Colorado vs UCLA Picks and Predictions: Buffaloes Not Ready For Bruins' Level

The Buffaloes have started the year strong and already have a conference win under their belt, but they're running into one of the nation's best in UCLA tonight. Find out if they have what it takes to keep up in our Colorado vs. UCLA picks and predictions.

Last Updated: Dec 1, 2021 10:32 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Johnny Juzang UCLA Bruins college basketball
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Who is ready for some conference play? The Colorado Buffaloes will take on the UCLA Bruins in the first conference game of the season for UCLA. 

The UCLA Bruins have looked very good to start the year. With just one loss to Gonzaga, the Bruins are 6-1 with a very solid resume win against Villanova earlier this season. 

Meanwhile, Colorado has flown a bit under the radar. The Buffaloes are also 6-1 on the season, with one neutral-court loss to Southern Illinois. To start conference play, the Buffaloes bested Stanford at home, 80-76.

Here are our picks and predictions for the Pac-12 conference game between the Colorado Buffaloes and UCLA Bruins.

Colorado vs UCLA odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The UCLA Bruins opened as a 13.5-point favorite and have stayed there ever since. Meanwhile, the total has seen much more line movement after opening at 142. 

You can now find the total at 138.5 at a couple of outlets with most sportsbooks holding 139 or 139.5 as the total. Still, there’s a 140.5 out there as well. There are plenty of discrepancies with the total in this game. 

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until tip-off and be sure to check out the full college basketball odds before placing your bets.

Colorado vs UCLA predictions

Predictions made on 12/1/2021 at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Colorado vs UCLA game info

Location: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Wednesday, December 1, 2021
Tip-off: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV: Pac-12 Network

Colorado at UCLA betting preview

Injuries

Colorado: Javon Ruffin G (Out).
UCLA: Mac Etienne F (Out), Cody Riley F (Out).

Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

Under is 7-1 in the Buffaloes' last eight road games following three or more consecutive home games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Colorado vs. UCLA.

Colorado 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.

The UCLA Bruins are going to be one of the best teams in college basketball this season. This is probably pretty obvious, but I thought I’d remind some of you. The Bruins are deep, talented, and can dominate on both ends of the floor.

UCLA is knocking down 38.7% of three-pointers to start the season but has struggled inside a bit, scoring just 50.3% of shots inside the arc. Losing Cody Riley has hurt this team a bit inside, but overall, UCLA will be okay without him. The Bruins are turning the ball over just 14.1% of the time and are still gaining 35.7% of offensive rebounds this season. 

Led by Johnny Juzang, the UCLA offense has so many guys that can have big scoring performances. All four returning players including Juzang, Jaime Jaquez, Jules Bernard, and Tyger Campbell are averaging double figures this season in points. 

Defensively, the Bruins are allowing teams to shoot 35.7% from downtown but have ultimately dominated the defensive glass. Therefore, on most misses from long range, teams aren’t getting very many second-chance opportunities.

However, the Buffaloes have been a very solid offensive team to start the year. Colorado is getting to the line at one of the highest rates in college basketball and has had success on the offensive glass this season, bringing down 35.8% of offensive rebounds. 

If UCLA can protect on the glass on the defensive end, things won’t be as easy for Colorado moving forward. They’re not shooting the three-point ball at a high rate and that’s the one area where teams have taken advantage of UCLA this year. If Colorado isn’t going to shoot the three, it’s going to be extremely hard for the Buffaloes to score points, especially if they’re not able to rebound. 

On the defensive end, Colorado is above average but doesn’t do anything that makes them stand out. They’ve held opponents to 24.4% of offensive rebounds and have limited second-chance opportunities. That will be helpful, however, Colorado is also allowing teams to shoot 34.5% from long range while UCLA is hitting 38.7% from three. 

Therefore, I’ll roll with UCLA to get the job done against the spread. 

Prediction: UCLA -13.5 (-110)

It’s taking teams 18.5 seconds per possession against Colorado’s defense. If Colorado wants to stick around in this game, they’ll have to slow the tempo on both ends of the floor. 

Both teams have done well on the defensive glass and that likely continues into this game. The Buffaloes might try to earn some points at the charity stripe, but for what it’s worth, UCLA is in the Top 100 in college basketball in defensive free throw rate. 

I’ll take the Under here. 

Prediction: Under 140.5 (-110)

Colorado has been impressive this season. After losing to Southern Illinois, the Buffaloes have won three straight games and already have a conference win. 

But there aren’t many teams like UCLA. The Bruins are Top 20 in adjusted efficiency on offense and defense. Those types of teams win championships. 

If Colorado isn’t going to exploit UCLA’s poor perimeter defense, it’s going to be hard to win this game or even come close.

Give me UCLA -13.5 as the best bet. 

Pick: UCLA -13.5 (-110)

College basketball parlays

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Use our college basketball parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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