The UCLA Bruins will host the Texas A&M Aggies in their 2017 season opener. Kickoff is set for 7:30 EST on Sunday, Sept. 3rd at the Rose Bowl in LA. The game will be broadcasted nationally on FOX.
These two opened up against each other last year. It was quite an entertaining game. Texas A&M led 24-9 in the 4th quarter, but would need overtime to win 31-24. The Aggies were a 3-point home favorite in that contest.
Taking a look at the Week 1 NCAAF lines, oddsmakers have UCLA as a 4.5-point favorite with the total at 56.5 points.
UCLA vs Texas A&M Vegas Betting Line & Game Preview
The Bruins went into 2016 with high expectations (ranked No. 16 preseason), but things unraveled quickly. UCLA finished a mere 4-8 with a miserable 2-7 mark in Pac-12 play. Things really took a turn for the worse after starting QB Josh Rosen was lost for the year.
That kind of season isn’t acceptable. There’s a lot of pressure on 6th year head coach Jim Mora to get this program back on track. Chances are he will do just that, as UCLA gets Rosen back and returns 15 starters overall.
Texas A&M finished 8-5 for a third straight season. Each of those 3 years they have started out at least 5-0. Last year they were 6-0 and ranked No. 6 before a 14-33 loss to No.1 Alabama. Their only two wins the rest of the year were against New Mexico State and UTSA.
The Aggies have complied a 44-21 record in the 5 years under Sumlin, but the concern is growing with this teams inability to play well late in the year. Sumlin will try to buck the trend in 2017 with 12 starters back from last year. He’s got some big holes to fill on both sides, including at quarterback.
Free NCAAF Betting Pick Against the Spread: UCLA -4.5
I would have to lean on the Bruins in this one. UCLA was no where close to as bad as their record last year. They were a lot closer to being 6-0 than people think.
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The big think for me is they don’t have that added pressure this season that comes with being a preseason favorite of the media. Instead they are flying under the radar, as you don’t hear anyone calling for them to compete for a Pac-12 title.
I love to back teams with a chip on their shoulder and even more so when they are playing with revenge. UCLA has a lot to prove here against a team they feel they let one get away against.
More than anything, the Bruins have a ton of talent coming back. Rosen is one of the best quarterbacks in the country when healthy. UCLA should also see big time improvement on the offensive line, which was a major weakness last year. They got 4 starters back up front and should be a lot more effective on the ground this season.
I’ll admit it’s not easy going against Texas A&M, given they are 15-0 over the last 3 seasons in their first 5 games. However, I think they are outclassed here. My biggest concern with the Aggies is their offense. Unlike years past, I don’t think they are equipped to replace the production at quarterback. They also lost one of their best receivers in school history in Josh Reynolds.
As for the defense, they lose the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft in Myles Garrett. As well as their top two tacklers. It all adds up to a down year for the Aggies in 2017.