The UCLA Bruins (1-5) host the Arizona Wildcats (3-4) on Saturday night in a Pac-12 matchup between two struggling teams. Kickoff is set for 10:30 PM EST at the Rose Bowl and the game will be available on ESPN2.
Taking a look at the Week 8 college football odds, UCLA opened as a 5.5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has moved by a point and a half after early betting, as the Bruins are currently listed at -7. The total for the game is sitting at 55.5 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: UCLA vs Arizona
Arizona dropped back below .500 on the season after getting crushed 42-10 by Utah last weekend. The Wildcats were dominated on both sides of the ball in the loss, especially after starting QB Khalil Tate was forced to leave in the first quarter after suffering an ankle injury. He was replaced by sophomore Rhett Rodriguez, who will draw the start this week after it was confirmed that Tate will be unable to suit up against the Bruins on Satruday. Rodriguez has completed 26 out of his 45 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown so far this year. The Wildcats will likely lean heavily on RB J.J. Taylor who is currently averaging a solid 5.6 yards per carry this season. Overall, Arizona is only averaging 27.4 points per game, leaving them ranked just 80th overall nationwide.
On the other side of the ball, the Wildcats have struggled immensely – especially against solid offensive teams like Houston and Utah where they gave up 40+ points. As a whole, they are currently giving up an average of 28.7 points per game (87th overall).
UCLA finally won their first game of the season last weekend after starting the season 0-5. The Bruins put on an offensive clinic on the road against Cal last weekend, beating the Golden Bears 37-7. The star of the game for UCLA was definitely RB Joshua Kelly, who racked up 157 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Kelly has now recorded three straight 100+ yard games on the ground. QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson was accurate on limited attempts against Cal, going 13 of 15 for 141 yards. As a whole, UCLA is currently averaging just 21.5 points per game (119th overall).
The Bruins have also struggled a lot defensively, as they are allowing opponents to score an average of 31.5 points per game (95th overall). UCLA has really struggled against the rush, surrendering an average of 176.7 yards per game on the ground (86th). They haven’t been that much better against the pass, giving up an average of 233.0 yards per game through the air (78th).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: UCLA -7
UCLA should have a ton of confidence heading into this one after finally getting into the win column last weekend. Dorian Thompson-Robinson has looked very solid over his last two starts, completing at least 70% of his passes in both of those games. The Bruins have also been moving the ball very consistently on the ground, which should be easy enough to do again here in Week 8 against a weak Arizona defense. The other big thing to remember in this particular spot is the loss of Khalil Tate for the Wildcats – they will now have to turn to an unproven sophomore who has shown no real signs that he is even capable of being a starter at this level.
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Arizona is just 5-16 ATS over their last 21 road games. They are also just 3-7 ATS in their last ten games overall and 3-8-1 ATS over their last 12. UCLA is a very solid 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings with the Wildcats. The Bruins have also held court at home in this particular matchup, going 6-1 ATS over their last seven games against Arizona at the Rose Bowl.
The home team is a very impressive 11-4 ATS over the past 15 meetings between these two teams, which obviously bodes quite well for the Bruins.I just don’t feel comfortable taking a losing team that is being forced to start a backup quarterback on the road against a conference rival. I realize that the Bruins have really struggled so far this year, but they have shown signs of life over the last several weeks and should be able to repeat their impressive Week 7 performance once again this week. I’ll lay the points and take the home favorite – give me UCLA.