Capper Picks UCLA -7.5 vs. Texas in College Football Betting

Darin Zank

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 4:07 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 4:07 PM UTC

The Bruins are 2-0 but 0-2 ATS. The Longhorns just got their hats handed to them by BYU. Which way should we go with our free NCAAF pick when UCLA and Texas clash Saturday night on the supposedly neutral field down at Jerry's Joint in Arlington (8 pm ET, Fox)?

The Line
As of Wednesday morning most of the college football betting odds listed UCLA at -7 over Texas, with a total of right around 50. Those out there who think the Longhorns might win this game outright can get a price of around +250 on the various CFB betting money-lines.

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Game Set-Up
UCLA opened this season with a 28-20 victory at Virginia, but couldn't cover the spread as 18-point favorites. In fact, the Bruins scored just one offensive touchdown against the Cavaliers; the defense scored three.

Last week UCLA defeated Memphis 42-35, but again, couldn't cover the spread as 22-point chalk. The Bruins just couldn't put the Tigers away, eventually giving up 469 yards of Memphis offense, and had to hold on at the end, when the clock ran out as the Tigers drove for one more score.

UCLA returned 17 starters this season from a team that went 10-3 last year. Nine starters were back on offense, including Heisman candidate QB Brett Hundley (29 career starts) and four along the offensive line. And eight starters were back on defense, including LB Myles Jack and the entire secondary. The Bruins went off this season with a wins 'over/under' of 9.5, and as the favorites to win the Pac-12 South.

Texas, meanwhile, began the Coach Strong era with a 38-7 victory over North Texas, covering as 21-point favorites. But the Longhorns, playing without their starting QB, failed their next test, losing at home to BYU 41-7. The 'Horns only trailed 6-0 at the half, but couldn't get anything going on offense, while the Cougars exploded for four scores in the third quarter to pull away. UT got out-rushed by BYU 252-82, held the ball for less than 26 minutes and turned it over four times.

Texas returned 15 starters this season from a team that went 8-5 last year, going off with a wins betting total of 7.5. But the 'Horns will go through a learning curve with the new head coach and his new systems. Seven starters were back on offense, including their starting QB and last year's top two rushers. But Texas is already down it's starting QB and starting center due to injuries.

Eight starters are back on defense, so that unit has a chance to be good this season.

These two teams last met three seasons ago, when Texas went into the Rose Bowl and beat the Bruins 49-20 as three-point favorites. But that was already a long time ago for these two programs.


Injury Update
Texas QB David Ash is out indefinitely as he deals with post-concussion symptoms. Sophomore Tyrone Swoopes filled in against BYU, going 20/31/176 passing, although none of it mattered. The Longhorns are also without starting C Dominic Espinosa (ankle), and leading returning receiver Jason Shipley (head) is listed as questionable.


Bruins-Longhorns Betting Trends
UCLA is 21-8 SU, 17-12 ATS with Coach Mora and Hundley as the starter at QB. Also, the Bruins had been 9-5 ATS as favorites during this span, although they're 0-2 ATS this year.

Texas went just 2-3 ATS as an underdog last season.


College Football Pick 
Combining the state of the Texas offense, the fact that the 'Horns are still getting used to Coach Strong's systems, and UCLA's desire to break out with a good performance, we'll give the points (-7.5 at 5Dimes)  and go with the Bruins for our free college football pick on this contest. 


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