Northwestern Wildcats vs UCLA Bruins March Madness Betting Preview

UCLA Hopes to Improve on 15-5-2 ATS Record Following a Win

NW Will Big 10 Success Properly Prepare Wildcats?

Northwestern (22-11) disposed of 10th-seed Boise State, 76-67, to move on to a second-round date against the 2nd-seed UCLA Bruins. Although it turned out to be an eight point difference, it felt as if Northwestern was in control for most of the contest. Chris Collins‘ team shot almost 50% (26-53, 49.1%) to open up a six-point halftime lead (38-32).

As mentioned in previous previews, the importance of winning the free throw battle stayed true in this one with the Wildcats outscoring Boise by six after the Broncos hit just 9 of 14 attempts. Senior Guard, Boo Buie, finished with 22 points on 57.1% shooting. Bettors were all over Northwestern when the opening number was released, pushing the Broncos from a 1 1/2-point favorite to a 1 1/2-point dog.

This was a classic pro vs joe match-up. The betting tickets were split at most books but the professional money got the win while the public took a loss. Let’s start our Northwestern vs UCLA preview by breaking down both squads.

UCLA UCLA Focused On Adding To Legacy

This is the 52nd time UCLA (30-5) has made it to the NCAA Tournament as they look to win their 12th National Championship and their first since 1995. The Bruins took one step closer to another championship after an easy 86-53 opening-round win against UNC-Asheville. Jaime Jaquez Jr led the way with 17 points on 57.1% shooting. In addition, the senior guard added 8 rebounds.

The Bulldogs were held to 19-51 shooting (37.3%). Asheville bettors never had a chance to cover with UCLA racing out to a 14-0 lead. Injuries in College Basketball always have to be considered when placing your wager and there is some news that is positive for the Bruins.

Moving forward, we know that Jaylen Clark (Achilles) will be out for the rest of the season while the Bruins received some good news on freshman Adem Bona who is battling a shoulder injury.

The Bruins’ big man is being described as having a good chance to play in their second-round game. UCLA was bet down to a 17 ½-point favorite after opening -19. The public took a bath on that outcome but won some back when the game went over the total of 136.5.

Bettors were out in full force once again when it came to moneyline betting, hoping that the +1200 dog would upset the Bruins. 73% of the moneyline wagers were on the Bulldogs. Let’s continue our Northwestern vs UCLA betting preview by breaking down the March Madness odds in this match-up.

Northwestern vs UCLA

Date & Time:
Location: Golden One Center, Sacramento, California
Region: West

Handicapping the Game

UCLA opened as an 8-point favorite, but 66% of the early money has been on the Wildcats, pushing the number down to -7.5. The total is 127.5, a number that has held steady since the send-out. 71% of the betting tickets have been on the under, which may be an indication of where the number might go, but there has been enough action to compel the books to move off the number yet.

Naturally, the public is looking for the big money upset when it comes to moneyline wagering. The Bruins opened -400 but have been bet down to -360 with the Wildcats paying +280 with a win. Mick Cronin has been the head coach in Westwood since 2019.

In his career, Cronin has been terrific against the number, going 61-50 ATS since 2019-2020 in the NCAAB regular season and 10-4 ATS in that span. Collins is 20-12 ATS this season, but that’s been a turnaround for the 49-year-old coach who was 52-76 ATS since 2017-18 prior to this season.

Over the last five years, UCLA is 72-67-4 ATS in the regular season and 11-5 ATS in the tournament. Northwestern has compiled an overall 60-65-4 ATS record, 1-5 ATS in the tournament over the last five years. Our recommendation is to take UCLA and the under.

That does it for our Northwestern vs UCLA preview, we wish you nothing but the best heading into the second round.
(Odds change frequently, be sure to check for the most up to date changes.)

Northwestern vs UCLA

Last Updated: 3/17/2023 TeamS
Spread Bruins -7.5
Moneyline Bruins -360, Wildcats +280
Total 127.5
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