March 11th Pac 12 Championship Game Betting Preview
#2 UCLA and #8 Arizona Do Battle in Las Vegas
The Pac 12 Championship Game betting matchup features the #2 UCLA Bruins (29-4) facing the #8 Arizona Wildcats (27-6) in Las Vegas. Aside from a conference title, the winner of this game should secure at least a #2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and for the Bruins maybe even a #1 seed.
The two best teams in the Pac12 this season, Arizona and UCLA split their season series with each picking up a win on their own court. The Wildcats came out on top 58-52 on January 21st to cover -2, while the Bruins won the regular season finale 82-73 one week ago to edge the -5.5 number. Saturday night’s matchup has UCLA a -1.5 point favorite and a slight 56% of the betting public like the Bruins here.
Why Arizona Can Cover +1.5 Points
The Pac 12 postseason honors are littered with Bruins players, including the Defensive Player of the Year Jaylen Clark as well as the Freshman of the Year Adem Bona. The status of both of those players is in doubt for the Pac 12 Championship Game betting matchup though, with Clark (achilles) out for the year and Bona (shoulder) getting hurt in Friday’s win over Oregon.
On the contrary from UCLA, Arizona has nobody on the injury report and in fact are getting surprise production from the likes of Cedric Henderson, Jr. this weekend. Henderson, Jr. was just a 7.9 ppg scorer this season, but had 23 on Thursday against Stanford and 14 in the win over the Ducks.
While Henderson is producing as a surprise, Arizona’s two biggest known commodities continue to dominate as well. The Wildcats’ intimidating duo of 6’11” Azuoles Tubelis and 6’10” Oumar Ballo each have a 20+ point game so far this tournament.
Why UCLA Can Cover -1.5 Points
The loss of Clark and Bona (who could still play Saturday) will be felt by the Bruins, but they still have conference POY Jaime Jaquez, Jr. who is averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds this tournament. Jaquez, Jr. had 22/10 in the regular season finale against Arizona so he obviously presents some matchup problems.
The Bruins’ Mick Cronin was named Pac 12 Coach of the Year, and he’s gotten the most out of this somewhat shorthanded team this tournament. Even without Clark and Bona, UCLA dominated Oregon 76-56 on Friday as -5 point favorites with the Ducks shooting just 33% from the floor and 3-19 from three point range. Amari Bailey and David Singleton have both had a 12+ point scoring game this postseason so the Bruins are showing some depth.
Jaquez, Jr. and Tyger Campbell are both Seniors and that experience will be invaluable and Campbell is averaging 23.0 ppg in the two conference tournament games.
Free Pac 12 Tournament Championship Game Betting Pick
Can UCLA pull this game off even a bit shorthanded – and does playing their third game in as many nights put an extra strain on a somewhat depleted roster? Both teams should be battling fatigue here (especially playing in Las Vegas) which means defense may be optional – and when you combine that with some incredible offensive talent on both sides the total seems to be the play.
Free Pick: Over 147.5