UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Odds & Pick

Date: 
March 28, 7:15 PM EDT
Location:
TV:

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
UCLA +6.5/Ala -6.5
Total: 
145.5

If basketball pedigree meant anything, UCLA would be a massive favorite for its NCAA tournament Sweet 16 match-up with Alabama Sunday evening in Indianapolis. But that's not the case, as a hot Tide team comes in favored by a touchdown over the Bruins. How are we playing this game with our free NCAA tournament college basketball pick?

NCAA Tournament Basketball Betting Odds

The NCAA tournament college basketball betting market opened Alabama at -4.5 over UCLA, with an over/under of right around 144. Early betting action then rolled the Tide to -6.5 and bumped that total to 145.5. According to Sagarin's ratings at USAToday.com 'Bama should only be favored by 3.5 points for this game.

UCLA vs. Alabama NCAA Tournament Betting Preview

The Bruins played 13-6 in the Pac-12 this season, then lost their first game in the Pac-12 tournament in overtime to Oregon State, which is also (as of this writing) still alive in this NCAA tournament. UCLA actually lost its last three regular-season games, but to three pretty good teams in Colorado, Oregon, and USC, two of which also made this Sweet 16. The Bruins then opened this NCAA tournament by coming from behind to beat Michigan State in one of those play-in games two Thursdays ago, 86-80 in overtime. UCLA then beat BYU 73-62 in the first round, then dispatched of Abilene Christian 67-47 in the second round. So the Bruins are back in the Sweet 16 for the fourth time over the last seven NCAA tournaments. UCLA beat the Spartans outright as a two-point underdog, then beat the Cougars outright at +3.5, then covered easily against ACU at -5.5. The Bruins are 48 percent from the floor in this tournament while holding opponents to a combined 42 percent shooting. UCLA is playing well despite the loss of G Chris Smith, who was averaging 13 points and six boards per game, to a knee injury back on New Year's Eve. Since then, the Bruins are 14-7 SU, 10-11 ATS. The Tide, meanwhile, played 16-2 in conference play to win the SEC for the first time since 2002. Alabama then won three games in three days, knocking off Tennessee and LSU in the process, to win the SEC tournament for the first time since 1991. The Tide then opened this Dance with a 68-55 first-round win over Iona, then cruised past Maryland 96-77 in the second round. So Alabama is back in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2004. The Tide couldn't quite cover at -17 against Iona but covered easily at -6 against the Terrapins. Alabama rides an eight-game winning streak into Sunday, going 5-3 ATS along the way. Sagarin ranks Alabama's schedule at No. 35 this season, UCLA's at No. 48. Sagarin also ranks the SEC as the fourth-toughest conference in college basketball this season, with the Pac-12 coming in at No. 6.

NCAA Tournament Basketball Betting Trends

  • Favorites played 31-20 SU, 22-29 ATS through the first two rounds of this NCAA tournament.
  • Higher seeds played 31-16 SU, 23-24 ATS through the first two rounds of this NCAA tournament.
  • The SEC is 6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • The Pac-12 is 9-1 both SU and ATS in this NCAA tournament.
  • UCLA is 5-7 both SU and ATS this season against teams that made this NCAA tournament.
  • Alabama is 9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS against teams that made this Big Dance.

Totals Report

Overs are 16-13 in Bruins games this season, which are averaging 141 total points. Under are 17-15 in Tide games this season, which are averaging 150 points. Unders played 29-22 through the first two rounds of this NCAA tournament.

UCLA Bruins vs. Alabama Crimson Tide Prediction

Alabama's been superb all season while UCLA struggled a bit down the stretch, but we still feel these two teams are closer than the spread on this game might indicate. And the Pac-12 is having the best tournament of any conference in the country, with four teams in the Sweet 16. They might not win this game outright, but we're betting the Bruins plus the points here.
 
Free Pick: 
UCLA +6.5