The 15th-seeded UNC Asheville Bulldogs (27-7) and No. 2 UCLA Bruins (29-5) tussle Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tip from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento is at 10:05 p.m. ET (truTV). Below, we analyze Tipico Sportsbook’s lines around the UNC Asheville vs. UCLA odds, and make our expert college basketball picks, predictions and bets.
UNC Asheville advanced to the tournament by winning the Big South Conference. An efficient team at both ends of the floor, albeit in a weak schedule, the Bulldogs excel in getting lots of 3-point shots and free throws and preventing the same. UNCA is 18-1 since the calendar flipped to 2023.
UCLA — the No. 6 team in the nation — was ousted by No. 8 Arizona in the Pac-12 title game, but the Bruins have an elite defense that has held foes to just 59.8 points per game while going 12-1 since Feb. 2.
Rankings courtesy the USA TODAY Sports Coaches Poll.
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UNC Asheville vs. UCLA odds
Provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list. Lines last updated at 8:15 a.m. ET.
- Moneyline: UNC Asheville +850 (bet $100 to win $850) | UCLA -2000 (bet $2,000 to win $100)
- Against the spread (ATS): UNC Asheville +17.5 (-108) | UCLA -17.5 (-112)
- Over/Under (O/U): 135.5 (O: -115 | U: -105)
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UNC Asheville vs. UCLA picks and predictions
UCLA 79, UNC Asheville 58
Avoid the gallons of juice here: PASS.
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Against the spread
The Bruins are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 games against winning teams and are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games as favorites of 10 or more points. UCLA is 7-2 straight up and ATS in 9 tourney games under coach Mick Cronin.
Look for UCLA to handle its business here with its tight perimeter defense. The Bruins figure to get plenty of turnover/transition looks, and this margin likely gets to the 20-point territory.
BACK UCLA -17.5 (-112).
The last 6 UCLA games have produced 3 Overs and 3 Unders. Ditto the last 6 for UNC Asheville.
Figure on a mid-pace game and a total in the mid-130s with no margin to leverage: PASS.
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