Two of the storied programs in college basketball history will go it it when UCLA and UNLV tangle in Las Vegas. But this UCLA vs. UNLV matchup won’t be like many of the matchups of years past, as these two programs are in vastly different places in the present day. Now, the Bruins will look to rebound from their first loss of the season, while UNLV will look to notch their first win of the season against a powerhouse program.
UCLA, of course, made the Final Four last season and lost in overtime of their Final Four game on a miracle half court shot at the buzzer by Gonzaga. This year, they have proven early on that run was no fluke. But they will have to be on their game in this contest to avoid being upset by a team in UNLV that has largely stayed close to home in the early portion of the 2021-2022 college basketball season.
UCLA Bruins – Looking For A Rebound
The UCLA Bruins are off to a 5-1 start this season, winning five straight games to kick off their season before losing their last outing. That last outing came against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, the number one team in the nation, with UCLA dropping that game by 20 points. The Bruins will look to rebound from that blowout loss here, against an opponent that they will be expected to do much better against in UNLV.
What makes UCLA so dangerous against a team like UNLV is just how precise they have been on the offensive end of the floor. Johnny Juzang is lethal from the mid-range, and the Bruins are shooting over 46% as a whole with him leading them. We saw UNLV struggle to guard the perimeter for 40 minutes against Michigan earlier this season, and the Bruins could make them pay for that with their outside weapons.
Expected Line-Up: Jules Bernard, Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez Jr, Johnny Juzang, Myles Johnson
with best odds
UNLV Rebels – Hoping For A Key Win
UNLV is off to a 4-2 start this season, but there has been a clear difference in their level of performance against quality programs and schools that lack quality on the basketball court. The two losses this season for UNLV came against Michigan and Wichita State, schools that are mainstays in the NCAA Tournament. And while the Rebels did get a win against a Power 5 school earlier in the year, it came against California, who may be the worst team in the Pac-12.
The key to this game for UNLV will be whether or not they can generate enough offense to hang with the UCLA Bruins. UNLV has averaged under 70 points per game on the season, and that could remain the case after this date with a UCLA team that has been getting the job done on both ends of the floor. Bryce Hamilton and Jordan McCabe will need to play especially well for UNLV to have a shot here.
Expected Line-Up: Jordan McCabe, Michael Nuga, Bryce Hamilton, Royce Hamm Jr, Donovan Williams
Expert Pick #1 – UCLA -10.5 @ -110
The first bet to make for this game is UCLA -10.5 at -110 odds. This line is shorter than the number UNLV was receiving against Michigan, who have been inferior to UCLA so far this season. That feels like too short a line for a team like UCLA, which is so much better offensively than Michigan, and can more effectively put distance between themselves and the Rebels in this one.
Expert Pick #2 – Over 139.5 @ -110
Another bet worth getting after for this game is the over 139.5, which sits at -110 odds as well. UCLA plays with a rather deliberate pace at times, but they are so precise with their offensive basketball that they don’t need to run and gun at all times to push games over their totals. Here, UCLA should be able to score into the 80s, while UNLV will simply need to avoid a disastrous game offensively for the total score to go over.
Expert Pick #3 – UCLA To Win By 16-20 @ +425
The final tip for a bet to make for this game is for UCLA to win by 16-20 at +425 odds. UCLA should have control of this one from start to finish, with the lead hovering somewhere in this range throughout the contest. As long as there isn’t a late run by UNLV in garbage time, expect the game to fall within this range at a nice payout of better than 4/1 odds.
UNLV just isn’t there yet as a program right now to be able to compete with great teams like UCLA just yet. Expect the Bruins to be dominant in this one, and for their group of players with championship-level experience to come out and play strong from start to finish under the bright lights in Las Vegas.