UNC Asheville vs UCLA Prediction, Odds & Best Bet for March 16 NCAA Tournament Game (Back a Blowout in Sacramento)

Larry Rupp
UNC Asheville vs UCLA prediction, odds and betting insights for NCAA Tournament game.
UNC Asheville vs UCLA prediction, odds and betting insights for NCAA Tournament game. / AP Photos/Chase Stevens

UNC Asheville vs UCLA Game Info

  • 2022-23 NCAA Tournament Game
  • UNC Asheville (27-7) vs. UCLA (29-5)
  • Date: Thursday, March 16, 2023
  • Time: 10:05 p.m. ET
  • Venue: Golden 1 Center -- Sacramento, California
  • Coverage: truTV

The 2023 NCAA Tournament continues on Thursday with an exciting Round of 64 matchup between the No. 15 UNC Asheville Bulldogs and No. 2 UCLA Bruins. UNC Asheville is back in the big dance for the first time since 2016, while UCLA is making its 51st all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

UNC Asheville took down Campbell by a score of 77-73 in the Big South Championship and enters Thursday night on a nine-game winning streak. Meanwhile, UCLA saw its 12-game winning streak end with a 61-59 loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship.

Which team will advance with a victory? Let's explore.

UNC Asheville vs UCLA Odds & Spread

UCLA enters this contest as a massive favorite on the moneyline and spread per FanDuel Sportsbook's odds. This 10:05 p.m. ET clash also features an over/under of 134.5 points, which is about average compared to Thursday's projected totals.

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UNC Asheville vs UCLA Betting Trends

  • UNC Asheville is 6-0 against the spread (ATS) in its last six games as an underdog.
  • The total has hit the over in nine of UNC Asheville's last 13 games.
  • UCLA is 6-0 straight up in its last six games on a Thursday.
  • The total has hit the under in 18 of UCLA's 34 games this season.

UNC Asheville vs UCLA Prediction & Pick

UCLA is rightfully considered a title favorite, but it's worth noting that the Bruins head into the tourney far from healthy. Defensive ace Jaylen Clark is out for the season with an Achilles injury and big man Adem Bona just suffered a shoulder injury in the Pac-12 semifinals. His status remains up in the air.

The Bruins still have veterans Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. running the squad, though. Any miscues that come on defense due to absent players should be counterbalanced by an offense that ranks 48th in efficiency. UCLA owns an assist/turnover ratio of 1.38 as well (No. 25 in NCAA).

UCLA has won 14 of its last 17 games in March, so back the Bruins to get the job done on Thursday.

Final Score Prediction: UNC Asheville: 56 | UCLA: 78

UNC Asheville vs UCLA Best Bet

UNC Asheville has been able to pull away in the second half of a ton of games this season due to its ability to get to the free throw line. The Bulldogs are never afraid to play physical, which results in 22.1 free throw attempts per game (No. 24 in NCAA). They will have to switch up the strategy here, though.

UCLA ranks third in defensive efficiency this season and gives up only 14.8 free throw attempts per game (No. 30 in NCAA). Taking away one of UNC Asheville's biggest strengths will help a UCLA team that is 5-1-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last seven games as a favorite build a massive lead.

Bet: UCLA Bruins -17.5 (-120)

Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel. 

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.