UCLA vs. Arizona State College Football Odds & Picks: Bet the Bruins’ First-Half Moneyline

UCLA vs. Arizona State College Football Odds & Picks: Bet the Bruins’ First-Half Moneyline article feature image
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Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayden Daniels.

  • The UCLA Bruins will battle the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Pac-12 battle on Saturday night.
  • Arizona State's Jayden Daniels has been a playmaker throughout his career, but UCLA's boasts plenty of weapons that could make a big play at any time.
  • Check out Roberto Arguello's betting analysis and pick for the game below.

UCLA vs. Arizona State Odds

UCLA Odds +3 [BET NOW]
Arizona State Odds -3 [BET NOW]
Moneyline +120 / -152 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 55.5 [BET NOW]
Time 10:30 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds as of Friday afternoon and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

The Arizona State Sun Devils (0-1), the best winless team in the country and the only team to have played a single game, host the UCLA Bruins (2-2) on Saturday in #Pac12AfterDark at 10:30 p.m. ET.

The Sun Devils gave up two touchdowns in the last four minutes of their season opener against USC to lose, 28-27, in a heartbreaker. They wanted to rinse that bad taste out with a victory for nearly a month, but COVID-19 issues affecting them and their opponents have led to three consecutive cancellations.

Consequently, this will be their first and only home game of the season, although it’s possible to host a home game on Dec. 19 against a to-be-determined team from the Pac-12 North.

UCLA beat Arizona, 27-10, last week with dynamic Demetric Felton leading the way. Felton racked up 206 rush yards on 32 carries (6.4 yards per rush) with a touchdown. The former receiver also added four receptions and 24 yards through the air. UCLA is expecting starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson back this week, and this will only open up the playbook further with more opportunities with Felton.

While I really like this Arizona State team, I like the continuity advantage UCLA has with four games under their belt and an underrated defense that has improved each week. If Thompson-Robinson and Felton take care of the football, I like UCLA’s chances of pulling off the mild upset in Tempe.


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UCLA Bruins

If UCLA pulls the upset, it will be because its defense holds a rusty Arizona State offense in check and the UCLA offense limits turnovers.

Head coach Chip Kelly finally has a legitimate defense in Westwood. UCLA’s defense, led by defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, has been the second-best defense against the rush in the Pac 12 (3.5 yards per rush, 31st nationally).

Odighizuwa, a three-time state champion high school wrestler, is the second-highest graded interior Pac-12 defender, per Pro Football Focus. His three sacks lead the Bruins defense, which ranks 27th nationally in yards per pass allowed (6.5, second in the Pac-12) and 28th nationally in sack percentage (8.28%, second in the Pac-12).

The weakness of UCLA’s defense is the secondary, but Odighizuwa and the rest of the defensive line have done a good job of getting into the backfield to hide those weaknesses in the back end. If UCLA wins in Tempe, Odighizuwa will play a key role.

UCLA’s two losses have come by six points against a good Colorado team and by three points against Oregon with a backup quarterback starting in Eugene. In UCLA’s two losses, it has turned the ball over a combined eight times while turning it over just once in the wins. It’s not inconceivable that UCLA could be undefeated if it held onto the football better, even with Thompson-Robinson missing two games.

With Thompson-Robinson back in the fold, I expect the UCLA offense to find success against a good Arizona State defense. The junior quarterback had his highest QBR of 2019 against Arizona State last year in a 42-32 UCLA victory, where the Bruins led 42-10 after three quarters.

Between Thompson-Robinson, the explosive Felton, reliable tight end Greg Dulcich and quick receiver Kyle Philips, the Bruins should have enough weapons on offense to pull out a road victory if they don’t shoot themselves in the foot with turnovers.


Arizona Sun Devils

Arizona State needs to avoid a slow start on offense after a long break away from football. The Sun Devils played just one game before the COVID-induced break, but the passing offense wasn’t quite in sync then, as sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels completed just 11-of-23 passes for 134 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.

No receiver recorded more than four receptions, and the returning leader in receiving yards from 2019, Frank Darby, snagged just one reception for two yards. If the Sun Devils notch their first win against the Bruins, they will need Daniels and Darby on the same page.

While Daniels didn’t have his best day as a passer against USC in the opener, he scampered for a career-high 111 rushing yards on 11 carries. Arizona State’s backfield duo of DeaMonte Trayanum and Rachaad White combined for 160 yards on 24 carries (6.67 yards per rush) as the Arizona State rushing attack consistently moved the ball. This will be a strength-on-strength matchup with UCLA’s Pac-12 leading rush defense that, as aforementioned, allows just 3.5 yards per carry.

Defensively, the Sun Devils impressed for 56 minutes against the Trojans before an improbable comeback. The defense was led in Week 1 by junior defensive lineman Jermayne Lole, who recorded 1.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles for loss and six total tackles. Lole and the defensive front will have the challenge of keeping Thompson-Robinson and Felton in front of them while also helping compensate for a secondary that will be without two contributors.

Senior cornerback Jack Jones, who impressed against USC, has been suspended indefinitely due to a violation of team rules. Junior safety Aashari Crosswell was also suspended for a violation of team rules but has decided to leave the program and prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft on his own. Crosswell did not see much action against USC despite many thinking he would be a starter on this team over the offseason.


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Betting Analysis & Pick

I like UCLA’s chances of slowing down Arizona State’s rushing offense and forcing Daniels to beat it through the air. Arizona State will have enough players to play, but the possibility of absences to key players due to COVID-19 still looms.

I give the Bruin defense the advantage over the Sun Devil offense early in the game as the Sun Devils shake off the rust from their absence. The key for UCLA will be limiting its turnovers and making sure Felton gets enough touches whether it be on the ground or through the air.

While I lean toward the UCLA moneyline at +130, I prefer the UCLA first-half moneyline at +145 (this is a three-way moneyline, so a tie isn’t a push) given that the Bruins should be more in sync than the Sun Devils.

If Arizona State has success running the football and struggles to pass early, I think it will improve through the air as the game progresses, and I like the Sun Devils as live underdogs at +150 or better if they are within a score.

Pick: UCLA 1H moneyline (+145) | Play down to +130.

[Bet the UCLA 1H moneyline now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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