College Basketball Betting: UCLA Bruins Red Hot

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:

The UCLA Bruins (19-4) look for their 5th straight win and cover on Thursday night, but it won't be easy against their Pac-10 rivals, the Arizona State Sun Devils.

UCLA has parlayed their winning streak into the # 11 ranking in the AP and 6th in the ESPN coaches poll. It's a little surprising that the AP sportswriters have them ranked that much lower, and the Bruins will be looking to send a message.

You can get all the latest odds at Sportsbook.com for this great game and don't forget our $20.00 Free Play for New Mobile bettors. The first $20.00 wager you make through your mobile phone on any NCAAB or NBA Half-Time Line is Free.

UCLA's recent streak has been impressive as they've covered against California, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame as favorites ranging from eight to 11.5 points. The Bruins won by an average margin of 22.7 points.

The big difference the last four games has been on the defensive end, with UCLA forcing a lot of turnovers and having the same intensity that got them to the last three Final Fours. Center Alfred Aboya has also turned up his play, averaging almost 15 points and eight boards, both way above his season averages.

The one big issue with this team is they don't have a dominant player like Kevin Love last year and Arron Affalo before him. That may come back to bite them during tournament time, but it's certainly not a hindrance to piling up wins and covers in a mediocre conference, especially when they are playing great defense.

If you're looking for the best player on the court Thursday night, look no further than Arizona State (18-5) guard James Harden. The 6'5" sophomore has been drawing the attention of NBA scouts with his 21.9 PPG average, 5.4 rebounds and four assists.

Harden does need to be a little more consistent as he can score 30 points one night and then be held under 10 the next. Part of that is his unselfish nature and part of it is the double teams he sees.

Another problem for Harden is a lack of good passing options. Forward Jeff Pendergraph (13.7 PPG) and swingman Rihards Kuksiks (10.4) are the only other players who score in double digits and there is a lot less depth on the team overall compared to UCLA.

That didn't stop the Sun Devils from beating the Bruins, 61-58 in overtime in Pauley Pavilion on January 17th. ASU came back late to win as six-point underdogs even though they got more than 2/3rds of their scoring from just two players, Harden and Pendergraph.

ASU needs to be more balanced in this game if they hope to sweep the season series.

Note that the Bruins are just 1-3 ATS in their last four road games, but they are playing with a lot of confidence now and have plenty of motivation after losing at home to ASU.

Think UCLA can continue their hot streak?

Bet on it at Sportsbook.com.

Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter


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