The Colorado Buffaloes travel to California this weekend to take on the UCLA Bruins in Week 5 NCAA action. Kickoff is set for 10:30 PM EST on Saturday, September 30th at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The game will be televised on ESPN2.
UCLA opened as 4.5 point favorites at home, however that line has since changed to -6.5. The over/under for the game is set at 66.5 points. Click here for a full list of Week 5 betting odds and links to game previews.
Colorado vs UCLA Vegas Odds & Game Preview
Colorado has had a somewhat confusing start to their season, as many expected their offense to make up for a defensive unit forced to replace eight starters from the 2016 team. However, the exact opposite has happened, as the Buffaloes defense has largely been responsible for their 3-1 start on the year. QB Steven Montez has a ton of weapons on offense, including arguably one of the deepest receiving corps in the Pac-12. However, he has struggled to build any real momentum and has had a real problem with accuracy and ball control – he has thrown six interceptions in just four games. RB Phillip Lindsay, who ran for 1,000+ yards last season, was also expected to be a bright spot on offense. As a whole, this unit currently ranks almost dead last in both scoring offense and total offense in the Pac-12. The fact that this Colorado team still boasts a 3-1 record is directly due to their outstanding play on defense. This Buffaloes unit has done a great job replacing a ton of departed talent and has limited opponents to an average of just 16 points per game. Despite allowing Washington to put up 37 points last weekend, this group still has played great and is currently ranked 2nd in the entire Pac-12.
The Bruins have looked great on offense, as QB Josh Rosen has already passed for over 1,700 yards on the season while adding 16 touchdowns. His two favorite receiving targets appear to be Darren Andrews and Caleb Wilson, who have combined for 882 yards receiving and accounted for half of Rosen’s touchdowns. However, the Bruins have still struggled to find a solution to their lacklustre ground game that plagued them in 2016. RB Soso Jamabo was the first Bruin to rush for 100+ yards in a game for well over a year after barely reaching the century mark against Stanford last weekend. To make matters worse for UCLA, he appears to be questionable heading into the weekend. On the other side of the ball, this UCLA defensive unit has been nothing short of horrendous. The Bruins are currently ranked dead last of all FBS teams in terms of rushing defense. They most recently gave up a massive 405 yards on the ground to Stanford last weekend en route to a 58-34 loss. They are also allowing opponents to score an average of 43.3 points per game.
Free NCAAF Betting Prediction: Colorado +6.5
I think there is a lot of value to be found taking Colorado and the points in this particular spot. I really expect a competitive game on Saturday night, and would be really suprised if it didn’t stay close throughout. This UCLA defense is completely awful and I have no real confidence in them to turn things around this weekend. The Buffaloes have been lacklustre at best on offense, but I still expect this talented group to score a lot of points this weekend. Colorado’s stellar defense should also be able to slow down Rosen and Co. a bit as well, especially if the Bruins are missing their top rusher.
Click on the link for more free NCAA football picks against the spread and total.
The recent performances of both these teams ATS has to be factored in as well. Colorado is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games on the road and 8-3 in their past 11 against Pac-12 opponents. Conversely, UCLA are just 1-5 ATS in their past six while going 3-7 ATS against opponents with winning records AND in their last 10 home games. Finally, the underdog has managed to cover in four out of the five previous games (4-1) between these two teams.
I still expect UCLA to win on Saturday, but I think that giving up almost a touchdown to a tough Colorado team is just too much. The Buffaloes are definitely more than capable of pulling off the upset on the road, especially if their defense continues to shine and their offense manages to finally break out. They certainly have a great match-up this weekend against a truly awful Bruins defense. Look for this game to go down to the wire and for Colorado to cover the spread with relative ease.