College Football Pick
It’s safe to say no one expected to see UCLA with three losses this early in the season, but once again the Bruins have disappointed. Once the favorite to win the Pac-12 South, they’re just looking to string a couple wins together. With a trip to Washington State next up, it doesn’t look like that it will start here. The Cougars are a -4.5 point favorite as seen at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
Whether this line is surprising or not, it doesn’t matter, Washington State won this Game at the Rose Bowl last year 31-27. And if anything, this year’s UCLA is arguably worse than last year’s.
The Cougars were outgained last year and needed a touchdown in the final seconds to win, but it was a usual performance from LUke Falk and the passing Game with 388 passing yards as a team. UCLA actually threw for 340 and ran for 214 more, but they couldn’t put the ball in the end zone against this bend-but-not-break defense.
This year could be even tougher on the road against a Wazzu team that has now beaten Oregon by 18 points and Stanford by 26 the last two weeks. In addition to that, the Bruins continue to struggle to move the ball consistently and that showed up in the 23-20 loss at Arizona State. Of course, that stems from an injury to sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen who couldn’t finish the Game. If Rosen can’t make it for this one, it wouldn’t be surprising if the line shot up even more.
Mike Fafaul came in against the Sun Devils and went just 3-of-11 for two interceptions and got sacked twice. Without any semblance of a running Game between Nate Starks and Soso Jamabo, the Bruins are relying heavily on Rosen to move the ball. If Rosen can’t play in this Game, this could turn into another Washington State blowout.
Maybe the Bruins could take a defensive approach, but there’s nothing all that great about their defense either. They were fine against Arizona State, but had to face a backup quarterback. As long as LUke Falk is slinging the ball, this Cougars offense is always good for 30-to-40 points at minimum. Falk has thrown for at least 350 yards in Four of five Games and has 16 touchdowns on the season, completing 74.1% of his passes. With experienced pass catchers on the roster in River Cracraft and Gabe Marks, Falk has only gotten better this season.
In addition to that, Washington State has found success running the ball when it wants, averaging 5.0 yards per carry as team with its top two running backs over 6.0 yards per carry.
If Rosen can’t go, this line could shoot way up. But even if Rosen plays, expect a higher scoring Game with the home team getting the edge due to consistency. So far, behind 2.9 ypc as a team, Rosen hasn’t done enough to turn UCLA into a truly good offense.
The Bruins are 1-7 ATS in their last eight Games overall and haven’t covered in five straight road Games. The Cougars are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 Conference Games and 14-3 ATS in their last 17 overall.
Our Pick Washington State -4.5