UCLA vs. Arizona Odds, Pick, Prediction: College Football’s Pac-12 After Dark Betting Preview (October 9)
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Charbonnet.
- The UCLA Bruins face the Arizona Wildcats in Pac-12 After Dark on Saturday.
- The Bruins enter as big favorites, and Roberto Arguello sees value there.
- Check out Arguello’s full preview and betting analysis for UCLA vs. Arizona below.
UCLA vs. Arizona Odds
|Over/Under||60.5 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
The UCLA Bruins head down to Tucson to face the Arizona Wildcats in another Saturday night edition of #Pac12AfterDark. Both teams are looking to build some momentum after recent struggles.
The Bruins started the season with impressive wins over Hawaii and LSU, but they have lost two of their last three games after losing at home to Fresno State and Arizona State.
The Bruins no longer control their destiny to win the Pac-12 South, so beating Arizona will be imperative in order to keep their conference title hopes alive.
The Wildcats have already punted on their Pac-12 title hopes and they are just trying to win a single game this season after getting swept in their three non-conference games (including an ugly home loss to Northern Arizona).
Arizona had its most impressive showing in its last game against Oregon at Autzen two weeks ago when they trailed by only five points (24-19) heading into the fourth quarter.
Can the Wildcats take another step forward and play another competitive game against the Bruins on Saturday night?
Let’s break down this late-night matchup below.
UCLA vs. Arizona Betting Preview
The UCLA offense is looking to bounce back after being held scoreless during the second half of last week’s home loss to Arizona State.
After punting on their first possession of the second half, the Bruins missed a field goal, turned the ball over on downs, turned the ball over on downs again and then turned the ball over on downs for a third straight possession to end the game.
The Bruins were relatively efficient running the ball against a stout Arizona State front seven — they averaged 4.3 yards per carry — but they couldn’t get key yards when they needed them on the ground.
The Sun Devils made senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson a runner as much as possible as he finished with 15 carries on the game while being sacked four additional times.
The Bruins, who rank a respectable 44th in Line Yards, need to get running backs Zach Charbonnet and Brittain Brown going early against a Wildcats rush defense that ranks 90th nationally in defensive Line Yards.
This will help keep the pressure off of DTR (who doesn’t need to take any more hits) and allow him to have a better chance against the Arizona pass defense that ranks third in Pass Success Rate allowed (although they do rank 111th in PFF Coverage grade).
Look for the Bruins to have success on play-action to their star pass catchers in tight end Greg Dulcich and receiver Kyle Philips, who are both dangerous after the catch.
UCLA’s defense was burned several times on cover zero blitzes against Arizona State, which created explosive scores that they ultimately couldn’t match.
The UCLA defense surprisingly finds itself ranked 95th in Pass Rush, 106th in defensive Line Yards and 129th in Pass Success Rate. The Bruins will face an improved Arizona passing attack than the numbers would suggest with Jordan McCloud starting (more on that below).
The UCLA defense needs its secondary to step up as they rank 102nd in PFF Coverage grade and the defense overall ranks 93rd in PFF Tackling grade. This is a major concern for a defense that likes to blitz aggressively and force offenses to make plays against their defenders in man coverage.
The Arizona offense will struggle to run the ball against the UCLA defense, so they will need McCloud to step up and make plays as both a runner and a passer.
McCloud, a transfer from the University of South Florida, is playing just his third game of the season after Will Plummer and Gunner Cruz split time in the first few weeks as the Arizona signal-caller.
He established in his second start against Oregon that he is capable as a runner as he rushed nine times for 64 yards. He somehow finished with an 80.6 QBR despite throwing five interceptions.
If Arizona has a strength on offense, it’s that it ranks a mediocre 69th nationally in Pass Blocking. Outside of that, the Wildcats rank 91st in Line Yards, 102nd in Rush Success Rate, 126th in Pass Success Rate and 124th in Havoc allowed.
The Bruins’ aggressive defense ranks 61st in Havoc, so taking care of the football will be imperative for Arizona to cover or pull the unlikely upset.
If Arizona covers, it will be because its defense steps up and stops the UCLA rushing attack. Nose tackle Kyon Barrs leads the team with 2.5 sacks and his play will be pivotal for the Arizona defense.
Arizona’s defense ranks 111th in PFF Coverage, so if they are forced to cover the Bruins’ playmakers one-on-one in play-action, they will be in for a long night.
The Wildcats’ defense stepped up against Oregon two weeks ago as they limited the Ducks to complete just 10-of-24 passes, although they gave up too many explosive plays.
Arizona ranks 48th in Havoc created and they need to win the turnover battle to keep this competitive.
UCLA vs. Arizona Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UCLA and Arizona match up statistically:
UCLA Offense vs. Arizona Defense
Arizona Offense vs. UCLA Defense
Pace of Play / Other
UCLA vs. Arizona Betting Pick
I don’t normally like betting on heavy favorites, but I like the Bruins to cover as 16-point favorites against an overmatched Arizona team.
The Bruins will come out with a chip on their shoulders after a disappointing home loss last week and they should run all over the Wildcats defense.
While Arizona has had an extra week to prepare for this game, I don’t see McCloud leading their offense, which has a huge talent disadvantage against an angry UCLA defensive front.
This will force McCloud, who just threw five interceptions in his last outing, to make plays on third downs — a tall task considering the lack of playmakers on this Arizona offense that ranks 124th in Big Plays created and 124th in Havoc allowed.
The Wildcats rank 17th in plays per minute as they like to play extremely fast. However, this will lead to further value on the Bruins to cover this two-touchdown spread.
I recommend betting a half unit on UCLA -16 with value down to -19.