The marquee matchup in Tuesday night’s college basketball action-packed slate tips off late in the PAC-12 as Arizona heads to Pauley Pavilion to do battle with UCLA.
UCLA entered the season ranked No.2 in the nation, returning all 5 starters to a Final Four team from a season ago. It’s Arizona, however, that finds itself at No. 2, according to KenPom, as the Wildcats have run roughshod over the competition in dominating fashion.
This is Arizona’s first true test in PAC-12 play. Will UCLA’s experience shine through at home, or will Arizona prove to be too much?
Check out our college basketball betting picks and predictions for the Arizona Wildcats and UCLA Bruins on Tuesday, January 25, to find out.
Arizona vs UCLA odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Arizona opened -2 and has been bet up to -2.5 as of the time of this writing. The total has dropped one point from 152.5 at open to 151.5.
Arizona vs UCLA predictions
Predictions made on 1/25/2022 at 8:15 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.
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Arizona vs UCLA game info
• Location: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
• Date: Tuesday, January 25, 2022
• Tip-off: 11:00 p.m. ET
• TV: ESPN
Arizona at UCLA betting preview
Arizona: Azuolas Tubelis F (Questionable), Kim Aiken Jr. F (Out).
UCLA: Mac Etienne F (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Wildcats have shined on the road, going 4-0 against the spread in their last 4 away games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Arizona vs. UCLA.
Arizona vs UCLA picks and predictions
Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.
Arizona has been putting up otherworldly numbers en route to the No. 3 ranking nationally. The Wildcats rank No. 2 in KenPom and are in the Top 10 on both sides of the ball (No. 8 offensively, No. 9 defensively). The Wildcats have yet to be tested in PAC-12 play, as their closest win came by 16 points over Washington. They did win two non-conference games that were considered big wins at the time (Michigan, Illinois), but those haven’t aged as well as initially hoped.
Tuesday will be a big test on the road at Pauley Pavillion against the No. 7 UCLA Bruins. While a common refrain this week will be Arizona’s heretofore soft schedule, the Wildcats have played a similar schedule to the Bruins. The difference is Arizona has dominated the schedule while UCLA has squeaked by on occasion. This is the first meeting between the three powers of the conference this season (Arizona, UCLA, USC), so it’s time to find out who truly is the class of the conference.
It’s difficult to doubt this Bruins team as an experienced, talented squad catching points at home. That being said, Arizona is the better team at this point in the season.
It hurts that the Wildcats may be without Azuolas Tubelis (15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds) due to an ankle injury. However, one strength of this team is their deep and talented big man rotation, so the loss is not as significant as it could have been. If anything, we believe we’re getting value on Arizona in this spot as the line would be a few points higher with Tubelis in the lineup. Players like Christian Koloko (19 points, 13 rebounds, 3 blocks) and Oumar Ballo (14 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks) stepped up in Sunday’s 96-71 victory over Cal in Tubelis’ absence.
UCLA had to hit the pause button for three weeks due to COVID, and they haven’t looked quite the same since returning. Sure, they’ve still been able to pull out victories, but they haven’t faced a team like Arizona. If you’re looking relatively sluggish on the court, a matchup with Arizona’s No. 2-ranked tempo is the last thing you want to see.
Prediction: Arizona -2.5 (-110)
Arizona’s tempo is no joke. The Wildcats are averaging 88.7 points per game, the second-highest mark in the country, thanks to an offense running at the second-highest pace. UCLA’s defense has been solid but unspectacular. Arizona converts field goals at a 50.1% clip, so they’ll be able to find buckets against a UCLA team allowing opponents to shoot 42.2% from the field.
Arizona is underrated defensively, where they’re holding opposing offenses to the second-lowest shooting percentage in the nation (36.2%). Remarkably, they’ve been able to stay so strong on defense despite playing at one of the country's fastest tempos. UCLA shoots 36.2% from deep and will need to cash in from downtown to pull off the short upset. Johnny Juzang leads the way with 18.3 points per game and had 23 points in the weekend victory over Colorado. Jules Bernard, Jaime Jaquez, and Tyger Campbell all average over 11.5 points per game.
We believe this one pushes over the total. Arizona is a well-oiled machine on offense, while UCLA is certainly no slouch. The tempo will allow for a high-scoring affair.
Prediction: Over 151.5 (-110)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t keep riding the Wildcats on this red hot run. They're 11-5-1 ATS on the season and 4-0 ATS in their last 4 away games and have been one of the most impressive teams in the country.
It’s yet to be seen how they’ll respond when the competition stiffens up, but we trust they'll pull through in this spot. The Bruins are 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games and haven’t seemed to fully find their groove this season.
Pick: Arizona -2.5 (-110))
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