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No. 17 UCLA meets No. 11 Michigan State in Las Vegas Invitational opener

UCLA vs Michigan State Betting Odds

Looking for some basketball on Thanksgiving Day? Tune in to the Las Vegas Invitational with the No. 17 UCLA Bruins tipping off against the No. 11 Michigan State Spartans. UCLA looks to remain undefeated and hand Michigan State its second loss of the season. The Bruins have won each of the last two meetings vs the Spartans with the most recent game coming in 2011, but Michigan State is a 6-point favorite this evening with the total opening at 158 points.

Shark Bites
  • UCLA is 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in its last four games vs Michigan State.
  • The total has gone OVER in seven of UCLA’s last 10 games with a closing total of 158.0 or more.
  • Michigan State is 2-7 ATS in its last nine games.

UCLA vs Michigan State Game Center

Fast-paced Bruins look to continue strong play

For the second time in three years, UCLA has jumped out to a 4-0 start to the season, with the team doing the same in the 2016-17 season when it won its first 13 games. The Bruins play a high-tempo game and are led by a pair of freshmen in forward Jalen Hill and 2018 All-American center Moses Brown. Hill had some off-the-court issues last year as one of the three players accused of shoplifting when they were in China and he was suspended for the rest of the season. This year, he is averaging a modest 5.8 points per game but is chipping in by grabbing 10 rebounds per game.

Meanwhile, five-star recruit Brown is putting his seven-foot-one frame to good use as he is scoring 17.3 points per game while snatching 12 boards per game. The two big men have UCLA leading the nation in rebounds per game at 49 and ripping down 32.8 defensive boards per game, which is the third-most in college basketball. Additionally, with the youth on the court, they look to push the pace, averaging 80.4 possessions per game, which ranks 16th, and they take the 17th-most field-goal attempts per game at 67.8. All this has led to the Bruins averaging 90.5 points per game, ranking ninth in the NCAA.

Spartans have been punishing teams recently

Michigan State had a tough draw to begin the season, colliding with then-No. 1 Kansas in the State Farm Champions Classic. The Spartans mounted a comeback in that game, outscoring the Jayhawks 51-42 in the second half, but still fell 92-87. Since then, they have rattled off three straight wins, leading the nation with an average winning margin of 37.7 over that span, and they look to carry that momentum in against the Bruins. Michigan State is an experienced team led by a trio of juniors in Cassius Winston, Joshua Langford and Nick Ward, all of whom are averaging 15 or more points per game.

Offense hasn’t been an issue at all this season for Michigan State as it is averaging the third-most points per game in the nation at 93.5 and is moving the ball around the court well to get clean, open looks. The Spartans are leading college basketball in assists, averaging 22.5 per game, led by Winston, who is chipping in with seven per game. It was already mentioned that UCLA is leading the nation in rebounds per game, but Michigan State isn’t far behind with 46.8 boards per game, which is the fourth-most in the nation.

OVER trending in tonight’s game

This game features two of the top 10 scoring teams in the nation and Bovada has the total opening at 158 points. The Spartans have gone OVER 158 in two of their four games this season, and the Bruins have gone OVER 158 in two of their four. UCLA averages 54.5 two-pointers per game, which is the second-most in the NCAA, while Michigan State ranks in a tie for 139th in college basketball allowing an average of 34 two-pointers per game. Lastly, both teams rank outside of the top 50 in the nation for points allowed per game with the Spartans surrendering 66.5 ppg and the Bruins giving up 68.5 ppg.

My take on Michigan State vs UCLA

If it wasn’t evident from the paragraph before, I’m on the OVER 158 points in this matchup. Both teams take plenty of shots per game with UCLA taking 67.8 field-goal attempts per game, which is the 17th-most in the nation, and Michigan State ranks 13th at 68.2. However, both teams rank outside of the top 200 in field-goal attempts allowed, with UCLA surrendering the ninth-most at 67.2. Lastly, the Bruins are shooting 51.7 percent from the floor, which is the 14th-best shooting percentage in the nation, and the Spartans are hitting 48.4 percent of their shots, ranking 57th.