UCLA Bruins at California Golden Bears: NCAA Football ATS Pick

Jose VasquezArticles, College Football, Football

Two teams that prefer running the football, Head Coach Chip Kelly and the Ucla Bruins (+8) are set to pay a visit to the California Golden Bears (-8) at California Memorial Stadium. This Pac-12 matchup starts at 7:00 p.m. ET and fans can tune in to the action on Pac-12 Networks. When these two schools faced one another a year ago, UCLA knocked off California by a field goal 30-27.

Betting Preview: California Golden Bears vs. UCLA Bruins

UCLA is projected as the underdog and is currently getting 8 points in this Pac-12 game. The Bruins are also receiving +250 moneyline odds while the Golden Bears are -330. If one squad gets out in front early, it will likely result in a worthwhile betting opportunity in-game.

The underwhelming Bruins are 2-3 against the spread (ATS) and are down 9.3 units so far. The team has posted an Over-Under record of 2-3.

The Golden Bears are down 0.1 units for moneyline bettors this season. They’re 1-3-1 ATS and have an O/U record of 1-3.

The Bruins are 0-5 straight up (SU), including 0-2 SU against conference opponents. The Golden Bears are 3-2 SU overall and 0-2 SU in conference play.

The Bruins are most-recently reeling from a 31-24 defeat to Washington last week. Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 27-of-38 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Joshua Kelley (125 yards on 20 rush attempts, one TD) led the running attack while Theo Howard (nine receptions, 60 yards, one TD) and Caleb Wilson (eight catches, 102 yards, one TD) manned the receiving duties in the defeat.

California just dropped a 24-17 game to Arizona. The defensive unit allowed the Wildcats to rush for 124 yards on 34 attempts. J.J. Taylor had a solid showing in the win for Arizona, recording 73 rushing yards on 15 attempts. For California, Brandon McIlwain completed 32-of-43 passes for 315 yards and three interceptions. McIlwain (107 yards on 20 rush attempts, two TDs) and Patrick Laird (54 yards on 14 carries) mounted the running game as Moe Ways (eight receptions, 97 yards) and Laird (eight catches, 34 yards) led all California pass-catchers in the loss.

UCLA has run the ball on 51.1 percent of its offensive plays this year, including 43.0 percent across possessions in conference play. California has a rush percentage of 54.0 percent, and has carried the ball 50.3 percent of the time against Pac-12 opponents. The Bruins have produced 138.6 rush yards per game (including 150.5 per game versus Pac-12 opponents) and have six touchdowns on the ground this year. The Golden Bears are putting up 188.4 rushing yards per game (201.0 in conference) and have seven total rush TDs.

The Bruins offense has averaged 195.4 yards in the air overall (205.0 per game against conference opposition) and has five passing TDs so far. The Golden Bears have produced 221.6 pass yards per game (251 against Pac-12 competition) and have eight total pass scores.

UCLA has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 185.8 yards and throw for 243.8 yards per game. The California D has allowed 175.6 yards per game to opposing passers and 155.8 yards per game to opposing runners. The Golden Bears are giving up an adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) of only 3.89 to opponents, while the Bruins have allowed a 7.67 ANY/A.

Offensively, Thompson-Robinson has amassed 794 passing yards on the year, and has completed 60 percent of his 113 attempts with four scores through the air and three interceptions. He has a 5.50 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 5.25 over the last two games.

Look for a balanced approach offensively from UCLA in this one. As a group, Joshua Kelley, Caleb Wilson and Demetric Felton have combined to account for 512 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns over the last couple of outings.

Brandon McIlwain has connected on 43-of-60 passes for 417 yards, one TD and three INTs for California. His ANY/A stands at 4.60 for the year and 3.13 over his past two games.

We also expect the California offense to mix things up this Saturday. As a trio, Brandon McIlwain, Patrick Laird and Moe Ways have collectively accounted for 526 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns over the last couple of outings.

UCLA Bruins vs. California Golden Bears Free Pick

SU Winner: California, ATS Winner: California

Betting Trends

  • The Golden Bears have made three pass plays of 30+ yards while the Bruins have accounted for four such plays.
  • The UCLA defense has allowed six pass plays of 40 or more yards, while California has given up three such plays.
  • The UCLA offense has created five rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while California has created three such runs.
  • The Bruins defense has allowed two rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while the Golden Bears have given up five such runs.
  • The UCLA defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks nine times this year. California has recorded seven sacks.
  • UCLA has averaged 4.88372093023256 yards per carry over its past three outings and 5.5 over its last two.
  • California has averaged 5.2 yards per carry over its last three matchups and 5.4 over its past two.
  • UCLA was getting 22 points in its last game and the O/U going into it was 53.5. The over cashed and UCLA covered in the 31-24 loss to Washington.
  • Over its last three matchups, UCLA is 1-2 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
  • California was getting 2 points in its previous match and the Over/Under was 57. The under cashed and California failed to cover in the 24-17 defeat to Arizona.