Villanova vs. UCLA Prediction and Odds: Back the Wildcats in Top 5 Matchup

Feb 19, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Villanova Wildcats guard Collin Gillespie (2) talks with
Feb 19, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Collin Gillespie (2) talks with / Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, we're being treated to a first-week, top five matchup between No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Villanova.

The Wildcats travel to Pauley Pavilion for this early season blockbuster, so where is the betting value?

Let's first look at the odds from WynnBET Sportsbook.

Villanova vs. UCLA Odds, Spread and Total


  • Villanova: +4 (-110)
  • UCLA: -4 (-110)


  • Villanova: +150
  • UCLA: -180

Total: 138.5 (Over -110/Under -110)

Villanova vs. UCLA Pick and Prediction

I am admittedly not as high as the polls and market on UCLA heading into the year. While many will look to their Final Four run and lack of roster turnover as a springboard for success this season, I think this team is closer to the No. 10 team in the country than the No. 1. If not for a come from behind win in the First Four against Michigan State, this UCLA team may have entered this season ranked in the 20's.

This is a high level matchup, but I project this game as closer to a pick and see a ton of value in catching four or more points. The Wildcats need to be careful pressing with the sure-handed Tyger Campbell running point for the Bruins, but I do trust their length with the likes of Brandon Slater and Justin Moore to cause trouble in the half court.

The key to this one may come down to three-point shooting. UCLA didn't take a ton of perimeter shots last season, outside the top 300 in three-point rate last season, but Nova allowed a ton last season, 279th most and the Bruins got hot from three in March. Against the Villanova matchup zone, the likes of Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez may get clean looks from deep and able to shoot with the sweet shooting Wildcats. However, I see the length and athleticism of Nova doing enough to stymie UCLA's methodical offense.

With that being said, these are two methodical offenses, each outside the top 300 in pace last season. In a game that might involve a lot of drive and kicks to open shooters, I'll side with the Wildcats, who are amongst the best in that department. The offense is elite, sixth last year in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency and arguably the best in spot up shooting, averaging nearly 1.3 points per possession on spot ups last season, per Synergy Sports, nearly tops in the nation.

Jay Wright's team is experienced and I don't credit Pauley Pavilion with a big home court advantage. Even with the late start I think we see Nova hit the ground running after I was impressed with their performance on Tuesday night against Mount St. Mary's.

Ultimately, I think that UCLA is overvalued in the market based on last year's run, so I'm taking the points. For what it's worth, Wright and Villanova are 19-9-3 ATS as an underdog since the 2012-2013 season.

PICK: Villanova +4 (-110)

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