The UCLA Bruins return home after sweeping the toughest road trip in the Pac-12 Conference, as they prepare to take on the Oregon State Beavers at Pauley Pavilion Thursday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds for this affair and come out with a winning free pick for you.

Shorthanded 

Oregon State has dropped four of its last five games, including an 80-70 defeat to the Arizona Wildcats as 11-point home underdogs Saturday, while going OVER the posted total of 147. The Beavers will be playing their second game without the services of forward Eric Moreland and guard Victor Robbins due to a suspension that will end after this game. The team has also been missing center Angus Brandt since late-November.

Rolling

Image previewUCLA has won nine games in a row and just became the first Pac-12 team to sweep the road trip to Colorado and Utah since those teams joined the conference. The Bruins are off to a perfect 4-0 start in conference play for the first time since the 2008-09 campaign, and the fourth time in 10 years under current head coach Ben Howland. The program is 6-4 against the spread (ATS) at home this season.

Loss of rebounds

Sports bettors need to realize that the Beavers will be missing their top two rebounders Thursday night when making your college basketball picks against the spread, as Brandt and Moreland have combined to grab 19.6 boards per game this season. It’s still important to note that the squad is averaging more rebounds per game (35.8) than it did last season (34.8), but it has lost the battle underneath in three consecutive games.

Series history

The Beavers snapped a 13-game losing streak to the Bruins in last year’s 87-84 victory as two-point home favorites, but they’ve dropped eight consecutive visits to this venue. Howland has compiled a dominating 15-4 record over Oregon State since arriving in Westwood, while the favorite is 19-7-1 ATS in the last 27 meetings overall in this series.

Adams and Muhammad

There’s no doubt that the Bruins have one of the more talented groups of freshman in the country—led by Jordan Adams and Shabazz Muhammad. UCLA is averaging 85.0 points at home this season, with Muhammad leading the way in scoring 18.2 points per game, which is the fourth-highest mark in the conference. Adams became the first freshman in program history to score 20-plus points in each of his first four games, but his production has dropped off a bit since starting conference play (12.3 ppg). 

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Bruins as one of their college basketball picks, as they’ve gone 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 conference games, while the Beavers are 6-14 ATS on the road over the last two-plus seasons.

College Basketball Picks: UCLA Bruins -14.5 at Pinnacle

Let's go a little east and see what I think about Michigan vs. Minnesota.