UCLA vs. Michigan Betting Preview: Elite Eight Prediction
Michigan entered the NCAA Tournament as the forgotten No. 1 seed. After an injury to Isaiah Livers, most fans and experts wrote off the Wolverines, but here they are in the Elite Eight and they haven’t missed a beat. UCLA, the last double-digit seed left in the NCAA Tournament, is looking to play spoiler yet again.
Let’s take a closer look this matchup and make a UCLA vs. Michigan prediction and pick with an emphasis on the odds, analysis, and betting lines for this Elite Eight game.
UCLA vs. Michigan Betting Pick
UCLA and Michigan are two teams with incredible depth. In fact, six different Bruins scored in double figures in their thrilling win over Alabama in the Sweet 16. Meanwhile, four different Michigan players reached double-figure scoring and seven players notched at least six points in their win over Florida State.
These are two balanced teams that play the game the right way. Michigan is favored to win this one, but they should not be overlooking the Bruins in this spot.
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UCLA vs. Michigan Odds
Here are the latest odds on UCLA vs. Michigan at DraftKings Sportsbook:
UCLA +7 (-114) // +235 // O 153 (-109)
Michigan -7 (-107) // -305 // U 153 (-110)
UCLA is on a historic run during March Madness. They are just the second First Four team to ever make it to the Elite Eight. The 2011 VCU Rams, who lost in the Final Four, are the only First Four team to ever go further in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA feels like a team of destiny, but we’re focusing on numbers, not fate here.
Michigan is no stranger to playing as the favorite. They have covered the spread in all three of their NCAA Tournament games so far. LSU and Florida State were two trendy picks to knock off the Wolverines, but Michigan had no problem with either matchup.
The total is set at 153 points in this game. Michigan can fill it up, but UCLA plays slow. Incredibly slow. The Bruins ranked third-to-last in the nation in pace this season.
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Why UCLA Can Cover The Spread
Toss out the seeds once we reach the Elite Eight.
UCLA is playing phenomenal basketball right now and it is not your average No. 11 seed. Mick Cronin’s team is simply finding ways to win. They looked like they were about to fold in the Sweet 16 after allowing Alabama to hit a three and force overtime, but they dominated the extra period to punch their ticket to the Elite Eight.
There isn’t a player on UCLA that Michigan can key in on because they have multiple ways to beat you. If teams load up on trying to stop Jaime Jaquez, then Johnny Juzang can go off. Once teams turn their attention to Juzang, it leaves the door open for Tyger Campbell to break the defense down with penetration. They have multiple options and a few different guys who can hit the big shot.
As for how UCLA does against the spread, they have been a good bet this year. The Bruins are 5-3 against the spread as an underdog and they are especially excellent on one day of rest.
UCLA is 6-1 straight up in games where they are on the same amount of rest as their opponent. Cronin’s squad has played 11 times on one day of rest this year. On the flip side, Michigan has only played on one day of rest three times this season.
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Why Michigan Can Cover The Spread
Michigan’s year-long track record is the reason why you should be betting on it to cover the spread tonight.
UCLA is red hot at the moment, but the Wolverines have had sustained success straight up and against the spread all year long. Michigan is 19-8 ATS this season. It’s also worth noting that the Wolverines are 18-6 ATS as a favorite as well.
Bookmakers have undervalued Michigan up to this point in the NCAA Tournament. They cruised to wins in their first three games and had no problem covering the spread in any of those games. LSU made it close, but Michigan was able to pull away for the cover down the stretch of that game.
If oddsmakers have yet to adjust to Michigan outperforming expectations, it could make sense to jump on the Wolverines for a fourth consecutive cover.
UCLA vs. Michigan Betting Prediction
UCLA seems to have the secret sauce in the NCAA Tournament right now. Eventually, this Cinderella run will likely come to an end. But even if it does against Michigan, they should slow the game down enough to keep it close and cover the spread.
Pick: UCLA +7
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