College Basketball Odds: UCLA vs. Utah prediction, pick, how to watch – 2/23/2023

College Basketball Odds: UCLA vs. Utah prediction, pick, how to watch – 2/23/2023

Updated: 24 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes, 43 seconds ago

The No. 4 UCLA Bruins (23-4) visit the Utah Utes (17-11) on Thursday night! Action tips off at 11:00 p.m. ET. Below we continue our College Basketball odds series with a UCLA-Utah prediction, pick, and how to watch.

UCLA has won six straight and sits at 14-2 and in first place in the Pac-12. The Bruins covered 59% of their games while 56% went under the projected point total. Utah has dropped two in a row and sits at 10-7 and in fifth place in the Pac-12. The Utes covered 50% of their games while 64% went under. This will be the second meeting of the season between the conference foes. UCLA took the first matchup, 69-49 at home in January.

Here are the UCLA-Utah college basketball odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

College Basketball Odds: UCLA-Utah Odds

UCLA: -7.5 (-102)

Utah: +7.5 (-120)

Over: 130.5 (-110)

Under: 130.5 (-110)

 How To Watch UCLA vs. Utah

TV: Fox Sports 1

Stream: Fox Sports Live

Time: 11:00 p.m. ET/ 8:00 p.m. PT

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Why UCLA Could Cover The Spread

UCLA is firmly in the national title conversation as the Bruins have put together an incredible season thus far. The Bruins got off to a hot start as they went 9-2 in non-conference play. While they dropped close games to Illinois and Baylor, the Bruins picked up key wins over Maryland and Kentucky. UCLA kept the ball rolling once Pac-12 games started and have just two losses to their name. Riding a six-game win streak into Utah tonight, the Bruins are cemented near the top of the advanced rankings. UCLA sits at No. 2 in KenPom and No. 4 in NET. While they’ve gone just 4-4 in Quad 1, their 19-0 record outside the first quadrant has cemented their resume as one of the best in the sport. As a result, UCLA currently projects as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

UCLA is led by senior wing Jaime Jaquez Jr. who leads the team with 16.8 PPG and 8.1 RPG. The four-year starter has really taken off in his final year with the Bruins as he’s increased his scoring, rebounding, and efficiency dramatically. Although he struggled in their earlier win over Utah, his hot play of late should give UCLA backers a ton of confidence coming into tonight. He’s eclipsed 20 points in each of his last three games as UCLA begins its push toward the postseason.

The X-factor for UCLA tonight is freshman Amari Bailey. The 6’5″ guard has seen his playing time fluctuate throughout the season but is really coming on strong as the Bruins approach the tournament. He averages 10.3 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG while shooting 50% from the floor. He’s flashed star potential in recent games despite some inconsistency with notable 16 and 24-point games in his last four appearances.

Why Utah Could Cover The Spread

Utah has had an up-and-down season but there is no question the Utes are a tough out. Utah had a shaky non-conference slate that saw them drop games to Sam Houston and Mississippi State and fail to capture a notable non-con win. That being said, Utah has been stellar in Pac-12 play. They handed Arizona their first loss back in December and have taken care of business against the bottom of the conference. That being said, the advanced metrics see them as sizable underdogs tonight as they slide in at No. 35 in KenPom and No. 56 in NET. Their subpar NET ranking is likely thanks to an ugly 1-7 record in Quad 1 in addition to a Quad 3 loss. With that, Utah does not project to make the NCAA Tournament.

Utah is led by senior big man Branden Carlson. The seven-footer leads the Utes in both scoring and rebounding with 16.4 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Additionally, Carlson serves as the linchpin of their strong defense as his 2.1 blocks per game rank second in the conference. He was notably missing from the lineup in their earlier loss to UCLA and he should provide them a spark after their previous loss. Carlson has been the catalyst in a number of their big wins this season, notably scoring 22 points in their upset over Arizona. The big man has been especially impactful at home this season where he’s averaged 18.8 PPG, 8.1 RPG, and 2.7 BPG.

The X-factor for Utah tonight is wing Lazar Stefanovic. The 6’7″ sophomore averages 10.5 PPG while serving as their designated sharpshooter. With 1.7 threes per game on 37% shooting, Stefanovic has the ability to light it up from deep on any given night.

Final UCLA-Utah Prediction & Pick

The Bruins are on upset watch tonight as I like Utah to keep things tight and potentially win outright as they defend their home floor.

Final UCLA-Utah Prediction & Pick: Utah +7.5 (-120)