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Villanova at UCLA Men's College Basketball Betting Preview: Odds, Analysis and Picks

A betting preview of the Friday night battle between No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 Villanova.

I believe we only moved the clocks back one hour recently, correct? Well, it appears we also moved the calendar forward several months if we go by the NCAA Men’s college basketball schedule Friday. College hoops fans are being treated to a March Madness matchup in November when No. 4 Villanova heads west to face No. 2 UCLA!

Depending on what coast you reside, get ready to order in either a Philly Cheesesteak “with a double order of onions sautéed”—as the great Bill Raftery loves to say—or a Hawaiian pizza Friday night and pull up a seat for must-watch TV!

Check College Basketball Odds at SI Sportsbook

Villanova men's basketball player Collin Gillespie calls out play during game

No. 2 Villanova Wildcats at No. 4 UCLA Bruins

  • Spread: Villanova +4.5 (-110) | UCLA -4.5 (-110)
  • Total: 140 — Over (-110) | Under 1 (-110)
  • Venue: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Game Info: Friday Nov. 12, 2021 | 11:30 pm ET | ESPN2

Editor's Note - Odds are subject to change.

The line has held steady since opening in favor of No. 2 UCLA (1-0 Straight-Up (SU); 1-0 Against The Spread (ATS)) as 2.5-point home favorites over No. 4 Villanova (1-0 SU; 1-0 ATS) at SI Sportsbook.

Jay Wright has the Wildcats positioned for another tremendous season on the Main Line. Villanova welcomed back veteran leader and pre-season Big East Player of the Year candidate Collin Gillespie to the hardwood Tuesday for the first time since suffering a season-ending knee injury against Butler last season. The star point guard, a pre-season Cousy Award contender, is back for a fifth season for Villanova and his leadership is vital for a club contending for a third Championship in the last six years.

Villanova opened the season Tuesday with an impressive 91-51 win over Mount St. Mary’s as 25.5-point home favorites. The Wildcats received solid performances from senior forward Jermaine Samuels, who notched 17 points and 6 rebounds, as well as  junior shooting guard Justin Moore, who scored a career-high 27 points, while adding in a team-high seven assists. Gillespie added 13 in his return, but it was the contributions of the newest addition to the Villanova starting five that opened eyes.

Senior forward Brandon Slater, taking the place of forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, who left for the NBA, poured in a career-high 17 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. The Wildcats shot 16-of-30 (53.3%) from three-point range.

No. 2 UCLA will be without senior Cody Riley after the starting forward suffered a MCL injury in the first half of Tuesday’s season-opening 95-58 win over Cal State Bakersfield as 23-point home favorites. Transfer Myles Johnson, as well as highly touted freshman Peyton Watson, gave Mick Cronin’s squad solid production in the opener and will likely earn more minutes Friday night following Riley’s injury.

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Preseason Player of the Year favorite Johnny Juzang and fellow backcourt teammate Jules Bernard led the Bruins with 19 points each, while forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. poured in 14 in a balanced effort on both ends of the court. Juzang picked up right where he left off last season when he carried UCLA to the NCAA Men’s final Four, and will easily draw the focus of the Wildcats on the defensive end. 

The Bruins, like the Wildcats, will lean on experienced contributors in arguably the best game of the opening month of college basketball. UCLA went 17-8 SU and 11-14 ATS in the regular season last year, but it was its postseason run of a perfect 6-0 ATS mark in the NCAA Tournament that endeared the Bruins to college basketball bettors. 

Villanova went 16-5 SU and 12-9 ATS in the regular season, while posting a pedestrian 2-2 ATS mark in the postseason following the loss of Gillespie.

Both of these clubs are among the favorites to win it all this season, and the backcourt battle of Juzang and Bernard against Gillespie and Moore is where this game will likely be decided. The Bruins will have the edge playing at Pauley Pavilion, but the edge on the sidelines falls with Hall of Fame coach Jay Wright and his two national titles and an overall 612-274 (.691) record while he battles Mick Cronin 406-193 (.678).

BET: Villanova +5 (+120)

Check Out the Latest Odds at SI Sportsbook

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All SI Betting are hoping to pick right up where we left last season when our NCAA tournament betting plays yielded major financial success, thanks to Alabama (+220), Illinois (+375) and Georgia Tech (+2500) all delivering conference tournament championship victories in the SEC, Big Ten and ACC, respectively, for all members here at SI Betting!

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Frankie Taddeo is a successful high-stakes fantasy football player who created the first-ever DFS program ever offered in a Las Vegas sportsbook. Frankie is SI Betting's Senior Analyst and provides his significant experience and resources in the sports betting scene. You can follow Frankie on Twitter @Frankie_Fantasy for his latest betting and fantasy insights from Las Vegas.

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