Not only will the Virginia Cavaliers be looking to pull off the huge road upset over No. 13 UCLA when they square off on Saturday, but they’ll also be taking their first step toward saving head coach Mike London’s job after winning just five games a year ago. The only question for fans concerning this contest is can the Cavaliers cover the college football spread as nearly two-touchdown road dogs? Let’s find out.
How To Bet the Cavaliers @ Bruins NCAA Football Odds & Game Info
When: Saturday, September 5, 3:30 PM ET
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
NCAAF Odds: UCLA -14.5
— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 4, 2015
Why Bet on the UCLA Bruins (10-3 SU, 5-8 ATS, 5-8 O/U)
UCLA (10-3 SU, 5-8 ATS, 5-8 O/U) enters its fourth season under head coach Jim Mora looking to compete for the Pac-12 title in 2015. Mora announced last Wednesday that true freshman Josh Rosen will be the Bruins’ starting quarterback in 2015 after beating out redshirt junior Jerry Neuheisel, former starter Brett Hundley’s backup quarterback last season. “It was obviously a very difficult thing for him to hear, but he handled it very, very well,” Mora said. “He’s extremely disappointed. He’s worked very, very hard. He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do.”
UCLA also returns all five starters along the offensive line and feature one of the nation’s best running backs in junior Paul Perkins. The underrated back led the Pac-12 in rushing yards last season and finished 15th in the nation (1,575 yards). Defensively, UCLA lost linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Owa Odighizuwa and cornerback Anthony Jefferson. Still, the Bruins have a wealth of talent, starting with linebacker Myles Jack.
UCLA also has two up-and-coming pass-rushers in outside linebacker Deon Hollins and defensive end Takkarist McKinley. Hollins had six sacks in UCLA’s last four games in 2014 to finish with nine on the season.
Why Bet on the Virginia Cavaliers (5-7 SU, 7-5 ATS, 4-8 O/U)
Virginia (5-7 SU, 7-5 ATS, 4-8 O/U) needs to win at least six games to make a bowl appearance and likely save London’s job, though six games might be a bit low to pull off the latter. Virginia’s five-win campaign in 2014 looks even worse that it does at first glance when you consider the fact that Virginia won four of their first six games last season before falling completely apart in ACC play over the second half of the season. Make no mistake about it college football betting enthusiasts…Mike London’s job is on the line this season.
The Cavaliers will go with young quarterback Matt Johns to open the 2015 campaign, but he’s inexperienced and will go through some growing pains, especially early on. The 6-foot-5 Johns is mobile but completed an underwhelming 54.9 percent of his passes last season for 1,109 yards with eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Still, there are concerns about Johns’ accuracy and arm strength.
Defensively, Virginia lost a lot up front in the graduations of defensive end Eli Harold, sophomore linebacker Max Valles and stud linebacker Henry Coley and his eight sacks.
My Expert Game Analysis and Pick
While I’m not a big fan of the double-digit point spread in this matchup, I do believe UCLA will be able to narrowly cover it playing at home and against a young, inexperienced quarterback. I know the Cavaliers are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games and 9-4-1 ATS in their last 14 games overall, but UCLA is 4-1 ATS in their last five games and a consistent 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games in the month of September.
The Pick: UCLA -14.5 Points