UCLA visits Washington at 5:30 p.m. PDT Saturday in a game between teams trying to climb back into the Pac-12 division races.
Las Vegas oddsmakers have installed Washington as a 1 1/2-point favorite with an over/under of 55 1/2 points.
VSiN’s Matt Youmans breaks down the matchup and Dave Tuley, who nailed the UCLA-Arizona under-61 and Arizona under-20 team point total in last week’s Los Angeles Times, gives his best bet.
UCLA at Washington Huskies (-1 1/2, 55 1/2)
Youmans: The buzz about the Bruins has quieted after home losses to Fresno State and Arizona State, and the truth is coach Chip Kelly’s team has done nothing special. UCLA has four wins over opponents (Hawaii, Louisiana State, Stanford and Arizona) that are currently unranked, and LSU’s demise has diminished the significance of even that accomplishment.
The Bruins do run the ball exceptionally well, which is what Kelly’s offensive philosophy is all about. UCLA rolled up 329 rushing yards last Saturday in a 34-16 win over Pac-12 doormat Arizona. Brittain Brown ran for 146 yards in 12 carries, and Zach Charbonnet had 117 yards in 21 carries. The running attack helps to reduce the volatility in the play of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has big-time playmaking ability but also makes costly mistakes.
UCLA will sink or swim the next three weeks, first at Washington and then against Oregon and Utah. The Huskies (2-3) were overhyped by most prognosticators, and their season-opening loss to Montana was more of a sign of what was to come than some kind of fluke. Washington has two unimpressive wins over Arkansas State and California and a lot of negative numbers on both sides of the ball.
Dylan Morris is getting exposed as a mediocre quarterback (58.9% completions, seven touchdowns, six interceptions), though he could look better against a bad Bruins defense.
Jimmy Lake is certainly an inferior coach to Kelly. After a bye, Washington is a 1 1/2-point favorite, but UCLA is the slightly superior team mostly because of its running attack.
Tuley: As Youmans says, UCLA is the better team and I’m buying that Washington shouldn’t be getting any points for home-field advantage. After all, the Huskies lost at home to Montana, an FCS program, and didn’t cover in its last home game vs. California while UCLA is 2-0 SU & ATS away from home in spread-covering wins at Stanford and Arizona.
Thompson-Robinson and the Bruins’ offense should have plenty of success against the Huskies’ defense. Maybe they won’t reach their average of 35.2 points per game (aided by facing Hawaii and Arizona), but should still get to around 27 or 28 points. And while the Bruins’ defense is allowing 26.5 points per game, Washington doesn’t have the offense to take advantage.
Pick: UCLA +1 1/2 or just take UCLA on money line at +105.
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