UCLA vs California Picks and Odds

Jaime Jaquez Jr. dunks basketball

UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (4) dunks the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against the Washington Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
  • UCLA is an 8.5-point road favorite against California on Thursday night in a Pac-12 game at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley
  • UCLA is 7-0 in conference play, its best start in the Pac-12 since the 1993-94 season
  • Odds, lines and the spread for UCLA-California can be found below along with game analysis

UCLA will try to stay perfect in Pac-12 play when it visits California at 9pm ET Thursday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

UCLA is 11-2 overall and 7-0 inside the conference for its best start in league play since the 1993-94 season. The #24 Bruins have also won six in a row overall and four straight games against the spread. They are favored to keep their streak going.

California is inching closer to .500 overall with two wins its last three games. The Golden Bears are 7-8 and 2-7 in the Pac-12.

UCLA vs California Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
UCLA -480 -8.5 (-120) Over 136.5 (-110)
California +370 +8.5 (-102) Under 136.5 (-110)

Odds taken Jan. 20 from FanDuel

Contributions From Everyone

The key to UCLA’s success has been a balanced attack, particularly since their best player, senior guard Chris Smith, sustained a season-ending knee injury earlier this month. The Bruins have gone 5-0 without Smith and have five players scoring in double figures.

Leading the way is sophomore wing Jaime Jaquez Jr., who is scoring 13.2 points and pulling down 5.8 rebounds a game while shooting 45.2% from 3-point range. He is followed in scoring by sophomore guards Tyger Campbell (11.9) and Johnny Juzang (11.1), junior forward Cody Riley (10.5) and junior guard Jules Bernard (10.4).

Campbell has played in a big role in facilitating the offense. He is averaging 6.4 assists and has a 38.0 assist rate.

Despite not having a big scorer, UCLA ranks eighth in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.

However, the Bruins are just 91st in adjusted defensive efficiency and their spotty play in that area nearly caused them to be upset last Saturday by Washington, which is last in the Pac-12.

UCLA fell behind by 12 points in the first half and still trailed 39-29 at intermission. However, the Bruins outscored the Huskies 52-37 in the second half to pull out an 81-76 win, despite being favored by 15.5 points.

Bernard led UCLA with 20 points and nine rebounds. Jacquez added 15 points and Riley finished with 14 points and eight rebounds as the Bruins ended the game on a 12-6 run.

Cal Surviving Without Bradley

California is coming off perhaps its best win over the season as it posted a come-from-behind 72-63 victory at Utah on Saturday as an 11.5-point road underdog.

Utah built a 15-point lead in the first half. but California rallied. Senior guard Grant Antecevich scored 10 of his team-high 14 points in the second half.

Antecevich, who had an emergency appendectomy in December, was one of four California players to score in double figures along with senior guard Mikale Foreman (12), junior forward Andre Kelly (11) and sophomore guard Jarred Hyder (11). Kelly also pulled down nine rebounds.

California has split four games since losing top scorer Matt Bradley to a sprained left ankle. The junior guard, who is averaging 17.8 points a game, is not expected to play Thursday. He has accounted for 33.6% of the Golden Bears’ possessions and 34.6% of their shots.

Much like UCLA has in Smith’s absence, California has spread out the scoring load with Bradley sidelined. Senior guard Ryan Betley (10.7), Foreman (10.6) and Kelly (10.4) all have double-digit scoring averages. Kelly is also shooting 61.5%.

All UCLA Lately

UCLA is looking to sweep the season series after beating California 76-56 at home on Dec. 6 as a 9.5-point favorite. Smith scored 21 points for the Bruins, who shot 60%, and Campbell had 11 points and 12 assists. Foreman scored a team-high 14 points for the Bears in 24 minutes off the bench.

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UCLA has beaten California seven consecutive times. The Bears’ last win came during the 2015-16 season.

Though California is coming off a good win, look for the series trend to continue as UCLA is hot and the more-talented team.

Pick: UCLA -8.5 (-120)

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