Washington State vs UCLA Picks and Predictions: Trouble Bruin for Favorites

The Bruins and Cougars both need to right the ship in a hurry, but it's the underdogs who have more at stake, an can better exploit this game's spread. Find out why our Washington State vs. UCLA picks see a high-scoring matchup in store.

Feb 17, 2022 • 08:44 ET • 4 min read
Marcus Flowers Washington State Cougars
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Once firmly in the mix for the top spot in the Pac-12, the UCLA Bruins find themselves three games back of the lead as the calendar nears March. The Bruins’ rank has fallen to No. 13, having lost three of their last four games.

The Washington State Cougars, meanwhile, are on the wrong side of the bubble. Having lost three straight conference games, the Cougars head to Los Angeles for a two-game stretch against UCLA and USC and could use a win in the worst way. Otherwise, their tournament chances could go up in flames.

Which team will get back on track Thursday night?

Check out our college basketball picks and predictions for Washington State vs. UCLA on Thursday, February 17 to find out.

Washington State vs UCLA odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

UCLA is expected to win comfortably at home. The Bruins opened -8.5 and currently sit at -9 across most books. The total opened 129.5 and immediately took some money to the Over, rising to 130.5 as of Thursday morning.

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.

Washington State vs UCLA predictions

Predictions made on 2/17/2022 at 7:50 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Washington State vs UCLA game info

Location: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2022
Tip-off: 11:00 p.m. ET
TV: FS1

Washington State at UCLA betting preview

Injuries

Washington State: Jefferson Koulibaly G (Out), Myles Rice G (Out), Tony Miller F (Out), Dishon Jackson C (Out).
UCLA: Jaime Jaquez F (Questionable), Peyton Watson G (Questionable) Mac Etienne F (Out).
Find our latest NCAA basketball injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cougars are 9-1 to the Under in their last 10 games overall. Find more NCAA betting trends for Washington State vs. UCLA.

Washington State 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.

Spread analysis

Pauley Pavilion. It’s been a while since the Bruins have seen home, and it’ll be a welcome sight after they lost three of their past four games, all of which came on the road. Still, the return home may not be a cure-all for their ills as against a hungry Cougars team making its last push for an NCAA Tournament bid.

The Cougars’ record does not look intimidating at first (14-10 overall, 7-6 in conference), and admittedly they haven’t faced many of the conference’s elites. That being said, their analytical profile paints them as a “bet on” team for the most part, especially when catching as many points as they are on Thursday night.

Head Coach Kyle Smith is a numbers guy, so naturally, the Cougars both shoot the three (8.9 makes per game, 52nd nationally) and defend the three (30.7% allowed, tops in the Pac-12) well. The Bruins have mostly lived in the mid-range this season as they’ve struggled from three (7.0 makes per game, 225th nationally). Smith should fancy his team’s chances from a numbers perspective.

The Cougars have also been extremely unlucky this season, clocking in at 356th (two spots removed from dead last in the country) in KenPom’s “luck” metric. The Cougars check-in at 43rd overall in KenPom, behind UCLA’s 13th-best ranking but not by enough to warrant a near double-digit spread, in our opinion. 

Washington State seems to be a better team than its record indicates, and it has a clear identity on the court. This identity centers around shooting the three offensively, while playing lock-down defense, forcing turnovers and refusing to allow 3-pointers in turn. Having a clear identity has allowed the Cougars to travel well, as they’re 5-2 straight up on the road.

UCLA has dealt with injuries for most of the season, and Thursday night will be no different. All-important Jaimie Jaquez is considered day-to-day after missing practice with a lingering ankle injury. Peyton Watson continues to manage a knee injury and is also considered questionable. Jaylen Clark hasn’t looked right since missing four games due to concussion protocol.

The Bruins have not followed up on last year’s Final Four run in flawless fashion. This is still a dangerous team when operating at full-go, evidenced by their No. 13 ranking in both the AP Poll and KenPom. Still, this team has not been operating on all cylinders for a while and gets a matchup with a hungry Cougars team desperate for a big win to get back in the NCAA Tournament bubble. We’ll take the points.

Prediction: Washington State +9 (-110)

Over/Under analysis

UCLA has been playing to the Under all season long, going 16-7-1. The Bruins are solid everywhere on the defensive end while not standing out in any one area, holding opponents to 66 points per game and ranking 15th in KenPom’s defensive efficiency.

Washington State has also played to the Under, going 12-10. The Cougars have the number one scoring defense (62.5 points per game allowed) and three-point defense (30.7%) in the Pac-12. They effectively run teams off the three-point arc and use the length and athleticism of their two big men, Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye, to alter shots.

Neither team looks to push the tempo. UCLA ranks 237th in KenPom’s adjusted tempo metric, while Washington State is close behind at 254th.

Both teams play solid defense and neither is liable for a track meet. Give us the Under.

Prediction: Under 130.5 (-105)

Best bet

Washington State has been extremely profitable to the Under in recent form, cashing that ticket in nine of its last 10 games overall. 

Only two teams have scored over 70 points on the Cougars in Pac-12 play, and one of those was the juggernaut Arizona Wildcats. Even the Wildcats barely squeaked over that mark, mustering 72 points against this stout Washington State defense. 

Give us the Under as our best bet.

Pick: Under 130.5 (-105)

College basketball parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed our Washington State vs. UCLA picks, you could win $26.45 on a $10 bet?

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

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