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College Football Prediction
UCLA hosts Houston this Saturday night at 1030 pm est. in a rematch of last years 38-34 shootout, a game in which Houston ended up on top. Houston was a -2 point favorite in that game. What a difference a year makes. The 2012 edition of this game has UCLA favored by -17! Betting trends from the world largest sportsbook, sportsbook.ag, show us that the betting public could care less about the big number. They are betting on UCLA at a 93% clip.
When these two teams met at the beginning of last year, their situations were much different. Houston had a high-flying offense led by QB Case Keenum and finished with a 13-1 record. UCLA on the other hand were still trying to find an identity and they never really did in 2011 on their way to a 6-8 record. This season, the sides have switched. Houston still has a bad defense, but they don't have the offense to keep up. UCLA's defense has struggled, but their offense has kept them afloat.
Unexpectedly, redshirt Freshman QB Brett Hundley carved through the Nebraska defense last week on the way to a 36-30 victory. Hundley finished 21-for-33 for 305 yards and four TDs. While Hundley played well, Senior RB Johnathan Franklin is the name to know on the Bruins offense. In two games he has rushed for 431 yards on just 41 carries (!) and three TDs. Here are some numbers: Texas State rushed for 248 yards and Louisiana Tech rushed for 245 yards against Houston. That does not bode well at all for Houston. Once UCLA gets to the red zone, Joseph Fauria is the man to keep your eye on. The tight end has the components needed to make it in the NFL, 6'7, 255 pounds and great hands. He has three TDs this year and had 110 yards and a TD in last year's matchup against the Cougars.
One thing Houston can do (as usual) is pass the ball. David Piland has attempted 121 passes already for 791 yards and five TDs. So far, UCLA has been solid against the pass, whereas they couldn't stop Rice or Nebraska on the ground. Houston Running back Charles Sims may play a larger part than usual. He has 34 carries for 142 yards in two games. Piland will look for his top receivers Daniel Spencer (206 yards) and Dewayne Preace (154 yards) who already have 13 receptions apiece.
We know UCLA will put points on the board, it all falls on if David Piland can get his team into the end zone or not. The Bruins are at home as 17 point favorites. This game can easily get out of hand if Houston can't score. While they did score 49 points last weekend, the Cougars were only able to get 13 points on the board against Texas State in their first game.
Two years ago as underdogs, UCLA crushed Houston 31-13 at the Rose Bowl, and this game could be much in the same.
The home team is 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings and UCLA is 4-0 ATS in their last four home games. As the Cougars are a much different team from last year, it's best to take some of their records with a grain of salt.
After two games, it's pretty safe to say UCLA is the much better team here. Hey, they beat Nebraska. On the other hand, they also gave up 24 points to Rice and Houston, even without Keenum, looks like maybe they have that offense rolling, although we're aware it was La Tech. UCLA won one game all of last year by more than 17 and that was against lowly Colorado. UCLA gets their revenge here and avenges last years loss, but we're not so sure we can trust them laying -17 just yet. We don't love this game by any stretch, but we'll go against the public here on both the side and the total. Houston +17 and Under 75
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