Arizona vs. UCLA College Football Odds & Picks: Bruins Finally Clicking Under Chip Kelly?
Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Chip Kelly.
- QBs Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Grant Gunnell will face off as UCLA hosts Arizona in the Pac-12.
- Thompson-Robinson was forced to miss UCLA's game last week, while Gunnell has continued to impress in 2020.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down the game and shares a betting pick based on his analysis below.
Arizona vs. UCLA Odds
|Arizona Odds||+10.5 [BET NOW]|
|UCLA Odds||-10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+280 / -357 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||68.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 8 p.m. ET|
It took a few years, but UCLA coach Chip Kelly looks like he finally has a legitimate defense in Westwood. UCLA impressed on a national stage last week by pushing Kelly’s former team, Pac-12 favorite Oregon, to the brink on the road.
The Bruins, who lead the Pac-12 in sacks, came up just short in a 38-35 loss behind an impressive performance from freshman quarterback Chase Griffin, who was thrust into the starting role on gameday after Dorian Thompson-Robinson was ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols.
While the Bruins rose to the occasion in the Pacific Northwest last week, the Arizona Wildcats fell flat a few hours up the I-5 interstate at Husky Stadium as they fell behind 37-0 before scoring a few garbage-time touchdowns to make the final score a more palatable 44-27 loss.
With each team already with two losses, the Wildcats and Bruins each are in desperate need of a win at the Rose Bowl on Saturday to keep their bowl hopes alive.
UCLA should be able to make Arizona one-dimensional on offense and cover the spread.
Arizona’s offense will need to step up against a surprisingly solid UCLA defense. The Wildcats have thus far struggled to run the football as they are 11th in rushing yards per attempt (3.48) among Pac-12 teams. The passing attack, led by true sophomore Grant Gunnell, had a strong performance against USC but was shut down by the always elite Washington secondary.
Washington not only did a good job in coverage, but they dominated the Arizona offensive line as they tallied five sacks. Arizona needs to be better up front against the best front seven in the Pac-12 thus far.
Defensively, Arizona has struggled mightily. The Cats are the only defense in the Pac-12 without a forced turnover. They also rank 11th in yards per pass allowed (8.2), ninth in yards per rush allowed (5.27) and are dead last in the conference with a single sack on the season and just 0.5 sacks per game.
The UCLA offense has put up points when they haven’t been turning the ball over, but Arizona will need to step up to exploit UCLA’s weakness in holding onto the ball.
Offensively, UCLA needs to limit turnovers. The Bruins lead the Pac-12 in both interceptions with four and fumbles with five. Consequently, they have the worst turnover margin (-7) in the Pac 12. UCLA’s costly turnovers likely cost them victories against Colorado and Oregon.
However, when UCLA’s drives haven’t ended in turnovers, they have been successful moving the football. UCLA ranks fourth with 5.28 yards per carry and have averaged 7.2 yards per pass. The Bruins will not publicly announce whether Dorian Thompson-Robinson or Chase Griffin will start against the Wildcats, but both are competent enough to do damage against Arizona.
The engine of the UCLA offense is former receiver Demetric Felton. Felton took over for Joshua Kelley as the starting running back, and he has impressed after making the position switch as he has rushed for over 100 yards in consecutive games and remains a pass-catching threat out of the backfield. The Bruins use him like the Saints use Alvin Kamara, and expect him to see the ball repeatedly against Arizona. He has gotten better each week as he adjusts to his new position.
Defensively, UCLA has exceeded expectations thus far. They lead the conference in sacks (10.0), tackles for loss (27.0) and tackles for loss per game (9.0). The Bruins also are second among Pac-12 defenses allowing just 3.36 yards per rush.
Betting Analysis & Pick
UCLA should shut down any Arizona rushing attack and make the Wildcats offense one-dimensional, allowing the best pass rush in the Pac 12 to pin their ears back and attack Gunnell. UCLA’s offense should feast against a poor Arizona defense that ranks near the bottom of the Pac 12 in both rushing and passing yards per attempt.
I like the Bruins to win and cover the 9.5 points and will bet them up to -12.5.
Pick: UCLA -9.5 (-110). Play up to -12.5.