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College Football Odds & Picks for UCLA vs. Colorado: Over/Under Value in Pac-12 Opener

College Football Odds & Picks for UCLA vs. Colorado: Over/Under Value in Pac-12 Opener article feature image

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  • The Pac-12 is back, and the UCLA Bruins will celebrate with a trip to Boulder to take on the Colorado Buffaloes.
  • Will we see a team similar to those that Chip Kelly has coached in the past, or will the Bruins fall short of expectations?
  • Check out Darin Garnder's full betting preview complete with a pick and updated odds below.

UCLA vs. Colorado Odds

UCLA Odds -6 [BET NOW]
Colorado Odds +6 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -205/+165 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 56.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7 p.m. ET
Odds updated Saturday evening and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today.

Chip Kelly will kick off his third season at the helm of UCLA football as the Bruins head to Boulder to take on Colorado.

Both teams had their fair shares of struggles last season, as UCLA limped to a 4-8 finish while Colorado came in at 5-7. UCLA returns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, while Colorado will be replacing several key contributors, including quarterback Steven Montez and receiver Laviska Shenault. Chip Kelly figures to be coaching for his job this season, while Colorado will have Karl Dorrell coaching his first game with the team. UCLA is easily the more talented team on paper, but can Chip Kelly finally live up to expectations this season?

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UCLA Bruins

For a coach who is known for fielding elite offenses, Kelly’s UCLA offense has definitely disappointed thus far. However, there were some positive signs for the Bruins last season.

If UCLA can just stop giving the ball away so frequently, the offense could be a very solid unit in 2020. Last season, the Bruins ranked 102nd in turnover rate and 115th in Havoc allowed. Quarterback Thompson-Robinson threw 12 interceptions in 11 games played, which is the ninth-most in the country.

However, UCLA actually moved the chains on offense when it wasn’t turning the ball over. It ranked 42nd in Success Rate, 35th in first down rate, and 57th in touchdown rate. UCLA did like to go fast as well and ranked fifth nationally in plays per game. The offense ranks 33rd in Bill Connelly’s returning production metric, so we could see it take another step this season.

While there were positive signs from the UCLA offense, there are really not a lot of positive things you can say about the defense. The unit ranked 103rd in EPA (expected points added), 116th in Success Rate, and 127th in Passing Success Rate. The defense was not able to limit points in its own territory (123rd in Finishing Drives) and couldn’t cause any disruptions through Havoc (113th in Havoc rate).

The best player on the defense last season was easily cornerback Darnay Holmes, who is now playing for the New York Giants. The defense ranks 96th in returning production as a whole, so I wouldn’t be holding out hope that this unit can take the next step in 2020.

Colorado Buffaloes

Colorado has undergone several changes this offseason.

It lost its top two players in quarterback Steven Montez and receiver Laviska Shenault, as well as head coach Mel Tucker. To make matters worse, Tucker did not take the job until February, which put Colorado in a bad situation with finding its new head coach. It decided to hire Karl Dorrell, who spent 2019 as the wide receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins.

The Buffaloes promoted Darrin Chiaverini to the offensive coordinator position. He served as the co-coordinator at Colorado for several years and has stated that he wants to go fast. Last season, the Buffaloes’ offense ranked 44th in Success Rate and 19th in first down rate. The offensive line played very well and ranked 26th in Sack Rate, 23rd in Stuff Rate. The offense as a whole ranked 10th in Havoc allowed.

The projected starting quarterback for the Buffaloes this season is Sam Noyer, a senior who had sat behind Montez throughout his career. To this point, he has only thrown 41 collegiate passes.

UCLA is not the only team in this matchup with a bad defense. Colorado is coming off a 2019 season in which it finished near the bottom in almost every key metric.

In terms of Success Rate, the Buffaloes ranked 120th overall and dropped to 128th in Passing Success Rate. When it comes to EPA, Colorado ranked 96th. Additionally, the Buffaloes ranked 111th in Touchdown Rate, 102nd in Explosive Drive Rate, and 102nd in Finishing Drives. Up front, Colorado ranked 107th in Line Yards, 124th in Stuff Rate, and 85th in Sack Rate. The Buffaloes rank only 70th in returning production on that side of the ball, so there’s not a lot of continuity either.

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Betting Analysis & Pick

This matchup features two defenses that both ranked in the bottom-four in Passing Success Rate Allowed a season ago, and neither defense ranks in the top half of the country in returning production.

Usually, my projections are not quite as far off from the market as this one, but I project the total at 65. UCLA plays at one of the fastest paces in the nation, and Colorado seemingly wants to go fast this season as well. The Buffaloes are breaking in a new quarterback, but can UCLA get stops consistently? I’m not convinced.

On the other side, UCLA is capable of moving the ball up and down the field and is facing a very suspect Colorado defense. I really like the over here.

Pick: Over 55.5 (-110)

[Bet UCLA-Colorado Over 55.5 now at William Hill.]

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