The ESPN Thursday night game this week features the UCLA Bruins (3-3) traveling to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, OR Thursday night (8pm ET) to face the new number one team in the nation, the Oregon Ducks (6-0). Oregon holds the number one ranking for the first time in its history, but the top billing has proved to be a mixed blessing this season with previous number ones Ohio St. and Alabama falling in successive weeks. Both teams come into the game well-rested fresh off of by weeks last week. The Ducks rolled 43-23 over Washington St. in their last game on Oct. 9, while the Bruins were steamrolled 35-7 by Cal on the same day.
UCLA has been up and down this season, winning at then-number 23 Houston on September 18 and at then-number 7 Texas the next week. They also lost to Cal as mentioned, and were blanked by then-number 25 Stanford on September 11th. The Bruins are clearly searching for an identity this year, but they certainly are capable of pulling off big upsets on the road behind their defense, and it will have to be the defense that leads the charge as the Bruins rank last in the Pac-10 with 95.5 passing YPG and 318.5 total YPG. They may need to turn to backup quarterback Richard Brehaut if their staring quarterback, Kevin Prince is not able to go because of a knee injury.
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Oregon is led on offense by quarterback Darron Thomas, who is expected to be fully recovered from a shoulder injury sustained against Washington St. Thomas with 14 Td passes and an average of 6.0 YPC on the ground, and running back LaMichael James with 848 yards rushing (7.6 YPC) and nine touchdowns lead the number one offense in the country. The Ducks have averaged an incredible 54. 3 points and 567 yards per game so far this season.
Oregon won last year’s meeting at UCLA 24-10, their seventh victory in the last nine meetings against the Bruins. UCLA –s 4-10 all-time against number one ranked teams, losing six straight times since their last win over a number one against Ohio St. in 1976. The Bruins are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 conference games and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as an underdog. The Ducks are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 conference games and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games. The over is 4-1 I n Oregon’s last 5 Thursday games and the over is 4-1 in UCLA’s last 5 games on field turf. The road team is 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings between these two teams.
UCLA vs. Oregon Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
UCLA Bruins +27
@ Oregon Ducks -27
Over 60.5 (-110)
Under 60.5 (-110)
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UCLA vs. Oregon Prediction for Week 8 Thursday Evening Game:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – Twenty seven points is too many to give the Bruins here, Oregon may be the number one team in the country, but that has not guaranteed anything this season just ask Alabama and Ohio St. UCLA has proven they can be a very tough opponent on the road this season, expecting them to pull off the upset here may be a bit unrealistic, but stranger things have happened and 27 points is just way too much to give here against a team that has been so unpredictable. Take the points on the road in this Pac-10 matchup.
Over/Under Prediction – Take the over here, Oregon is averaging over 54 points per game on their own, and while UCLA is hardly an offensive juggernaut, the Bruins will score a few points on Thursday night. Look for UCLA to play hard and hold the Ducks below their average, but the total will still come in over 60.5. In the end, Thomas, James and Co. will be too much for UCLA to handle and the Ducks will pull away in the second half.
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