UCLA vs Pitt Odds, Picks: Opt-Outs Will Doom Panthers in Sun Bowl

UCLA vs Pitt Odds, Picks: Opt-Outs Will Doom Panthers in Sun Bowl article feature image

Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images and Michael Owens/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Daniel Carter (4) of the Pitt Panthers and Grayson Murphy (12) of the UCLA Bruins.

UCLA vs Pitt Odds

Friday, Dec. 30
2 p.m. ET
-110o / -110u
Pitt Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

UCLA and Pittsburgh travel to El Paso, Texas, to compete in the Sun Bowl on Friday afternoon. Pitt comes into the game with an 8-4 record, while UCLA enters this game with a 9-3 mark.

Pitt enters this game riding a four-game winning streak after a 42-16 win over Miami in the regular-season finale. The Panthers own a 5-7 against the spread and have gone over in eight games this season.

UCLA, meanwhile, comes into the Sun Bowl following a road win over Cal in its last regular season game. The Bruins are 6-6 against the spread and have gone over in nine games this season.

It will be a windy day in El Paso when this game kicks off. With winds ranging from 15.1-19.5 MPH, there will definitely be an impact felt in special teams and there could be an impact in the passing game.

UCLA Bruins

Chip Kelly's Bruins enter this game following a 9-3 season that left them in sixth place in the Pac-12.

The Bruins averaged 39.6 points per game and 7.0 yards per play to go along with a 54% Success Rate and a Points per Opportunity average of 4.49.

They also played at one of the fastest paces in the country, averaging a play every 22.9 seconds to rank 12th nationally.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson led the passing game for the Bruins, completing 69.8% of his passes for an average of 8.1 yards per attempt. As of writing, Thompson-Robinson appears to be playing in the bowl game with reports indicating that he's participating in team practices.

Had this back-and-forth with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly about Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Zach Charbonnet and others playing in the Sun Bowl. Those 2 both practiced today; Kelly then talks about sizing up Pitt's defense. pic.twitter.com/yrpHHk87dV

— Colin Deaver (@ColinDeaverTV) December 27, 2022

As a team, UCLA owns a 52% Passing Success Rate, which ranks fourth in the country. They average four passes over 20 yards per game.

UCLA also boasts one of the best rushing attacks in the country, ranking fourth in rushing yards per game. Zach Charbonnet and Thompson-Robinson lead the Bruins' rushing attack with a combined 1,990 rushing yards. The offense averages 40.5 rush attempts per game for an average of 6.1 yards per rush.

As a team, UCLA has the country's best Rushing Success Rate at 57%. The offensive line has played a key role, generating 3.76 Line Yards per Attempt and allowing an 11.4% Stuff Rate. It also allowed Havoc on just 12% of plays, which ranked 10th nationally.

Charbonnet is participating in team practices and has not opted out, as of writing. However, both Keegan Jones and TJ Harden have over 200 yards rushing this season and should be able to replace a portion of Charbonnet's production if he didn't end up playing.

The UCLA defense is not quite as efficient as the offense.

The Bruins allow an average of 28.3 points per game and 5.7 yards per play. In terms of advanced metrics, they allow a Success Rate of 47% (119th) and 4.42 Points per Opportunity (114th).

This unit also generates Havoc on 13% of plays (123rd).

However, UCLA has managed to limit explosiveness, giving up just 39 plays over 20 yards over the course of the season, which ranks 10th in the country.

The must-have app for college football bettors

The best NCAAF betting scoreboard

Free picks from proven pros

Live win probabilities for your bets

Pittsburgh Panthers

Pat Narduzzi's Panthers finished third in the ACC Coastal with an 8-4 record, and he's tasked with an uphill battle here, as he has to replace several key opt-outs.

Pitt averaged 30.8 points per game and 5.9 yards per play, along with a Success Rate of 44% and an average of 3.82 Points per Opportunity.

In stark contrast to UCLA, Pitt runs a methodical offense, averaging 28.8 seconds per play to rank 110th nationally. That goes hand-in-hand with its preference to run the ball, as the Panthers own the 35th-highest rush rate in FBS.

This Pitt offense averages 29 pass attempts per game but will enter this matchup without its starting quarterback, as Kedon Slovis entered the transfer portal and will head to BYU.

Early practice reports indicate that Nick Patti is the front-runner to start. Patti attempted just 20 passes this season and completed 45% for an average of 4.0 yards per attempt.

Star running back Israel Abanikanda will also be absent after opting out to prepare for the NFL Draft. The Pitt offense will be forced to replace nearly 20 rush attempts per game from its run-heavy offense.

As a team, Pitt owns a 47% Rushing Success Rate. Rodney Hammond Jr., C’Bo Flemister and Vincent Davis each eclipsed 200 rushing yards for the season and can split the workload to replace Abanikanda's production.

Pitt's offensive line produces 3.26 Line Yards per attempt and allows a 16.2% Stuff Rate. However, it will be missing two key pieces on the line, as both Gabe Houy and Carter Warren have opted out.

The Pitt defense allows an average of 23.4 points per game and 5.0 yards per play. It also allows a 36% Success Rate and 3.52 Points per Opportunity.

The Panthers have generated Havoc on 22% of plays this season, but they'll be without multiple starters on the defensive line and a starting safety.

UCLA vs Pitt Matchup Analysis

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

UCLA Offense vs. Pitt Defense
Rush Success113
Line Yards19
Pass Success420
Pass Blocking**4128
Finishing Drives1835
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pitt Offense vs. UCLA Defense
Rush Success32111
Line Yards46122
Pass Success67120
Pass Blocking**5026
Finishing Drives74114
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling722
PFF Coverage514
SP+ Special Teams8750
Seconds per Play22.9 (12)28.8 (110)
Rush Rate55.7% (53)57.7% (35)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

UCLA vs Pitt Betting Pick

As of this writing, 70% of bets have landed on UCLA as a 4.5-point favorite, but 64% of the money has backed the underdog Panthers. And according to Action Network's PRO Report, both sharp and big-money bets have come in favor of Pitt.

But my preference is to move opposite the sharps here.

Pitt has been more dramatically impacted by opt-outs than its counterpart.

Plus, it has a significantly more inefficient offense. While UCLA's defense is porous, Pitt's offense is unlikely to take advantage with an inexperienced quarterback under center who doesn't have Abanikanda to take the pressure off.

I'm expecting UCLA to receive some late opt-outs. But in either case, the Bruins offense appears more poised to take advantage of Pitt's opt-outs and score enough to make it impossible for the Panthers to keep it close.

What is QuickSlip?

QuickSlip is an Action Network feature that allows users to automatically pre-load their bet slip at FanDuel Sportsbook.

How would you rate this article?

This site contains commercial content. We may be compensated for the links provided on this page. The content on this page is for informational purposes only. Action Network makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy of the information given or the outcome of any game or event.