UCLA Bruins (4-3 SU, 2-5 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (6-1 SU, 4-3 ATS)
College Football Week 9
Date/Time: Saturday, October 28, 2017 at 3:30PM ET
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
by Scott, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: UCLA +17/WASH -17
Over/Under Total: 60
On Saturday in Pac-12 action from Seattle, the UCLA Bruins come to take on the Washington Huskies. After a bye-week that followed their first loss of the season in a massive upset to Arizona State, the Huskies are ready to start moving back up the rankings. Standing in their way is a dangerous UCLA team that flattened Oregon last week, 31-14, keeping Oregon off the board in the second half. The Bruins could add a lot of credibility to their season this week, but as the odds indicate, their work is cut out for them. After a loss and a bye, the Huskies should be ready to go on Saturday.
UCLA is still a work-in-progress, especially coming off a 4-8 season, but they have a lot more under the hood this season. They are still a very incomplete team. A lot of what they do well is tied to the arm of Josh Rosen, who had a good showing against Oregon last week. It looked like they had a game on their hands when Oregon went on a spurt to close the first half. But the UCLA defense responded well, shutting the Ducks out for the remainder of the contest. That took their conference record to 2-2 and in a division where anything seems possible, they are still vaguely in it.
The Bruins had a lot of highlights last Saturday and what made that unique were the contributions of the run game. In a hard-to-forget play, Bolo Olorunfunmi hurdled and then vaulted off a Ducks defender to get in the end zone. Both he and Soso Jamabo had some nice work against Oregon and that hasnt always been the case this season. Rosen threw two touchdowns and has 19 on the season, along with 2620 yards. He has been working well with WR Darren Andrews, who has eight touchdowns, along with ball-catchers Jordan Lasley and Caleb Wilson.
The UCLA defense is a two-headed story. On Saturday, all areas played pretty well in the 2nd half in keeping Oregon scoreless. With guys like Adarius Pickett, Nate Meadors, and Jaleel Wadood, the secondary has been adept at curtailing opposing aerial attacks and well see how well they contain a Huskies passing-game on Saturday. Against the run, its a different story, as opponents are putting up ridiculous numbers on the ground against the Bruins defense. Well see how that resonates this week, but when you give up an average of over 300 yards per game on the ground, its hard to project success. This side of the ball stands out as a major matchup concern this week.
Washington is hoping that the off-week resulted in getting some things figured out. Its a kooky conference, with teams all over the place from week-to-week. So maybe losing to ASU isnt the end of the world, as the Huskies have never performed that well in the desert anyway. A few missed kicks still could have made the difference. The loss was bad in more ways, as a really good left tackle in Trey Adams went down with a season-ending knee injury. The offense was dead in the ASU loss, but their defense at least stayed on-point, giving up 13 points, which is actually above their season-average in point allowance.
After seeing the offense a bit flat this season and especially in their 7-point output against Arizona State, the Washington Huskies look to kick their offense into a higher gear. With Adams out and a receiver crew that has dealt with injuries and offseason departures, QB Jake Brownings toolbox isnt as abundant this season. In the backfield, they look to turn Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman loose against this leaky Bruins run-defense. And receiver Dante Pettis is a game-changing talent, both in the passing-game and on returns. And they do average 38 points a game, so its not like they cant still put up a lot of production. But all in all, the lack of consistent weapons aerially has made them a bit diminished from last season.
The Washington defense looks to be the best part of the team, a consistent bunch that gives up very little. To be giving up just over 10 points per game in this conference really means a lot. They are very solid against the run and the pass. They secure turnovers and get after the opposing quarterback. They are likely to be facing a very heavy passing-game from UCLA this week and in that area, theyve been pretty stout, giving up only 163 yards per game aerially. Their season-high in points allowed was only 16 points to Fresno State. And with a week off, look for them to come out with some fire for this matchup.
Maybe the UCLA defense can translate to this matchup, having played well against the pass for the most part. Still, the most-glaring matchup issue in this game is the Huskies run-game against this UCLA defense, which should produce some positive results for the home-team. And Jake Browning should also be able to produce some aerial plays, as well. And while the one-dimensional offense of the Bruins could labor this week, I think they have decent momentum and are in good enough form to cover the big number. Im taking the Bruins.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the UCLA Bruins plus 17 points. - Where are you betting this game? Does your bookie give you the the option to bet on games at -105 odds? NO! He’s charging you -110 (or more!) Sports betting is a game of edges. Don’t let the house get the edge on you! Start betting at discounted odds TODAY at 5Dimes Sportsbook!