Pick – Analysis
UCLA is back on track and still has a chance to win the Pac-12 South. It won’t be easy, though, as the Bruins will likely have to win out. They take on a surprising Washington State team where they’ll be a -10.5 home favorite (as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook).
The Cougars cannot be looked over, that’s for sure. Wazzu has won Four of their last five Games with two of those coming on the road against Oregon and Arizona. They even gave Stanford its toughest Conference test of the season a couple weeks ago and are coming off a nice 38-24 win over Arizona State.
It wouldn’t be smart for UCLA to overlook this Game, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if they did. After this one, the Bruins close the season with two road Games at Utah and USC. Basically, they are in a must-win situation the rest of the way. Coming off three straight wins, they’ll look to continue that run.
There should be points in this matchup, and if there isn’t, someone got hurt. The last time these team’s played, back in 2012, the Bruins won 44-36. This one could have a similar score.
Washington State has had better defensive play this year, and that’s helped lead to a 6-3 record, but it’s still not an elite unit. Josh Rosen should once again lead UCLA to around the 40-point mark.
since back-to-back losses, the true freshman quarterback has been solid, throwing six touchdowns and zero picks to go with 994 yards through the last three Games. That’s a solid rate and there’s no reason he’ll slow down. Rosen’s become more comfortable with receivers Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte as the season has moved along and it shows. But the biggest part to UCLA’s offense may be the running Game. Paul Perkins has been a little banged up, but he continues to put in work. Perkins has 961 yards and 10 touchdowns and he could help with keeping Washington State’s offense off the field.
The Bruins have been inconsistent on defense and losing linebacker Myles Jack didn’t help much. With this being their toughest task since Stanford, we’ll get an idea if this team can actually win out.
It’s going to be tough because the Cougars are actually scoring at a consistent rate, something that hasn’t happened in recent seasons. Quarterback LUke Falk has been great, throwing for 33 TDs and 7 INTs, all at a 70.2% completion rate. Maybe the most amazing stat is that he has thrown at least five touchdowns in Four of the last five Games. This offense doesn’t really care about running the ball, but there have been instances when they give Gerard Wicks a few extra carries. UCLA’s secondary is going to have issues covering Gabe Marks (69 receptions, 11 TDs), Dom Williams (779 yards, 8 TDs) and River Cracraft (48 receptions). This is a quick offense that gets the ball out as soon as possible.
This should be a better Game than what the spread indicates and Wazzu has the ability to keep the Scoreclose the entire way.
The Cougars are 10-2 ATS in this meeting, but remember these teams haven’t met since 2012. Still, Washington State has covered in six straight Conference Games, while the Bruins have not covered in Four straight following an ATS win.
Our Pick – UCLA may be the better team here however a quick look at common opponents shows us that Washington State is a live dog here. Our model backs that up as it has UCLA covering this number when using the entire seasons worth of data however if we use data from the last 7 Games only and the last 4 Games only, the projected margin shrinks to a TD or less. Washington State +10.5