Bowl action continues on Thursday evening (9:45pm ET) with the Bridgeport Education Holiday Bowl from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA featuring the Baylor Bears (7-5) of the Big 12 Conference and the UCLA Bruins (9-4) out of the Pac 12 Conference. Baylor is 804 AST this season, but the Bears are red-hot against the line recently having covered in 5 straight games to close the year including wins over Kansas St. (52-24), Texas Tech (52-45) and Oklahoma St. (41-34). UCLA is 8-5 ATS during the regular season, the Bruins closed the year with back-to-back losses to Stanford in the regular season finale (35-17 at home) and in the Pac-12 Championship Game (27-24 in Palo Alto).
The Baylor offense ranks among the most explosive offenses in the nation, with an average of 44.1 points per contest (5th among FBS teams), 578.8 yards per game (1st among FBS teams) and 353.2 passing yards per game (3rd among FBS teams). Quarterback Nick Florence (4,121 yard passing, 31 TDs, 13 INTs) is one of the most productive players in college football, as is receiver Terrance Williams (1,764 yards receiving, 12 TDs). The Bears’ defense is one of the worst in the nation, ranking 117th among FBS teams in scoring defense with 38.2 PPG allowed and 123rd in total defense with an astounding 513.9 YPG allowed.
UCLA has averaged 35.1 PPG this season, ranking them 30th among all FBS teams in scoring offense, and 474.6 YPG to rank 20th in the nation in total offense. Freshman quarterback Brett Hundley (3,411 yards passing, 26 TDs, 11 INTs) has been effective through the air and with his legs, adding 365 yard rushing and 9 TDs on the ground to his impressive passing numbers. The Bruins defense ranks 55th among FBS teams in points allowed with 25.9 per game and 75th in total defense with 410 YPG allowed.
Baylor vs. UCLA Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Baylor Bears- pick
@ UCLA Bruins – pick
Over 80.5 (-110)
Under 80.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Baylor vs. UCLA Pick:
Baylor has a 4-0 record ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS win, a 4-0 record ATS in their last 4 games against winning teams and a 5-0 record ATS in their last 5 games overall. UCLA is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games against winning teams, a 502 record ATS in their last 7 December games and a 1-4 record ATS in their last 5 Thursday games. The over is 5-0 in Baylor’s last 5 non-conference games, 21-5-1 in their last 27 games overall and 19-6-1 in their last 26 games against teams with a winning record. The over is 6-0 in the Bruin’s last 6 games overall, 5-0 in their last 5 games on grass and 6-1 in their last 7 games against teams from the Big 12.
Both teams have the capacity to put points on the board quickly and have productive signal callers that can find the holes in the opposing defense and exploit them. There are certainly holes in both teams defensively to exploit, as UCLA ranks 94 among FBS teams when it comes to defending the pass with 25.4 YPG allowed, and Baylor ranks 122nd with 323.1 YPG allowed. There figures to be very little running in this game and plenty of points put on the board at Qualcomm Stadium. The Holiday Bowl is known for featuring some wild games, and this is one that you do not want to miss. Baylor won last year’s Alamo Bowl by a score of 67-56 over Washington, have averaged 48 points in their last 3 games and the have a strong trend over the total the past 3 seasons of going over with the aforementioned 21-5-1 record on the over. Take the over in this game as well.
PICK = Over 80.5