Saturday afternoon’s (3:30pm ET) schedule features no shortage of high-profile top-25 match-ups, and the PAC-12 meeting between the 12th ranked Oregon Ducks (4-1) and the 18th ranked UCLA Bruins (4-1) at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA is one of the best. Both teams suffered their first losses of the season last week, with Oregon falling 31-24 at home to Arizona on Thursday night in a game correctly predicted in this blog, and UCLA falling at home to Utah on Saturday night. Oregon has notable victories over Michigan St. (46-27) in week 2 and Washington St. (38-31) in week 4, while UCLA has blown out Arizona St. 62-27 on the road two weeks ago to open their conference schedule.
The Ducks rank 9th among FBS teams in scoring offense with 43.6 points per game and 13th in total offense with 533.4 YPG. The Ducks have averaged 324.4 YPG through the air with QB Marcus Mariota under center to rank 16th among FBS teams. Oregon has had problems protecting Mariota due to injuries up and down their offensive line; allowing 7 sacks against Washington St. and 5 against Arizona last week. Oregon ranks 53rd nationally in scoring defense with 23.2 PPG allowed and 102nd in total defense with 453.8 YPG allowed.
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UCLA ranks 33rd nationally in scoring offense with 36 PPG and 36th in total offense with 465.4 YPG. Quarterback Brett Hundley was pressure relentlessly in last week’s loss to Utah, and the Utes registered an alarming 10 sacks. The passing game did not get on track last week, and has been inconsistent all season. UCLA ranks 71st nationally in scoring defense with 25.8 PGP allowed and 85th in total defense with 429 YPG allowed.
Oregon vs. UCLA Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Oregon Ducks -2.5
@UCLA Bruins +2.5
Over 71 (-110)
Under 71 (-110)
Betting odds taken from BetOnline.ag
Oregon vs. UCLA Pick:
Oregon is 5-0 straight up and 3-2 ATS in their last 5 games against UCLA, and has won each of the last 4 games by AT LEAST two touchdowns. Oregon is 1-9 ATS in their last 9 regular season games. UCLA is 1-4 ATS this season, as is Oregon, despite their 3-0 start to the season the Bruins did not cover any of those games against their weaker opponents.
Both teams will have a sense of urgency in this game as a loss here makes reaching the PAC-12 Championship Game very difficult. The weak spot for both defenses has been pass defense, as Oregon has allowed 309.6 YPG passing to rank 119th among FBS teams and UCLA has allowed 271 YPG through the air to rank 103rd nationally. Both teams have also had issues protecting the quarterback, with Oregon’s issues appearing to be more glaring and less solvable than UCLA’s. UCLA has also had trouble stopping the Duck’s up-tempo offense, which is the main reason they have had so little recent success against Oregon.
The only way that UCLA can slow down Oregon and take control of the tempo of this game is to run Paul Perkins and keep the clock running. The problem is their offensive line is not in great shape and QB Brett Hundley is banged up with an elbow injury which makes using him as a runner an iffy proposition. Oregon’s history of dominance in the series and their ability to control the tempo of the game give them the edge here despite their problems along the offensive line. Take the Ducks to cover here.