UCLA vs. Cincinnati Betting Odds & Pick: Has Market Overreacted to Bearcats’ Success?

UCLA vs. Cincinnati Betting Odds & Pick: Has Market Overreacted to Bearcats’ Success? article feature image

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dorian Thompson-Robinson

  • Cincinnati is a 3-point favorite at home over UCLA in Thursday's season opener, which is a huge change from last year's odds when the Bruins were a two-touchdown favorite against the Bearcats.
  • Kyle Miller is finding some value in the point spread after Cincinnati shocked UCLA last season.
  • Cincinnati will be without star safety James Wiggins, one of the most impactful players on its defense.

UCLA Bruins at Cincinnati Bearcats Betting Odds

  • Spread: Cincinnati -3
  • Over/under: 57.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET on Thursday
  • TV: ESPN

All odds as of 9 a.m. ET on Thursday.

Chip Kelly’s first game as UCLA’s head coach didn’t go as planned. His Bruins hosted Cincinnati and took a 9-point loss as a 14.5-point favorite to open last season.

And in just one calendar year, the perception from oddsmakers and the betting market on these two teams has changed drastically, as Cincy opened as a 4-point home favorite against the Bruins before being bet down.

I believe that’s quite the overreaction based on the talent involved for each team.

What a throw, what a catch! Dorian Thompson-Robinson to Theo Howard to set up the TD.

Watch @UCLAFootball on FOX. #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/w3FaPmTJIZ

— UCLA Athletics (@UCLAAthletics) September 8, 2018

The best unit on the field on Thursday night will likely be Cincinnati’s defense, but I’m looking for UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson to take a huge step forward in Year 2 under Chip Kelly.

UCLA’s leading rusher from 2018, Joshua Kelley, should also have some room to run against a defensive line that loses its top three players.

Kelley had just 20 yards in last year’s matchup against Cincinnati, but he exploded in Week 3 and looks like a completely different back. Kelley, along with four returning offensive linemen, should improve an already strong run game.

Have a game, Joshua Kelley! 55 yard TD to give the Bruins the lead.

UCLA 28, USC 27. 10:39 to go.

📸: FOX #BeatSC | #GoBruins pic.twitter.com/RGTMnYfjIl

— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) November 17, 2018

On defense, the Bruins will have to improve dramatically in 2019 if they’re to reach their goals. They were a complete mess last year, but they did manage to limit explosive plays. They also bring back the 16th-most returning production in the country on defense, so at least they’ll be seasoned.

Despite second team All-AAC running back Michael Warren rushing for 1,329 yards, the Bearcats ranked just 70th in offensive SP+ last year, so they don’t pose as big a threat to this experienced UCLA defense as it might seem.

The PICK: I make this game UCLA -3.5, so clearly I see value in the current number. I scooped up a +3.5 earlier in the summer but the line hasn’t done much since. Because these lines have been out for a while, the market is telling me I’m too high on UCLA.

I still like the Bruins in 2019, though, and I think they win this one outright. I’d much rather have the game at +3, so grab it now if you can, but I’m still willing to play this game at UCLA +2.5. Don’t just concede the field goal though.

Wait until the last minute if you still haven’t gotten +3.

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