Utah visits UCLA this Saturday in a marquee PAC-12 matchup. UCLA comes in undefeated at 5-0 and has it’s fan base excited. The Utes are 4-1 and will no doubt be the toughest test to date for the Bruins. Utah opened as a -3 point favorite and has been bet up toas high as -4.5. The total is 65.
Head to Head
10/30/2021 UCLA 24 + 7.0 at Utah 44 11/16/2019 UCLA 3 +21.5 at Utah 49 10/26/2018 Utah 41 -10.5 at UCLA 10 11/ 3/2017 UCLA 17 + 7.0 at Utah 48 10/22/2016 Utah 52 + 7.0 at UCLA 45 11/21/2015 UCLA 17 + 2.0 at Utah 9 10/ 4/2014 Utah 30 +13.0 at UCLA 28 10/ 3/2013 UCLA 34 - 5.5 at Utah 27 10/13/2012 Utah 14 + 9.0 at UCLA 21 11/12/2011 UCLA 6 + 7.0 at Utah 31 9/15/2007 UCLA 6 -10.0 at Utah 44 9/ 2/2006 Utah 10 + 3.0 at UCLA 31 average outcome: Utah 33.3 UCLA 20.2 margin = -13.08 time-weighted average outcome: Utah 41.6 UCLA 19.0 margin = -22.66 average result when the home team is UCLA Utah 29.4 UCLA 27.0 margin = -2.40 average result when the home team is Utah UCLA 15.3 Utah 36.0 margin = 20.71 33.33 % of games went Over 20.00 % went Over at UCLA average total points per game = 53.42 time-weighted average total = 60.60 the home team covered 50.00 % of the time the road team covered 50.00 % of the time Ave ATS differential = 6.88 the favorite covered 58.33 % of the time the underdog covered 41.67 % of the time Ave ATS differential = 2.54 the favorite won SU 66.67 % of the time Utah covered 75.00 % of the time UCLA covered 25.00 % of the time UCLA covered 20.00 % of the time at home UCLA covered 0.00 % of the time as home underdogs
The recent history shows Utah has dominated. They’ve won by an average margin of 33-20 which is pretty close to our models prediction of 36-19. Though the games played at UCLA have been closer.
One of the first thing handicappers look for when breaking down a game is the ability of teams to run and stop the run. Do both well and you will likely have a winning football team.
It’s also a great way to find “live dogs”. Find an underdog that has a superior running game and throw in the fact that they are at home and 9 times out of 10 you’ll have yourself a great bet.
This game would appear to fit the bill. Here’s a look at the rushing yards per attempt differential for each team.
That stat alone would normally have me running up to the window to place a bet on the home dog Bruins. Their 2.8 differential is more than 2 full rushing yards better than the Utes and that’s huge.
But of course, we need to dig a little deeper. We should expect UCLA to have better numbers when we factor in their schedule strength which is more than TWO touchdowns weaker than Utah’s.
The Bruins beat up on Bowling Green, Alabama State and Colorado. They got by South Alabama by 1 point and then of course last week beat Washington 40-32 in perhaps their only real test of the season.
Utah was expected to contend for a national title this year but stumbled out of the gate with a loss to Florida. They’ve won every game since though, last week knocking off Oregon State 42-16.
Here’s a look at the yards per point numbers for each team.
We see both teams moving the ball efficiently (the first number is the offensive number, 12.2 for Utah, 12.6 for UCLA) but check out the defensive numbers. The higher the number, the more efficient the defense.
Again, this is significant because of the difference in schedule strength. Using those numbers to make a line, Utah would be 7.5 points better on a neutral field BEFORE factoring in schedule strength.
So we’ll find out Saturday whether or not UCLA is a paper tiger. Playing bad teams doesn’t mean a team isn’t capable. However, in this case, we’d expect better numbers than shown above, suggesting the Bruins may have some weaknesses that Utah can exploit.