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UCLA vs. Stanford Football Pick with Betting Line Analysis

10/1/11

The Stanford Cardinal, ranked 5th in the land hosts the UCLA Bruins on Saturday Night as whopping 21 point favorites in a game in which both teams come in at 1-0 in conference play. UCLA will also be looking for triple revenge in a series that has shifted in Stanford's favor the last 3 years.

Historically, there are plenty of reasons to take a look at the UCLA side here getting a boat load of points. The boat load of points would be the first reason. It wouldn't have helped them last year, but would have helped them in 2008 and 2009. In years prior, they wouldn't have needed them as they won straight up. Rick Neuheisel is another reason to look at UCLA. The guy has been a winning coach and was supposed to turn this program around. He's in his 4th year, a year where dividends are expected to start to pay off.

But then you look at a loss to Houston, squeaking by San Jose, getting blown out by Texas and just getting by Oregon State and you start to have second thoughts. Then you take into consideration that Stanford has beaten all 3 of this years opponents by more than 21 points and won 9 of their 12 wins by 21 points or more last year, and you have even more second thoughts.

Huge edge offensively for Stanford with Andrew Luck at QB while the Bruins are still looking for answers at the position. There's no way UCLA goes toe to toe in a shootout here but that's not their style to begin with. They like to pound the ball, as they did last week running the ball 49 times for 211 yards at Oregon State.

So with UCLA, you have a little positive history, a good coach, a strong running game that, combined with the fact that Stanford hasn't been explosive in first halves this year, could make for a close game heading into the 3rd quarter, in which case, the margin could be kept low. Especially if you factor in that Stanford really hasn't stepped up in class yet this year.

The flip side to all that is that if UCLA finds itself behind by a couple of TD's, the running game isn't going to help them much, and that's if they can run the ball against the nations #2 ranked run defense. In that very real possible scenario, UCLA is faced with mounting a comeback through the air with QB's that have been shaky at best. That can lead to mistakes, turnovers and a much wider margin for Stanford.

We'd really like to take +21 or more here. Conference game. Both teams 1-0. Stanford still not having faced a legitimate test. etc. But we're going to shy away. We can see this one possibly getting out of hand. Perhaps if UCLA wasn't blown out at home by Texas, we'd make the move. Instead, we're not going to make any recommendation on this one at all. This is being written on Monday, so, no total posted yet, but we may take a look at the Under here if an inflated total is posted.

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