The UCLA Bruins dominated in their first NCAA Tournament game, while the Northwestern Wildcats led for all but a few seconds in their opener. Here is our best Northwestern vs. UCLA prediction based on the top NCAAB odds.
The most impressive thing about the Wildcats' performance was how they never let the Boise State Broncos get over the hump. The Wildcats jumped out to a big lead, but the Broncos kept battling. They even tied the game early in the second half. But the Wildcats were never rattled and managed to immediately regain the lead and play from ahead the rest of the contest.
As for the Bruins, there isn't much to report. They dominated, exactly as expected, on their way to a 33-point win. Guards Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Amari Bailey each scored 17, while guard Tyger Campbell had 10 assists.
Here is our best Northwest ern vs. UCLA prediction (odds via FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Northwestern vs. UCLA odds
Northwestern vs. UCLA prediction
This feels like a big number after the way the Wildcats played Thursday night. However, it's really hard to back them against a team with the Bruins' talent level.
Each of the Bruins' last five wins was by at least 9 points, including a March 4th victory over the Arizona Wildcats. Before their Pac-12 Championship game loss, they won 12 in a row, and eight of those would have covered this spread.
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These types of trends may not tell us much, but they do acknowledge the Brui ns don't mess around when they play an inferior opponent. After Arizona went down against the Princeton Tigers, there was some concern that the Pac-12 just wasn't that good. UCLA silenced those doubts with a dominant performance.
The Wildcats are a good team, but the Bruins don't have a true weakness. They can beat you in a variety of ways, and play great offense and defense. They're hard to plan for under normal circumstances, which makes them just about impossible to prepare for in 36 hours. The Wildcats will hang around early, but the Bruins will be too much for them late.
Northwestern vs. UCLA best odds
|UCLA -8||UCLA -7.5||UCLA -7.5||UCLA -7.5||UCLA -7.5|
DraftKings is the only major sportsbook still listing this spread at -8. They're not even offering a better price for the number. The other four major books each offer the same number, but BetMGM has an inflated price.
With BetMGM and DraftKings eliminated, any of the other three major sportsbooks are good places to wager.
Northwestern vs. UCLA odds analysis
The Bruins opened as 7.5-point favorites. That number only changed at DK where they're now favored by eight. Just below 60% of bettors back UCLA to cover. That split has increased coming into Saturday morning.
The total opened at 127.5, and while it stayed there, it likely won't for much longer. The Over has the support of 63% of the betting action as of Saturday morning, which means this could go up a full bucket befor e tipoff. If you want to get in on the Under, it's in your best interest to wait.
Northwestern vs. UCLA game info
- Date: Saturday, March 18, 8:40 p.m. ET
- TV: TNT
- Location: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, CA
Northwestern vs. UCLA pick made 3/17/2023 at 11:12 a.m ET.
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