Well, this looks like a massive blowout, right?
After all, UCLA enters off a 35-7 loss to an average Cal team in which the Bruins’ 144 total yards were the fewest since they gained 114 against USC in 2001. Oregon, meanwhile, plays its first game ever as the nation’s top-ranked team and usually has 144 total yards by the end of the first quarter.
Plus, injuries and suspensions are totally decimating the Bruins. Here are five starters expected to be out: quarterback Kevin Prince hadn’t yet practiced as of this writing because of an injured knee; wide receiver/kick returner Josh Smith and F-back Morrell Presley both were suspended for violating team rules last week; wide receiver Nelson Rosario has a high ankle sprain; and cornerback Sheldon Price has a sprained knee.
The Ducks are healthy for the most part. QB Darron Thomas left Oregon’s last game at Washington State in the first half with a sprained joint in his right (throwing) shoulder. But he has been practicing all week and said his shoulder was “100 percent” fit.
UCLA leads the all-time series 39-24 and is 12-4 vs. the Ducks at Autzen Stadium. But Oregon won seven of the last nine meetings, including two straight at home.
UCLA vs. Oregon Predictions: Team Breakdowns
If Prince can’t go it might not be a bad thing – the Bruins are in the bottom five in the nation in passing yards per game. Richard Brehaut would start. He got the start in a game with Washington State a few weeks ago with Prince out and finished with 128 yards on 12-for-23 passing. But UCLA also trailed the terrible Cougars 28-26 at one point before winning 42-28.
Frankly, UCLA’s only chance is to run the clock by running the ball. But UCLA's rushing offense entered ranked 10th in the nation with 262.4 yards per game heading to Berkeley, and managed just 26 yards against the Bears. When UCLA pulled a stunner at Texas earlier this year, it rushed for 264 yards (and passed for all of 27).
Oregon is, frankly, incomparable to any other team right now. The Ducks lead the nation in scoring offense (54.3) and total offense (567.0) and rank third in rushing offense (third, 314.8). RB LaMichael James is first in rushing yards per game (169.6) and second in all-purpose yards (188.4). Thomas has thrown for 1,231 yards, completing 59 percent of his passes with 14 touchdown and five interceptions. He’s also rushed for 242 yards (6.0-yard average) and two scores.
Ah, but if you are looking for two reasons to maybe hope for an upset, here you go: The nation’s top-ranked team has lost the past two weeks (Alabama and Ohio State – although both were on the road at ranked foes). And while the Bruins have 4-10 record against top-ranked teams and have lost the last six, their four wins have come with extra time to prepare – they had 11 days to get ready for this one. But so did the Ducks.
UCLA at Oregon Betting Odds
Oregon is a 24-point favorite at most books (though you can find it at 23.5 if you shop around), with the total at 61.5. The line opened at 21.5 most everywhere and the total opened at 60.5. Currently about 61 percent of the action is on the Ducks. Oregon is 4-2 ATS and 3-0 ATS at home, while UCLA is 2-4 ATS and 1-2 on the road.
UCLA at Oregon Betting Trends
UCLA is 6-2 in its past eight road games as a dog of at least 10.5
Oregon is 0-5 ATS in its past five Thursday games
The ‘over’ has covered in 12 of Oregon’s past 16 home games
The ‘under’ is 3-0-1 ATS in the past four in this series.
UCLA at Oregon College Football Picks
The past three games between the teams at Autzen Stadium have been decided by 10 points or less. I just don’t see how a Bruins defense that allowed 35 points to Cal can slow an Oregon team whose 326 points to date are the most in a six-game stretch in team history and more than any Oregon team totaled between 1952 and 1988. Certainly take Oregon and give the points. But think this one tops out at about 56 points so also go with the ‘under’.
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