer and rebounder Branden Carlson was unavailable. That gives the Utes a lot of optimism coming into the rematch as Carlson is a tough player to match up against as a 7'0 senior. That being said, the Bruins rank second nationally in team defense, so they should be able to find a way to stop Utah's big man.

Score Prediction: UCLA 67, Utah 58
Best Bet: UCLA -7 (-110)

UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Betting Odds

UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Betting Resources

Date: Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023
TV-Time: FS1, 11:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Jon M. Huntsman Center
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Expert Picks

Pac-12 Tournament Odds

UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Betting Stats

UCLA Bruins
SU: 23-4
ATS: 16-11
O/U: 12-15
PPG: 74.1
OPPG: 59.4

Utah Utes
SU: 17-11
ATS: 14-14
O/U: 10-18
PPG: 69.8
OPPG: 62.9

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)
Points Per Game (PPG), Opponents Points Per Game (OPPG)

UCLA Bruins Betting Analysis

This is Mick Cronin's best team yet at UCLA. The long-time Cincinnati head coach was hired prior to the start of the 2019-20 contender to restore the luster to this program, and he has succeeded by instilling a defense-first mindset into this squad. UCLA ranks fifth in forced turnover percentage with opponents turning the ball over on 24.7% of their possessions, and they rank in the top 35 in defensive effective field goal percentage. Teams are making just 30.7% of their three-point attempts against the Bruins.

Jaime Jaquez has been one of the best players in the country. Jaquez is averaging 16.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG as a 6'7 guard, and we have seen him develop over the course of his four years with the team. He has taken on more of a role with the offense in each subsequent season, and he is now making 48.1% of his field goals despite shooting a ton. Jaylen Clark has excelled in this aspect too as he is averaging 13.3 PPG and 6.4 RPG while making 48.3% of his shots from the floor.

David Singleton is the best three-point shooter on the Bruins, sinking 43.8% of his threes. Amari Bailey missed the first game against Utah, but he's back in the lineup and has shown that he can score points in bunches when needed. Adem Bona is the only forward that sees significant time on the court, so that's a little concerning against a team as tall as Utah. The Utes have the potential to dominate them in the low post if the Bruins aren't physical enough.

The Bruins are 9-2 in their last 11 road games. (Getty)

Utah Utes Betting Analysis

Branden Carlson is the best player on Utah with 16.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Carlson has been tough for some teams to stop because of his size and range, as he is making over 52% of his field goals and more than 35% of his threes. Unfortunately, the rest of the scoring options for the Utes are either mediocre or above average. That's why Utah ranks 99th in offensive efficiency on the year.

Utah's three guards that are averaging at least 10 PPG are all making just 37% of their threes. To make matters worse, Gabe Madsen is sidelined due to injury, and there isn't a lot of depth on the roster. Marco Anthony is a solid shooter inside the perimeter, but he is not a great free throw shooter, and Rollie Worster has been a streaky shooter.

The Utes are one of the best defensive teams in the country though. They rank fifth in defensive effective field goal percentage with opponents making just 28.6% of their three-point attempts and 44.6% of their two-point attempts against Utah. They don't foul their opposition and send them to the line, but this team doesn't force a lot of turnovers either as pressure defense is not its style.

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