The relevance of this Game has taken a dive in the last couple weeks, with both teams coming off losses. California lost a tough one at Utah, while UCLA just gave up 56 points this past weekend to Stanford. Still, the Bruins get the nod as a -3.5 home favorite (as of Sunday at 5Dimes Sportsbook) against the Golden Bears.
California got this past weekend off, but that doesn’t make this meeting any easier for them. The Golden Bears haven’t really outplayed any decent team this year, but at the least should be able to keep up on the scoreboard with Jared Goff at quarterback.
Things started off well for UCLA early in the year, but not so much anymore and a season-ending injury to stud linebacker Myles Jack has derailed most of its Pac-12 title hopes. The Bruins still have a difficult Schedule ahead and already have two Conference losses, while Utah is leading the way at 6-0 overall.
There should be a decent amount of points in this Game because neither defense has been playing too well. California hasn’t had a good defense in a number of years, while UCLA just hasn’t been the same without Jack in the middle.
Starting with Goff, the projected No. 1 QB in the upcoming draft, he will need to sling it out again which is nothing new for this team. UCLA just got gashed on the ground, but it’s not like California has a great ground Game. Khalfani Muhammad is averaging 8.7 yards per carry on the year, but most of his yards came against bad teams early in the year. Goff has attempted at least 40 passes in three straight Games and is coming off a five-interception debacle at Utah. Goff already has nine interceptions on the year, but he’s also completing 66.7% of his passes for 17 touchdowns. Because of that and Kenny LAwler (465 yards, 8 TDs) catching passes, this team can stay in Games.
UCLA’s defense has now allowed at least 30 points in three straight Games, including 94 total in their last two. Right now, there’s no reason to believe they can stop Cal, especially on a short week.
As for the Bruins on offense, they do have some work to do. True freshman quarterback Josh Rosen continues to struggle a bit against Pac-12 competition. His numbers look solid over the last three Games, but a lot of those numbers came in garbage time when the Game was out of reach. UCLA is going to try and run the ball as much as possible with Paul Perkins (681 yards, 8 TDs), who only got 14 carries against Stanford due to being in an early hole.
California has been able to keep up in every Game so far, including its last 30-24 loss to Utah and this one should be no different. With the way Rosen has looked, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Cal staying close in this Game as well.
The Bruins still get the edge though, as Perkins could have a field day, similar to what Devontae Booker did against Cal, rushing for 222 yards.
The Golden Bears are 7-1 ATS in their last eight road Games, but the home team has covered in five straight Games between these teams. Also in this meeting, UCLA is 5-1-1 ATS in the last seven played at the Rose Bowl.
Our Pick – A year ago UCLA won this Game 36-34. Ironically, Our model predicts an almost identical outcome this year. Believe it or not, this Game opened at -7.5 at betonline, the first to post lines each week. The money came in fast and furious on Cal and we agree with all of that early money.
At +3 or better we have to side with Cal, even though we’ve given up so much value already. Bottom line is, we see this as a back and forth Game that Cal can certainly win straight up. Cal +3.5