Expert NCAA Football Picks: UCLA at Oklahoma Odds and Betting Predictions
UCLA Bruins at Oklahoma Sooners, Saturday Sept. 8, 1 p.m. ET
It's amazing how fast things can change in college football. Heading into the season it seemed like this could be an interesting contest. Chip Kelly would have a game under his belt and would be facing a team that could be vulnerable without their Heisman-winning, all-World QB. But then Oklahoma looked almost perfect in an absolute massacre of Lane Kiffin's Florida Atlantic squad last week, while UCLA not only lost at home to Cincinnati but showed just how much work they have to do to even be respectable. This game seemed like one that had all sorts of storylines. And now it just seems cruel - a group of lambs being forced to travel all the way across the country to attend their own slaughter.
UCLA at Oklahoma Betting Storylines
Florida Atlantic isn't an elite team, but they have talent and still won 10 games last year. They should have been a contest for a team in transition like the Sooners. But Oklahoma made the game a joke, scoring the first 56 points. Kyler Murray is charged with replacing Mayfield, and he looked comfortable in the role. He completed nine of 11 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The numbers don't jump off the page until you realize that he didn't even play a full half before the team took their foot off the gas and got other guys some playing time. He looked like a guy who can play - as we have already known about him - and the UCLA defense isn't one that is going to give him endless problems. Murray is going to have a big day.
UCLA's pass rush was one of the few highlights against Cincinnati and could be a threat again here, but Murray's athleticism will help him in that regard, and Oklahoma's offensive line is a lot better than Cincinnati's as well. Really, Oklahoma's front is so much better than Cincinnati's that it's like they are playing different sports. And the pass rush isn't the biggest concern for UCLA. Their run defense was terrible last year and didn't seem to take a huge step forward against Cincinnati. Oklahoma ran for 316 yards against FAU - with a gaudy average of 8.1 yards per carry - and they are going to be able to feast on UCLA on the ground barring a dramatic change. That will give Murray more room to maneuver and further increase UCLA's woes.
UCLA's quarterback situation isn't as rosy as Oklahoma's. Wilton Speight, the Michigan grad transfer, won the starting job just a day or two before the first game and then was hurt fairly early on against Cincinnati. True freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson took over, and while he avoided major mistakes he did looked like a guy with a lot to learn before he's productive - especially on a stage like this. Speight's status isn't known, and it's not like Kelly would tell us even if it was. But neither QB was looking very good, and that was only against Cincinnati. Oklahoma's defense gave FAU's new quarterbacks all sorts of issues in the opener and should be able to do much the same here.
UCLA at Oklahoma Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Oklahoma favored by 25 points, and that has since climbed to 30 points . A solid majority of bets are still going to the Sooners, so the number could keep climbing. The total opened at 66.5 and has fallen slightly to 64.
The teams have met four previous times. Oklahoma has three wins, though UCLA won last time they met. That was in 2005, though, so it isn't hugely relevant for much beyond bragging rights. The Bruins are 8-20 ATS in their last 28 and 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 nonconference games. They are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. The Sooners are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 home games and 6-2 ATS in their last eight overall.
UCLA at Oklahoma Predictions and Picks
This isn't the type of game that would typically get a lot of attention. It's a mismatch on paper and quite likely in reality. But I wanted to highlight it because of the presence of Chip Kelly and the hype that he brought into the season and his time in Westwood. As much as the public likes Kelly, they have quickly given up on him in the short term from a betting perspective. This is a truly massive line for Power 5 teams playing against each other. But here's the thing - the line should be even bigger than this. UCLA has faults that Oklahoma is very capable of exploiting and not nearly enough strengths at this point to make up for them. UCLA has talent, but they are young and it will take time. Oklahoma will destroy them and are the team to bet on if you are drawn to betting on crazy lines like this.
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