Utah vs UCLA Preview & Free Pick [2/18/24]

Utah (15-10) at UCLA (14-11)
When: Sunday, February 18th, 2024
Where: Pauley Pavilion,
Los Angeles, CA

Time: 7:00 ET | TV: FS1
Opening Odds: UCLA -1/134.5

Open an Account at Bovada Sportsbook to get up to a $750 Deposit Bonus (US Customers Only)

Two Pac-12 teams trending in opposite directions will take to the court Sunday afternoon when the Utah Utes visit the surging UCLA Bruins. Entering Saturday’s College Basketball action, the Utes were one of the Last Four In according to ESPN’s Bracketology, but Utah could be free falling all the way out of the tournament. The Utes have lost five of their last six games and are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine. After dropping to home games to both Arizona schools, the Utes went to USC and lost 68-64 after shooting just 36.7 percent from the floor.

Meanwhile, the Bruins have erased a horrible start to the season by winning six in a row and eight of their last nine to get back into the NCAA discussion. Right now, the Bruins wouldn’t make the Big Dance, but a continued strong finish could change that. This is a very talented team that really underachieved in the first two months of the season. The Bruins are coming off a 64-60 home win over Colorado on Thursday night and are 8-1 ATS in their last nine overall.

The Bruins run started after an embarrassing 90-44 at Utah on Jan. 11. That snapped a seven-game winning streak against the Utes in a big way. Over the last 10 meetings, Utah holds a slight 5-4-1 ATS edge, while the Over has cashed in three of the last four. The Bruins are 3-point favorites in Sunday’s rematch with a total of 135.

The Utes have fallen to 6-8 in Pac-12 play and have yet to win a conference road game in 6 tries. The Ute’s poor shooting doomed them in the loss at USC on Thursday. Utah was just 4-of-21 from beyond the arc. Utah is now 11-14 against the number this season and have failed to cover in three straight and 7 of the last 10. Utah averages 78.5 points per game while allowing 72.2. Center Brandon Carlson leads the team with 16.9 points and 7.0 rebounds a game. The Utes are 44th on KenPom and have six games remaining, while continuing to miss guard Rollie Woster, who is out with a leg injury.

UCLA’s slow start could have contributed to experience, as the Bruins rank as the fourth-youngest team in the country. The strong run has give UCLA hope and now they own a modest 13-11 ATS record, while the total has gone Under in 15 of 24 games. The Bruins average only 66.1 points per game while allowing just 63.9 points, which is the 15th lowest allowed in the NCAA. The Bruins boast four double-digit scorers including freshman Sebastian Mack, who leads the team with 13.5. Forward Adem Bona is up to 12.3, while guard Lazar Stefanovic averages 6.0 boards a game. UCLA has a chance to improve their resume down the stretch with a road game against Washington State and one at home with Arizona.

I am definitely taking the Bruins in this one. You couldn’t find more opposite teams right now. Utah is playing awful, while the Bruins are red-hot. Also, the Utes have yet to win a conference road game and are 3-8 ATS away from home on the season.

Pick: UCLA -3

More College Basketball Free Picks