The UCLA Bruins will aim for their second win of the season when they host the Arizona Wildcats in a PAC-12 clash Saturday night from the Rose Bowl. The Wildcats were thumped 42-10 against Utah last week, and the Bruins cruised to a 37-7 road win against California in their previous action. Arizona registered a 47-30 home win against UCLA last season.
Arizona Shelled by Utah, Tate Leaves with Injury
The Arizona Wildcats’ offensive struggles continued in a rough 42-10 road loss to Utah last week to fall to 2-2 in conference play. Khalil Tate left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and he did not return. The talented junior QB will not suit up this week. Sophomore QB Rhett Rodriguez will play in his place. Rodriguez has completed 26 of 45 passes for 275 yards and one TD in limited action this season. Wildcats’ leading rusher J.J. Taylor tallied 64 rushing yards on 14 carries last week. The sophomore RB is having a solid year, rushing for 663 yards on an average of 5.6 yards per carry. Arizona’s top receiver Shawn Poindexter has cooled off recently, collecting a combined 77 receiving yards in his last three games, and he has 446 yards on the season. The Wildcats offense struggled in week five and six against USC and California, and last week’s injury to QB Khalil Tate resulted in only 10 points.
The Arizona defense was playing well prior to last week’s loss to Utah. They conceded 495 total yards against the Utes after holding California to 17 points in week six. Their rush defense is an area of concern, while their pass defense has also struggled. The Wildcats are 1-1 on the road in PAC-12 play which included a 35-14 win against Oregon State. Arizona is currently averaging 27.4 points, ranking them 80th overall. They are allowing an average of 28.7 points, pegging them 84th overall.
Bruins Finally Record First Win of Season
The UCLA Bruins finally found the win column for their first victory of the season in a 37-7 road win against California last week after opening the season with five straight losses. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was sharp, connecting on 13 of 15 passes for 141 yards. The freshman QB has played well in two straight games after a slow start, and he has 1073 passing yards with a 5:3 TD to INT ratio on the season. Senior QB Wilton Speight is healthy, however, head coach Chip Kelly has opted to stay with Thompson-Robinson. Bruins’ top rusher Joshua Kelly was tremendous last week, accumulating 157 rushing yards and three TD’s. The junior RB has rushed for over 100 yards in three consecutive games, and he has notched 433 rushing yards on the year. Caleb Wilson collected 92 receiving yards last week, and he leads UCLA with 335 yards on the season. The Bruins offense has been a work in progress this season under freshman QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, and they rank near the bottom of the country in several categories, although they are showing progress.
Keisean Lucier-South had a pick earlier, now he's got a SCOOP AND SCORE. What a play.
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) October 14, 2018
The UCLA defense posted their best performance of the season last week, limiting California to only 310 total yards. Overall the defense has struggled in several areas, and they are allowing an average of 410 total yards per game. The Bruins are only averaging 21.5 points on the season, placing them down at 119th in the FBS. They are conceding an average of 31.5 points, positioning them 96th overall.
The UCLA Bruins are:
- 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 170 passing yards in their previous game.
- the home team is 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings between UCLA and Arizona.
The Arizona Wildcats are:
- 5-16 ATS in their last 21 road games.
- 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game.
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am siding with UCLA in this matchup. UCLA is riding a wave of confidence in this one after recording their first win of the season last week. Bruins’ QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson is displaying improvement. He completed 71% of his passes two weeks ago against a strong Washington offense, and he connected on 86% of his passes against California last week.
Furthermore, Arizona’s #1 QB Khalil Tate is not playing in this one due to an ankle injury, and sophomore QB Rhett Rodriguez who has very little experience will play in his absence. In addition, the Arizona defense is struggling to defend the pass, and their rush defense ranks down at 106th in the country, plus the Bruins top two running backs are averaging 5.9 and 6.5 yards per carry on the season.
Prediction: UCLA Bruins
Full-Game Total Pick
The over is a solid option in this one. UCLA exploded for a season-high 37 points against a decent California defense last week, and Arizona is struggling defensively, conceding an average of 438 total yards per game, plus the over is 4-1 in the Wildcats’ last five games against a team with a losing record.
Furthermore, overall UCLA has not played strong defense, squandering at least 31 points in four out of their last five games, plus the over is 5-0 in Arizona’s last five games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
Full-Game Prop Bet
The under on the Wildcats team total is a solid play. Arizona is only averaging 27.4 points on the season, and that was with their talented QB Khalil Tate in the lineup. Rhett Rodriguez has only completed 59% of his passes in his limited action this season, and UCLA just limited California to only 168 passing yards last week.
Prediction: Arizona Team Total: Under 23.5
Half-Time Side Pick
I am taking UCLA on the halftime line as well. As mentioned Arizona QB Khalil Tate is not playing which is a big blow to the Wildcats offense. In addition, Arizona is struggling to post points in the first half, ranking 129th in the country with an average of only 5.7 points.
Prediction: UCLA Bruins -6
Half-Time Total Bet
I am taking the under on the halftime total. Both teams are averaging more points in the second half this season. Arizona is averaging over 10 more points in the second half, and UCLA is averaging an additional 2.5 points in the second half this year. I expect a rough start offensively for Arizona in Khalil Tate’s absence.
Prediction: Under 28.5
Half-Time Prop Prediction
I am taking UCLA on the first quarter line. Arizona is going to struggle early with the inexperienced Rhett Rodriguez at QB. In addition, the Wildcats rank down at 116th in the FBS with an average of 2.8 points in the first quarter, plus they are playing in a tough road environment.
Prediction: UCLA First Quarter Line