Pepperdine vs. UCLA prediction, odds

The Pepperdine Waves take on the UCLA Bruins. Check out our college basketball odds series for our Pepperdine UCLA Prediction and pick.

The UCLA Bruins have not started this season the way they wanted to. They just finished a Brutal weekend in Las Vegas, losing to Illinois on Friday and then Baylor on Sunday. The Bruins did not defend at the level Coach Mick Cronin expects. Players have not been able to create the defensive ruggedness and cohesion which define a Cronin-coached team at its best. Cronin was not happy after the Illinois loss, but he was Outright angry after the Baylor defeat, peeling paint off a wall with his displeasure. UCLA’s stumbling and unsteady start stands in marked contrast to the Arizona Wildcats, UCLA’s chief Rival and competitor, which defeated San Diego State earlier this week and reached the Maui final. Arizona looks the part of a Final Four threat, but UCLA does not.

It’s not as though UCLA is facing severe handicaps. This is a veteran team with a lot of familiar players returning for one more run at the brass ring. Jaime Jaquez, Tyger Campbell, Jaylen Clark, and other Veterans are part of an established roster. Cronin obviously has to make some tweaks around the edges, but these players are not in a situation where they are strangers to each other. That makes UCLA’s lack of high-end performance particularly puzzling. Illinois in particular has a lot of new faces on its roster, but those new components worked together better than UCLA’s established players did last Friday. That has to concern Cronin, and it forms the backdrop to the Bruins’ uncertain start to their season. We’ll see if UCLA can get back on track against a Pepperdine team with Houston Mallette, a 15-point-per-game scorer who knows his way around a defense.

Pepperdine faces a very tough struggle in the West Coast Conference. Gonzaga is the Goliath in the conference, Saint Mary’s is the NCAA Tournament-level team which regularly finishes second. San Francisco has made real strides the past few years. BYU is usually a Threat in the conference. Santa Clara has improved talent. Portland has a rising young Coach in Shantay Legans. Pepperdine has to muscle its way into the middle-tier teams of the WCC in order to have any hope of a postseason berth. It won’t be easy, even with Mallette’s polished two-way play.

Courtesy of FanDuelhere are the Pepperdine-UCLA College Basketball odds.

College Basketball Odds: Pepperdine-UCLA Odds

Pepperdine Waves: +16.5 (-115)

UCLA Bruins: -16.5 (-105)

Over: 151.5 (-115)

Under: 151.5 (-105)

Why Pepperdine Could Cover the Spread

The point spread is big. UCLA isn’t playing well. Pepperdine is going to be extremely motivated for this game. UCLA is not playing the level of defense which is likely to contain Houston Mallette. If Mallette scores at least 20 points, that will not only give the Waves direct production, but it will draw the attention of UCLA Defenders so that Mallette can create opportunities for his teammates.

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Why UCLA Could Cover the Spread

This UCLA team hasn’t shown what it is capable of, but it possesses great talent and can go off at any time. Being motivated by recent failures could push UCLA to play really well here.

Final Pepperdine-UCLA Prediction & Pick

UCLA’s experience hasn’t really translated into high-level performance early in the season. However, the Bruins are bound to figure things out at some point. Stay away from this game, but if you insist on a pick, take UCLA.

Final Pepperdine-UCLA Prediction & Pick: UCLA -16.5

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