Utah is making its rounds against the Los Angeles schools, but the funny thing is that it still has as many Pac-12 losses as three other teams in the division. The Utes may look like the best team in the South division, but that could change quickly and they shouldn’t look past UCLA, which has gained some steam under Chip Kelly. The Utes still opened as -10 point road favorites at YOUWAGER Sportsbook.
It’s not like the Bruins are beating good teams, but getting wins is more important than not. They managed to lose by just seven points at home against Washington and also take down Cal by 30 points, meaning there are still reasons to consider the Bruins at home on a short week. Then again, Utah has carved through Stanford, Arizona and USC in recent weeks and UCLA just had trouble beating Arizona. But the Utes can’t take their foot off the pedal, as their Schedule won’t help in their chances of reaching the Conference title Game.
The biggest question is if the UCLA defense can stop Utah’s offense. The Utes have scored 100 total points in the last two meetings and while Kelly is now with the Bruins, he’s not exactly a defensive guru and they’re allowing 425 yards per contest. They’ve looked better in recent Games, but that could also be due to Schedule.
Utah has scored 40 points in each of his its last three Games and there’s a good chance that happens again. Everything is working for the Utes, but that’s mostly running back Zack Moss, who looks set to match last year’s 1,173 rushing yards, already with 753 on 5.6 yards per carry. He should have another big performance after carving through the Stanford and USC defenses in recent Games. Surprisingly, quarterback Tyler Huntley also opened things up against USC, throwing for a season-high 341 yards and Four touchdowns. If he can display that upside in every Game, this team has a real chance to make some noise in the conference.
The other selling point for Utah is that it has one of the best defenses in the Pac-12, allowing just 75 rushing yards and 17.7 points per Game. This Game is on the road, but the UCLA offense is still somewhat unknown because scoring on Cal and Arizona doesn’t say much about a team. To cover, the Bruins may have to put up another 30 points against a good defense. As a positive, Wilton Speight returned under center last Game, his first appearance since the season opener. He’s not exactly a Game breaker at quarterback, but he has more experience than freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who is dealing with an ankle injury. Similar to Utah, UCLA has had success because of running back Joshua Kelley, who has at least 120 rushing yards in each of the last Four Games. If that doesn’t work against one of the best rush defenses in the country, the Bruins could have trouble moving the ball without consistent play from their quarterbacks.
The Utes are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road Games and have covered in their last five on grass. The Bruins are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 following a straight-up win (including an ATS loss last week) and 1-5 ATS in their last six home Games. Utah is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings between these schools and the road team is 5-1 ATS in the last six.
Our Pick – Utah -10.5