Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#363 UCLA vs.
#364 Stanford
Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 6:00pm EDT
Written by Nick Raffoul

The No. 24-ranked UCLA Bruins will head to Stanford Stadium on Saturday for a PAC-12 Conference clash versus the Stanford Cardinal.

After losing a heartbreaker to Fresno State last weekend, UCLA dropped from No. 13 to No. 24 in the AP Top-25 Polls. At 2-1, the Bruins will try to bounce back this weekend in their first conference game of the season against a Stanford team that is fresh off of back-to-back wins. The Cardinal opened the season with a disappointing 24-7 loss versus Kansas State but rebounded with road wins over No. 14-USC and Vanderbilt to enter this week with a 2-1 overall record.

Can Stanford pull off the upset at home against the nationally-ranked Bruins on Saturday afternoon?

UCLA fall to No. 24 after loss to Fresno State

UCLA snapped a two-game winning streak but didn’t fall out of the Top-25 after a heartbreaking 40-37 loss versus Fresno State last week. Dorian Thompson-Robinson completed 14-of-24 passes for 278 yards and three touchdowns and led the team in rushing with 67 yards. Receiver Kyle Phillips also had a big day for the Bruins, catching seven passes for 113 yards and two touchdowns, including a go-ahead score with under a minute remaining. However, UCLA’s defense couldn’t get stops when it needed it most, and ultimately, the Bruins were outgained 569 to 395 in total offense in the loss. Star running back Zach Charbonnet was bottled up for the first time this season, rushing six times for 19 yards, but scored two rushing touchdowns in the loss.

Even after last week’s performance, Charbonnet is still off to a fast start in his first season at UCLA. Despite getting a limited number of carries, the former Michigan transfer has 242 yards and six touchdowns in three games. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior has rushed for an eye-popping 10.5 yards per carry this season.

Thompson-Robinson is also off to a strong start to his senior season. The UCLA quarterback has passed for 669 yards with seven touchdowns and only one interception. However, he has completed only 55 percent of his passes.

On defense, UCLA has surrendered 25.7 points and 419 yards per game through three contests. However, the Bruins have been stout against the run, limiting opposing offenses to just 63 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 11th in the nation.

McKee leads Stanford to win for second straight week

Stanford avoided a letdown last week with a 41-23 road win at Vanderbilt behind a poised performance from quarterback Tanner McKee. McKee threw for 218 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and added a score on the ground for the Cardinal, who strung together 20 consecutive points to run away with the win. Stanford rushed for 204 yards and 7.6 yards per carry as a team, led by running back Austin Jones, who finished with a team-high 80 yards on the night.

A former four-star prospect, McKee has been a steady hand under center for Stanford this season. The 6-foot-6 sophomore has completed 71.4 percent of his passes for 570 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in his first year under center. After starter Jack West threw two interceptions in the season-opener, McKee seized the chance to earn the starting job by leading the Cardinal to an upset win over No.14-USC in his first career start.

On defense, the Cardinal have allowed 25 points and 383.3 yards per game. However, the front-seven will be tested this week, as Stanford will face one of the nation’s best rushing offenses. The Cardinal have given up a whopping 210.7 rushing yards per game through three contests, 114th in the nation.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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It’s hard not to like the home team in this spot. Stanford has looked like a different team since McKee has taken over under center. In two starts, the sophomore has led the Cardinal to an average of 41.5 points per game against USC and Kansas State. Meanwhile, UCLA is coming off of a lackluster defensive performance against Fresno State. This will also mark the Bruins’ first road game of the season. With McKee off to a red-hot start, Stanford should be able to keep up on offense in this one. Take the Cardinals to cover the spread at home in this conference showdown on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Stanford Cardinal +4.5

Full-Game Total Pick

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Rating:

These two teams are projected for 58.5 points but that number might be set a little too low here. The Cardinal offense has been functioning at a high level with McKee under center and that should continue against a Bruins defense that just surrendered 455 yards through the air against Fresno State. Meanwhile, UCLA comes in averaging a whopping 40.3 points per game this season, which ranks 26th in the FBS. Take this PAC-12 Conference clash to go over the projected total on Saturday afternoon.

Prediction: Over 58.5
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Written By Nick Raffoul , "Nick Raffoul"

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. He has been a very successful sports bettor over the years and has now brought his talents to us here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.