The San Diego State Aztecs (1-0) travel to Pasadena this weekend for an all-California showdown with the UCLA Bruins (0-1). Kickoff is set for 4:15 PM EST on Saturday, September 7th at Rose Bowl Stadium and the game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Taking a look at the Week 2 college football odds, UCLA opened as a 6-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has shifted a full point after early betting, as the Bruins are currently listed at -7. The total for the game is sitting at 45 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: UCLA vs San Diego State
San Diego State started their season off on the right foot in Week 1, beating Weber State 6-0 to move to 1-0 overall. Neither offense could really get anything going all game long, as the two teams combined for just six points in what turned out to be a defensive battle. QB Ryan Agnew struggled with his accuracy despite not throwing any interception, going just 16/30 for 108 yards. He also averaged only 1.4 yards per carry on nine attempts. Lead back Juwan Washington also had a tough time on the ground, gaining only 55 rushing yards despite getting a game-high 22 touches. None of the Aztecs wide receivers really got anything going either, as Jesse Matthews led the team in receiving despite catching only three passes for 25 yards.
The Aztecs were nearly perfect defensively, although it remains to be seen how much of their success in Week 1 was largely due to their below average opponent. Even so, San Diego State held the Wildcats to just 119 passing yards and 35 yards on the ground. They also forced a couple of key turnovers, which helped them lock up the victory despite only scoring six points of their own on offense.
UCLA fell on the road against Cincinnati in Week 1, trailing basically the entire game and finishing on the wrong end of a 24-14 final boxscore. The Bruins really struggled to move the ball through the air against the Bearcats, as starting QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed just eight of his twenty-six passing attempts for 156 yards. Thompson-Robinson did find the end zone on two of his throws, but he also committed several interceptions that proved to be extremely costly. None of the UCLA running backs really got any momentum going on the ground, as Demetric Felton averaged only 3.1 yards per carry despite having 23 rushing attempts. However, he was able to break open a couple of nice receptions, racking up 91 yards and a touchdown on just two catches. There is little doubt that missing star RB Joshua Kelley had a huge impact on the game, as UCLA looked disorganized and out of sorts offensively basically straight from the opening kickoff. As a whole, the offense gained just over 200 total yards and scored two touchdowns.
The Bruins didn’t have the best game against Cincinnati, giving up almost 400 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. UCLA did hold Michael Warren II to just 3.5 yards per carry but he was still able to find the end zone and rush for almost 100 yards.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: UCLA -7
I certainly don’t have much faith in either of these offenses after how poorly they played in Week 1, although at least the Bruins had a built-in excuse with the absence of Joshua Kelley. UCLA head coach Chip Kelly defended Thompson-Robinson’s poor performance in his post-game press conference, which should at least help his quarterbacks confidence moving forward. Most importantly, it appears as if Joshua Kelley will make his return on Saturday afternoon, as he is currently listed as the starting running back. If Kelley is even close to full health, he should give UCLA a massive boost against a less than explosive Aztecs squad. San Diego State inexplicably scored just six points against an FCS opponent, which leaves me extremely hesitant to put any faith in them rebounding here in Week 2.
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If (and this is a big if) the Bruins offense can eliminate all the turnovers from Week 1, they should be able to score enough points to win this game by at least a touchdown. UCLA has owned the Aztecs over the past several decades, winning 15 straight games dating back to the 1980’s. It is also worth noting that almost all of those victories (13 out of 15) were by double-digits, which should help instill confidence that the Bruins can win this matchup by 7+ points and cover the spread. Of course, if Kelley has a set-back prior to kickoff, all bets are off – I don’t trust Thompson-Robinson enough on his own to still pick UCLA if that scenario ends up playing out.