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UCLA and Northwestern are set to face off in the second round of the West Region, with the winner moving on to face the winner of TCU and Gonzaga. Handicapper Ben Rajavuori is here today with his best March Madness bets from the UCLA vs. Northwestern clash.

March Madness Bets Today: Best Bets for UCLA vs. Northwestern in Round of 32

UCLA and Northwestern are set to face off in the second round of the West Region, with the winner moving on to face the winner of TCU and Gonzaga. The Bruins are favored to win, with the spread opening at 7.5 points. This is the first time the two teams have met since 2013, when UCLA beat Northwestern 95-79 as a 14-point favorite.

March Madness Bets Today

UCLA comes into this game after a dominant first-round win against UNC Asheville, winning 86-53 as 17-point favorites. The Bruins defense has been outstanding this season, which is reflected in their top ranking in the KenPom defensive efficiency rankings. This type of defense is essential for success in the NCAA tournament, and UCLA has shown that it can keep up this level of play. While they were playing against an easier opponent in the first round, the Bruins take every opponent seriously, come out the same way every time, and sleep on no one, which is the philosophy of Mick Cronin.

Northwestern had a tougher first-round game against Boise State, winning 75-67 as 2-point favorites. Despite allowing Boise to grab 20 offensive rebounds, the Wildcats shot 49.1% from the field and 83.3% from the foul line while only turning the ball over seven times. Senior guards Boo Buie and Chase Audige led the team in scoring with 22 and 20 points, respectively. However, the Wildcats' offense is not very deep outside of these two players.

Northwestern's defense is the key to their success, as they yield only 94.0 points per 100 possessions, which ranks 18th in the nation. They force turnovers and make it difficult for opponents to get good looks at the basket. However, UCLA is an experienced team that spreads the ball well and rarely ever turns the ball over, which could neutralize Northwestern's defense. The Bruins have several players who can score, and they take care of the ball.

The odds are in favor of UCLA, and it is not difficult to see why. Their dominant defense and balanced offense make them a tough opponent for any team. Northwestern's reliance on its defense and lack of offensive depth could make it difficult for them to keep up with UCLA. I like UCLA to cover the first half in this game. We have seen them come out hot in their last few games, including acquiring a lead at halftime against Arizona, a game they eventually lost. Northwestern will be frustrated by UCLA's defense early and must adjust at halftime.

March Madness Bets Today: UCLA vs. Northwestern

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  • Date: March 18, 2023
  • Game Time: 8:40 ET
  • Arena: Golden 1 Center
  • Where to Watch: TNT

UCLA vs. Northwestern Odds

  • Spread: UCLA -7.5 (-106) | NW +7.5 (-108)
  • Total Odds: 126.5 (O -110, U -110)
  • Moneyline: UCLA -320 | NW +300

Click Here for UCLA vs Northwestern odds

Article Author


Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.


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