Betting Odds Put UCLA as Fav to Beat the Golden Bears this Weekend

Posted by Aaron . on October 20, 2015 in

The UCLA Bruins will be looking to halt their season-altering two-game skid when they host No 20 Cal in an intriguing Week 8 Pac-12 pairing, but the Golden Bears also have plenty of motivation as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive after suffering their first loss of the season the last time out. Now, let’s find out which team is going to bring home the bacon on Saturday at the Rose Bowl!

No. 20 California at UCLA Bruins

When: 9:00 PM ET, Thursday, October 22, 2015
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
TV: FOX
NCAAF Betting Odds: UCLA -3.5

California Golden Bears (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS)

The 20th-ranked Golden Bears played hard and had a chance to pull off the upset over now, No. 3 Utah, but quarterback Jared Goff had a miserable game against Utah’s stout defense as the Bears fell 30-24. The possible No, 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft was limited to just 25 of 47 passes for 340 yards with two touchdowns and a whopping five interceptions.

California Golden Bears NCAAF

“I never really thought I wavered. They made plays and we didn’t,” Goff said. “Again, that was how many days ago . . . we’re over it. I’m over it. We’re ready to move on and play well against UCLA.”

Despite tossing four first-half interceptions, the Bears hung around by limiting Utah to just two second-half field goals while forcing three turnovers to increase their total to a nation’s best 21. The Bears will be well-rested after getting a bye in Week 7 and have a well-balanced offense that ranks inside the top 40 across the board, including scoring (34.8 ppg, 37th).

“It’s been nice having a bye week, not having a game or stuff leading up to it,” he said. “Just being able to relax and kind of get away from it for a day or two is nice.”

UCLA Bruins (4-2 SU, 2-3 ATS)

The Bruins have lost two straight games and hope to keep their 2015 season from going completely down the drain by getting the much-needed win at home in this contest. UCLA has lost consecutive games against Arizona State 38-23 two weeks ago and at Stanford, 56-35 on Saturday. The Bruins got smacked around on both sides of the ball as freshman quarterback Josh Rosen tossed two picks in the loss and the Bruins’ defense allowed Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey to rush for a stunning 243 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries while Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan tossed three touchdown passes.

“Frustrating,” Rosen said of the outcome. “I really wanted to beat this team, really wanted to make a statement.”

UCLA has given up a whopping 502 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in their two recent losses.

UCLA NCAAF

“It’s hard to go on the road, have a pick-six, have a 96-yard kickoff return, have 10 penalties and try to win,” Bruins coach Jim Mora said.

Game Analysis: I like UCLA, but the fact of the matter is that the Bruins are probably a year away from being really competitive. While Josh Rosen is clearly talented and the undeniable future of the Bruins program moving forward, he’s also an inexperienced first-time starter that is experiencing the typical growing pains that every first-time starting quarterback generally does.

Having said that, let me also say that I like the Cal Bears to get the win behind their experienced signal-caller – and underrated defense. Cal allows a respectable 24.5 points per game to rank 60th overall, but the Bears also average a stellar 40.2 points per game to rank 12th in the country.

Even though they’re playing at home, I’m completely surprised that UCLA is favored in this Week 8 matchup. I think Cal’s opportunistic defense will force UCLA’s Rosen into at least one costly turnover and possibly two while getting a fine performance out of Jared Goff en route to the outright road win and accompanying ATS cover.

The Golden Bears are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games, 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against a team with a winning record and an identical 5-2 ATS in their last 7 matchups against UCLA.

Conversely, the Bruins are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following an SU loss and a discouraging 1-3-1 ATS in their last five home games.

My Pick: California 35 UCLA 28