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UCLA vs. Oregon Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for Saturday’s Premier College Football Game (October 23)

UCLA vs. Oregon Betting Odds, Predictions: Our Top Pick for Saturday’s Premier College Football Game (October 23) article feature image

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Dorian Thompson-Robinson.

Oregon vs. UCLA Odds

Saturday, Oct. 23
3:30 p.m. ET
Oregon Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-115o / -1-5u
Spread Total Moneyline
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The long history of Chip Kelly and Oregon football will write another chapter in Week 8. The former Oregon head coach led the Ducks to the 2010 BCS Championship game in a loss to a Cam Newton-led Auburn squad.

Kelly would go on to win a Rose and Fiesta Bowl before leaving for an NFL position with the Philadelphia Eagles. Sanctions on the Oregon program were rumored to be the reason for his departure from college football, but a short NFL tenure placed the coach back into the Pac-12 with UCLA in 2018.

Oregon has beaten UCLA twice during the Kelly campaign in Westwood.

The Ducks were on track to make the College Football Playoff with a road victory over Ohio State in Week 2. Blowouts of Stony Brook and Arizona disguised areas of the defense that Stanford looked to exploit, though.

The Cardinal defense limited the Ducks in scoring position while finding massive success in moving the chains. Stanford had two-plus first downs on 7-of-13 possessions and nearly doubled the national average in methodical drives, defined as a possession that is 10 or more plays.

Kelly will look to implement a game plan that includes dominating the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Oregon Ducks

Oregon Offense

The best weapon for the Ducks’ offense is finally back on the field.

Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead has been cleared to be on the sideline after missing the Stanford game for emergency surgery. Protocols kept him in the box against Cal.

Oregon ran a pace of 24 seconds per play through the first four games of the season, but without Moorhead on the sidelines, it ran a tempo of 22 seconds per play.

While the total on this game continues to tick up over 60, the market is reacting to Moorhead’s return but ignoring that the tempo may fall back to September numbers.

Oregon will look to establish the run with quarterback Anthony Brown and a number of running backs.

Head coach Mario Cristobal mentioned Trey Benson would be in the rotation and receive rushing attempts after getting only three touches this season.

Without CJ Verdell and a handful of offensive linemen looking to get full health, owning the trench is the biggest handicap of the Oregon offense.

Nice game for Travis Dye so far tonight: 16 carries for 135 yards & 1 TD! #Ducks

— ✯✯✯✯✯ (@FTBVids_YT) October 16, 2021

Oregon Defense

The defense has struggled to produce in all facets except pass rush.

Graded in the top 35 per PFF, edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux ranks as the 14th-best individual defensive player in college football in terms of pass-rush productivity.

There’s plenty of expectation that the Oregon defensive end will be the top pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kayvon Thibodeaux is so quick off the ball

— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) October 16, 2021

The issues begin when an offensive line is able to suppress the pass rush. The Oregon defense is outside the top 100 in tackling, Havoc and pass coverage.

Cristobal mentioned the complexities of the UCLA offense, from unbalanced sets and the mobility of the quarterback.

The biggest concern may be Stuff Rate and Line Yards, both areas in which the Oregon defense falls outside of the top 65. If UCLA wants to the lineup and run the ball, the Oregon defense may provide no resistance.

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UCLA Bruins

UCLA Offense

The Bruins have one of the more dynamic sets of players at the skill positions in terms of the run game.

Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet is ranked seventh of all halfbacks in run grading, per PFF. Of all running backs in college football with a minimum of 70 rushing attempts, Brittain Brown is top-15 in yards after contact.

Brittain Brown Touchdown Run and UCLA should run away with this game

— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) October 10, 2021

If the Ducks can stop the one-two punch of Charbonnet and Brown on the ground, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has the sixth-most scramble yards in the FBS.

Stuff Rate — a statistic that measures how often a rushing attempt is stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage — may be the most important statistic in this game, as the Bruins rank third in the nation in that area.

Oregon might have a long night in the rush defense category, as it ranks 72nd in Stuff Rate and 82nd in defending rush explosiveness. Oregon also owns a tackling grade outside the top 100, so there’s no doubt UCLA will bust big runs against the Ducks.

UCLA Defense

As for the defense, defending the run is equally as important. The Ducks run at a 60% clip and will not veer from the game plan despite injuries to running backs and offensive linemen.

Oregon found plenty of success on the ground in a narrow win over Cal, but the Bears’ rush defense is outside the top 90 in Success Rate. Meanwhile, UCLA lines up a top-10 defense in Line Yards and 57th in Rushing Success Rate.

The Bruins are certainly not the 1985 Chicago Bears, but the defense will be able to get stops against the Ducks.

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Oregon vs. UCLA Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Oregon and UCLA match up statistically:

Oregon Offense vs. UCLA Defense
Rush Success 34 57
Line Yards 16 5
Pass Success 77 91
Pass Blocking** 74 95
Big Play 53 36
Havoc 9 68
Finishing Drives 29 34
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UCLA Offense vs. Oregon Defense
Rush Success 13 69
Line Yards 29 66
Pass Success 44 99
Pass Blocking** 62 32
Big Play 76 81
Havoc 14 107
Finishing Drives 79 32
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 104 55
Coverage 111 96
Middle 8 70 45
SP+ Special Teams 4 41
Plays per Minute 31 73
Rush Rate 59.8% (35) 64.7% (12)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Oregon vs. UCLA Betting Pick

The Oregon defense must keep its head on a swivel against a tenacious ground attack from UCLA.

Kelly has implemented an offense that has run 10 different personnels this season. Although the bulk has been in one- and two-back sets, the Bruins have flashed plays with three running backs and two tight ends, all the way to an empty set.

Making matters even more complicated is the 50% splits in pre-snap motion, huddle versus no-huddle, and the distribution of shotgun versus pistol. In 13 third-down plays against LSU, Kelly ran nine different formations.

The handicap in this game is how successful Oregon will be in passing downs, as the UCLA defense is outside the top 100 when an opposing offense gets behind schedule.

On the season, Oregon is 7% better than the national average in Success Rate on passing downs, averaging 6.1 yards per play. The UCLA defense is 93rd in opponent third-down conversion rate, indicating the Ducks will have success getting into scoring position if the offensive line and running backs can create yards after contact.

The Action Network projection has UCLA as a 2-point favorite with a total of 57.

The move on the total in the market is due to an expected efficiency increase with Moorhead back on the sideline, a valid scenario that means Oregon will be able to change directions on offense if the first quarter does not play out as scripted.

In a game where two teams will look to out-physical one another in the trenches and allow the running game to control the clock, UCLA is the more dominant team.

Moorhead will find ways to get the ball downfield on a suspect UCLA secondary, but Thompson-Robinson’s scramble ability is the difference-maker.

The quarterback has thrown just two interceptions on the season and has not fumbled over the past two games. Invest in the quarterback that has seen positive improvement in turnover-worthy plays after previously logging 23 fumbles and 20 interceptions before 2021.

Pick: UCLA -2 or Better

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