Utah-UCLA Betting Preview: Has Market Caught Up to Improving Bruins?

Utah-UCLA Betting Preview: Has Market Caught Up to Improving Bruins? article feature image

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Joshua Kelly

Utah at UCLA Betting Odds, Pick

  • Odds: Utah -10.5
  • Over/Under: 55
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN

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A much-improved UCLA team hosts Utah on Friday night, as both teams look to pull into first (for now) in the Pac-12 South.

After starting 0-5, the Bruins have beaten Cal and Arizona in consecutive weeks to move to 2-2 in conference.

Where Can Utah Be Exploited?

By Stuckey

Utah really just does everything so solid, it’s hard to find glaring weaknesses. But if I were to name three:

  • The Utes lack explosiveness on offense
  • They struggle in the red zone
  • Their pass protection is lacking

Utah makes up for its lack of explosiveness with efficiency. I would chalk up the red zone numbers to randomness/flukes and UCLA just doesn’t have the pass rush to take advantage of the one deficiency that I do think is real in pass protection.

That said, UCLA is starting to play better and remains undervalued in the market after a slow start with a lot of new pieces, a new coach and one of the hardest schedules in the country to date.

I don’t think the Bruins can do enough to win, but I do think there is value at 10 and above on the home pup — especially considering UCLA’s special teams have been extremely productive, so Utah won’t have its normal edge in that department.

UCLA Quarterback Situation Unclear

By Collin Wilson

The quarterback situation at UCLA is a bit unclear with Dorian Thompson-Robinson leaving the Arizona game with injury and Wilton Speight going on to lead the Bruins to a one-point victory. Thompson-Robinson will play, Chip Kelly said on Tuesday, but Speight got all the practice with the first team this week. Kelly could be forcing Utah to pull double duty in practice, as each Bruins quarterback brings a different skill set.

While Utah is first in the nation in rushing defense, the Utes are barely inside the top 100 turnover margin. There is also a large difference in each team’s red-zone offense. UCLA ranks first in red-zone scoring percentage and second in red-zone points per attempt. That grossly outscales Utah at 110th and 112th in those categories, respectively.

I will look to back UCLA at double digits, but wait as long as possible for any Utah steam to produce a flat 11.

Collin’s Pick: UCLA +10 or better

Trends to Know

By John Ewing

Under Kyle Whittingham, Utah is 46-4 SU and 30-19-1 (61%) ATS when favored by 10 or more points. But since joining the Pac-12, when favored by double-digits against a conference foe, Utah is only 2-7 ATS.

Did you know: No. 23 Utah is ranked for the first time this season. The Utes have now started the season unranked but cracked the Top 25 in each of the past five seasons.