Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 10/10/2014
Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins, Saturday Oct. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
When you look at this Pac-12 inter-divisional showdown, you can't help but see the parallels between the UCLA Bruins and the Oregon Ducks. In fact, it's really eerie how many there are. The most obvious is that both came into the season with serious expectations that a berth in the first College Football Playoff was a possibility, but both sabotaged that goal with really ugly losses last weeks in games they absolutely should have won.
Oregon lost to Arizona for the second straight year. For some reason they just can't handle the manic antics of Arizona's offense. UCLA, meanwhile, became the second major program to fall at home to Utah this year - the Utes already had a win against Michigan at the Big House. In both losses the team's quarterback -- they are both highly-touted draft prospects next spring -- struggled.
With one loss in conference now for both teams, and with both divisions in the conference shaping up to be a tightly-contested mess, neither team can afford another conference loss at this point if they want to salvage everything they can from this season. All is not lost yet, but with a second loss it very well could be. Luckily, the winner will have something of a statement win to make up for last week's debacle.
There is a bigger concern that both teams have in common, and it is likely the reason why neither team is going to have the success this year that they hoped to. Both have offensive lines that are truly terrible. If you were to make a list of the worst offensive lines in the country, it wouldn't have to be very long to include both teams. UCLA QB Brett Hundley was sacked 10 times last week by Utah, and he hardly had a play in which he was completely protected. Oregon's numbers aren't quite as bad - they have given up 12 sacks over the last two weeks - but when you watch them play their line is even more of a turnstile than what the Bruins offer. High school coaches will likely be able to show the film of this game to their teams to teach them what not to do on the offensive line. When both teams have so many issues up front, it certainly makes the game tougher to handicap.
Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins Betting Storylines
If we are going to look at the parallels between the two teams, we can't help but look at the differences between them as well. For starters, the Ducks are much more familiar with playing at the highest levels of the sport and have had much more experience overcoming real adversity as a result. Oregon has not lost two games in a row since 2007. Your fingers would get tired counting the times that UCLA has done so over the same period. Oregon knows that they are a top-level team despite their issues, while UCLA is trying to prove that they belong in the same conversation. As such, the confidence of the Bruins would seem to be easier to shatter after a rough outing. Oregon has also has a big edge in this matchup. They have won 10 of the last 12 meetings between the teams, and they absolutely destroyed the Bruins last year.
Despite the offensive line woes, it's impressive to note that Mariota leads the country in passing efficiency, while Hundley is also in the Top 5. Both players are, if they bounce back well, capable of slicing and dicing up the opposing secondary. Quarterbacks are always a huge consideration when handicapping college football, but that is especially the case here. The quarterback that has the better day is quite likely the one that is going to win.
Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Oregon favored by 3.5. The line has moved through the key number of three and now sits widely at 2.5. Nearly 70 percent of all bets have been on the Ducks, so the line movement suggests that sharp money has hit the Bruins quite significantly. The total sits at 71 points.
Oregon is 0-6 ATS in their last six conference games but 4-1 ATS in their last five games at the Bruins. The Ducks have gone "under" the total in their last five road games, while the Bruins have gone "over" the total in five of their last six homes games.
Oregon Ducks at UCLA Bruins Expert College Football Predictions and Picks
I could go both ways on this game. I like both quarterbacks but have real questions about their ability to shine in the face of the offensive lines. I am not particularly in love with either defense, though the Bruins have done slightly more to impress. Oregon has more overall talent, but their showing last week was more concerning. It's easier than is typically the case to make an argument for both teams. In the end, though, I have to lean towards the Ducks. They have played a better level of competition this year and have much more experience overall. They have dominated this matchup, and they are more aware of what they have to lose. At less than a field goal, the Ducks are the choice.
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