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Washington vs. UCLA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Can Bruins Slow Down Penix on Friday Night?

Washington vs. UCLA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Can Bruins Slow Down Penix on Friday Night? article feature image
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Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Charbonnet, left, celebrates a touchdown with teammates.

  • Washington and UCLA go head-to-head in a college football Week 5 battle between 4-0 Pac-12 teams.
  • The Huskies have Indiana transfer Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback, and he has been excellent to start the season.
  • Will that trend continue? Brad Cunningham breaks it down and provides a best bet.

Washington vs. UCLA Odds

Friday, Sept. 30
10:30 p.m. ET
ESPN
Washington Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
-2.5
-110
65.5
-104o / -118u
-142
UCLA Odds
Spread Total Moneyline
+2.5
-110
65.5
-104o / -118u
+118
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

A battle of undefeated Pac-12 foes takes place under the lights at the Rose Bowl to close out Friday’s college football slate.

Washington pulled off an upset of then-No. 11 Michigan State and followed that up with a 18-point win over Stanford at home.

This is the first year under new head coach Kalen DeBoer after he came over to the Huskies from Fresno State. This will be his first big road test as Washington’s head coach.

Chip Kelly has UCLA at 4-0 after an easy schedule to start the season, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a bit of drama along the way. UCLA needed a game-winning field goal to beat South Alabama at home two weeks ago.

This is the Bruins’ first test of the season, so we will see if this  team is a dark horse to win the Pac-12.


Washington Huskies

Offense Led By Penix

Michael Penix Jr. has been on fire since he transferred to Washington. His season at Indiana in 2021 was cut short by injury, and he never realized his full potential after a breakout 2020 season.

Through four games this year, he has a 90.2 PFF passing grade, is averaging 9.2 yards per attempt and has 10 Big Time Throws compared to just one Turnover Worthy Play.

Michael Penix Jr. with the LASER pic.twitter.com/7sMnW8XxhO

— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 18, 2022

Washington also brought back three of its top four pass catchers from last season, so this is one of the best passing attacks in the Pac-12.

Washington hasn’t been very effective running the ball, though. The Huskies are only 58th in Rushing Success Rate, 60th in EPA/Rush and are only averaging 4.0 yards per carry.

The offensive line has been getting a good push up front, ranking 44th in Offensive Line Yards and 19th in terms of a run blocking grade, per PFF. The Huskies just don’t have much talent in the running back room.

Turnover Regression Coming For Defense

Washington’s defense has some major problems right now that Penix and some timely turnovers have masked.

The Huskies are 78th in EPA/Play Allowed, 121st in Explosiveness Allowed and 70th in Finishing Drives Allowed.

Stanford averaged 6.0 yards a play against them last Saturday, but turned the ball over three times. In fact, Washington has already forced six turnovers in its three games against FBS opponents, so some turnover regression is coming.

One of the main reasons why Washington is struggling defensively is because it only returned five starters and lost two First Team All-Pac 12 cornerbacks from 2021.

Washington has allowed 8.3 yards per attempt (104th in FBS), is 81st in EPA/Pass and is 118th in Passing Explosiveness Allowed. UCLA is a top-10 team in terms of Passing Success Rate.

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UCLA Bruins

Offense Clicking Behind Run Game

Another year in Kelly’s system has done wonders for Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet.

UCLA is averaging 5.7 yards per attempt. It’s also 20th in EPA/Rush, 15th in Rushing Success Rate and eighth in Offensive Line Yards.

Charbonnet finished 2021 with a 91.9 PFF rushing grade, averaged 5.1 yards per carry and had 30 runs over 10+ yards.

This season, it’s been more of the same, as he’s put up a 89.8 PFF rushing grade and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry.

Zach Charbonnet SEE YA 🌬️

3 tuds today on just 7 CARRIES 😳pic.twitter.com/KEghfM5tDP

— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) September 24, 2022

Thompson-Robinson has been pretty good throwing the ball through four games. UCLA is 10th in Passing Success Rate, 16th in EPA/Pass and Thompson-Robinson is averaging 8.2 yards per attempt.

It helps when he has an offensive line that has done a fantastic job at protecting him, ranking 11th in terms of a pass blocking grade, per PFF, and eighth in Havoc Allowed.

Can Defense Slow Down Penix?

UCLA has played an easy schedule to this point in the season, but is only allowing 4.0 yards per play (ninth in FBS), and ranks 13th in EPA/Play Allowed and ninth in Success Rate Allowed.

This is also a defense that brought back just two starters from last year, but Kelly went into the transfer portal and grabbed a bunch of impact transfers to help fill the void, which seems to have worked out in his favor.

The biggest question mark for UCLA as it pertains to this game is can its secondary — that hasn’t played a decent quarterback — slow down Penix?

The Bruins are 28th in EPA/Pass Allowed and have a top-35 coverage grade, per PFF.

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Washington vs. UCLA Matchup Analysis

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

Washington Offense vs. UCLA Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 58 52
Line Yards 44 22
Pass Success 4 48
Pass Blocking** 12 23
Havoc 5 42
Finishing Drives 17 49
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

UCLA Offense vs. Washington Defense
Offense
Defense
Edge
Rush Success 18 31
Line Yards 8 37
Pass Success 10 39
Pass Blocking** 11 12
Havoc 8 33
Finishing Drives 59 70
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling 54 57
PFF Coverage 71 31
SP+ Special Teams 32 74
Seconds per Play 26.1 (55) 23.2 (17)
Rush Rate 48.0% (98) 53.1% (69)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Washington vs. UCLA Betting Pick

Washington has been playing in the comfort of its own stadium for the first four games of the season.

Penix has looked amazing, but going to the Rose Bowl to face a good defense and an electric rushing attack is not what the doctor ordered for DeBoer.

I have UCLA projected as a -0.8 favorite at home, so I think there is a little value on the Bruins at +2.5 or better

Pick: UCLA +2.5

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