UCLA vs Arizona State Betting Odds & Picks: Target the Total in Tempe
Via Getty Images. Pictured: Quarterback Trenton Bourguet #16 of the Arizona State Sun Devils passes against the Colorado Buffaloes in the first quarter of a game at Folsom Field on October 29, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado.
- Arizona State, coming off a win at Colorado, hosts a UCLA team that dominated Stanford last week.
- The Bruins are deservedly favored, but the Sun Devils have been playing better in recent weeks after changes at head coach and quarterback.
- Roberto Arguello breaks it down and shares his best bet below.
UCLA vs Arizona State Odds
-110o / -110u
|Arizona State Odds|
-110o / -110u
The Bruins are 7-1 as they look for a win in their penultimate road game of the season. The Bruins are 4-1 in conference play and control their destiny to reach the Pac-12 Championship Game and a potential rematch against Oregon.
The Sun Devils seemingly had a lost season after firing coach Herm Edwards after three games and starting the season 1-4, but they have bounced back with wins in two of their last three games to keep their bowl eligibility hopes alive at 3-5.
Junior quarterback Trenton Bourguet was the starter for at least the majority of each of those last two wins, an upset victory at home over Washington and a road win at Colorado.
He relieved Emory Jones due to injury in the Washington game and was named the starter last Saturday in Boulder, as he has rejuvenated the Sun Devils offense with a much more competent passing game.
Will Bourguet’s emergence continue this week at home with an upset win over the Bruins, or will he come back down to Earth against the best defense he has faced?
Chip Kelly has his best Bruins team in his fifth season in Westwood, as dual-threat fifth-year starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has the offense humming.
The UCLA Bruins have an elite running game with DTR and running back Zach Charbonnet leading the way that is consistent (seventh nationally in Rush Play Success Rate) and explosive (40th). This has helped the Bruins get and stay ahead of the chains consistently, as they rank fifth in the nation in Standard Down Success Rate and ninth in Standard Down EPA/Play.
The Bruins offense has also been efficient through the air, as DTR has made strides as a passer. UCLA leads the country in Pass Play Success Rate and ranks 13th in Pass Play EPA/Play. The high Success Rates have helped UCLA minimize obvious passing situations and limit Havoc (11th in Havoc Allowed).
The Bruins only rank 90th in Passing Down Explosiveness, so the Sun Devils defense’s best hope of getting off the field likely involves forcing the Bruins to pass the ball for short gains down the field, limiting leading receiver Jake Bobo and hoping DTR makes a mistake. The ASU defense has at least one interception in every game this season, including Caleb Williams’ only interception at USC.
The Sun Devils defense that ranks outside the top 100 in both Rush Success Rate and Line Yards will struggle to get stops against this elite Bruins ground attack. The passing defense for ASU is better than the rushing defense but is still a liability overall.
Bourguet has been a difference-maker for an Arizona State offense that was really tough to watch while Florida transfer Jones was in command this season.
In games against FBS opponents where Jones played, the Sun Devils averaged just 18 points per game, as they lacked explosiveness and consistency. In Bourguet’s two games, the offense has averaged 43.5 points per game, as the passing offense looks much more wide-open.
Jones threw for five touchdowns and four interceptions on 176 passes while Bourguet has supplanted him and thrown for six touchdowns and two interceptions on just 64 passes.
Interim head coach Shaun Aguano took over the play-calling duties after the bye last week in the win over Colorado, and the offense looks much more exciting overall.
The ASU offense utilized the tight end position for the first time in a while as Jalin Conyers recorded 108 of his 184 receiving yards this season in Boulder, as well as all three of his receiving touchdowns. Leading receiver Elijhah Badger also had a season-high 137 receiving yards in the game.
ASU’s improved passing offense opens up room for running back and Wyoming transfer Xazavian Valladay, the active rushing yards leader in college football, to have more space to operate underneath on both runs and short passes. This bodes well against a UCLA defense that ranks 1120th in Line Yards and 97th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed.
The key for the Arizona State offense will be to avoid obvious passing situations, as the UCLA defense, which ranks 13th in PFF Pass Rush Grade, has a big advantage over an ASU offense that ranks 93rd in PFF Pass Blocking Grade.
The UCLA pass rush is led by Laiatu Latu, who ranks fifth nationally with 7.5 total sacks this season and has an elite 90.4 PFF Defense Grade.
If they can stay ahead of the chains, the Sun Devils should put up points against this UCLA defense that ranks 107th in Havoc Created and has had trouble stopping opponents from scoring touchdowns once they cross the 40-yard line (90th in Finishing Drives).
UCLA vs. Arizona State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how UCLA and Arizona State match up statistically:
UCLA Offense vs. Arizona State Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Arizona State Offense vs. UCLA Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||69||17|
|Seconds per Play||23.5 (17)||28.5 (106)|
|Rush Rate||54.1% (61)||51.6% (74)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
UCLA vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
The ASU offense looks different and much more competent with Bourguet at the helm.
With Aguano also taking over the play-calling duties last week, the offense has the element of surprise on its side, as there isn’t yet much tape on this play caller and quarterback duo.
Our Action Analytics projections have this line set at UCLA -8.6, meaning there is value on the consensus price of Sun Devils +11. The Pac-12 has a plethora of quality offenses this season, but no team has an elite defense, which means that road victories by double digits will be hard to come by this season.
I lean toward the Sun Devils on the spread, as they are also live on the moneyline, and will likely sprinkle them in some underdog moneyline parlays.
What would be more #Pac12AfterDark than having one of the Pac-12’s only outside shots at a CFP appearance go up in smokes against a 3-5 Arizona State team at 2 a.m. ET in Tempe?
However, my best bet for this game lies with Over 66 at PointsBet. Both defenses are poor against the run and rank outside of the top 85 in both Havoc Created and Finishing Drives.
Consequently, both offenses should get and stay ahead of the chains as they move the ball consistently and pick up touchdowns when they get into scoring territory.
The added explosiveness in the passing game for Arizona State with Bourguet’s emergence means that the Sun Devils can help contribute to the over whether playing from a positive or negative game script.
The ASU defense has only held one FBS team under 30 points this season, and that won’t happen again this week. Back the over and relax at the end of your college football Saturday as chaos could potentially ensue in Tempe.