The UCLA Bruins season win total betting line has been set at over or under 5.5 wins for the 2019 college football season. Early money is on the over and we agree with those bettors.
Things didn’t exactly work for Chip Kelly in his first season at UCLA, winning just three games, two below its over/under of 5.5. As a positive, the Bruins eventually turned it around and got a nice win over USC late and almost upended Stanford in the finale.
The offense was the main reason for some late success and further improvement is likely, though Kelly still has to decide on a quarterback. Dorian Thompson-Robinson split time with Wilton Speight last season and may have to split time this year with fellow sophomore Austin Burton, who had a successful spring.
4 Starters Return on Offensive Line
Either way, improvement is expected after last year’s QBs threw for 13 touchdowns and 10 picks. The running game is the intriguing part to the offense after Joshua Kelley ran for 1,243 yards (289 against USC) and 12 touchdowns.
While UCLA has to replace its stud tight end, receiver looks set with Theo Howard (677 yards, 4 TDs), Demetric Felton (20 receptions) and Chase Cota (13 rec.) all returning.
However, the big thing for this offense is for the line to improve with four starters returning. The unit was young and inexperienced last year and if they can get to another level, that’d be huge in reaching a bowl.
Entire Defense Returns for 2019
The defense also returns a lot of talent mostly because it was so young last year. The Bruins can only go up after allowing 445 yards and 34.1 points per game. An improved line is a big part of that with end Osa Odighizuwa expected to make a big leap with tackles Antonio Mafi and Otito Ogbonnia.
It’s the same case at linebacker where seniors Krys Barnes and Keisean Lucier-South showed their strengths late in the year.
In addition to three starters returning in the secondary, a lot of underclassmen stood out in the spring and could make the back end much deeper than a year ago. This won’t be an elite defense, but it should be better all around.
Over 5.5 Wins is Likely
A bowl game is expected for Kelly in his second season and that starts by winning early non-conference games. Maybe they won’t take down Oklahoma, but winning at Cincy and against SDSU is possible, albeit both will be difficult.
With only one win from those first three, UCLA still has a chance for a bowl due to a home Pac-12 slate that features OSU, ASU, Colorado and Cal.
That could turn into four wins with a trip to Arizona also a good spot for a win. The Bruins have one of the easier schedules in the conference (missing both UW and Oregon) and that should get them to a bowl as long as they get at least one non-conference win.
There will be ups and downs, but with improvement expected on both sides of the ball, anything less than six wins will be a disappointment.
2019 UCLA Bruins Football Schedule
Aug. 29 at Cincinnati (opened +3.5)
Sept. 7 vs. San Diego State
Sept. 14 vs. Oklahoma (opened +13)
Sept. 21 at Washington State
Sept. 28 at Arizona
Oct. 5 vs. Oregon State
Oct. 17 at Stanford (opened +6.5)
Oct. 26 vs. Arizona State
Nov. 2 vs. Colorado
Nov. 16 at Utah (opened +10.5)
Nov. 23 at USC (opened +4.5)
Nov. 30 vs. California