College Football Picks: Back UCLA -3.5 as Road Favorite vs. Arizona

Matthew Jordan

Monday, September 21, 2015 8:58 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 21, 2015 8:58 PM UTC

Easily the best game of Week 4 is from the Pac-12 Conference . The Bruins are -3.5 on the college football odds. An interesting game to watch, more interesting to bet on.


Who Will Corso Pick?
ESPN's GameDay crew will be on hand for this one in Tucson. 5Dimes college football odds has Lee Corso picking UCLA at +650 and Arizona at -1350. The host Wildcats also will unveil some pretty darn cool red chrome helmets for the game.

Arizona (3-0) warmed up for this game with essentially a scrimmage this past Saturday against Northern Arizona, winning 77-13. That broke the school record for points scored, which was 74 some 94 years ago. Arizona's 792 yards of offense also were a school record; the previous mark was 787 vs. UNLV in 2014. Wildcats sophomore quarterback Anu Solomon was 25-for-35 for 285 yards and four scores while also rushing for a TD despite barely playing after halftime. His backup, Jerrard Randall, had scoring runs of 73 and 72 yards. Shoot, third-stringer Brandon Dawkins and fourth-stringer Zach Werlinger even had TD runs. Running back Nick Wilson had 143 yards and two scores. The Wildcats are now 9-0 when Wilson runs for 100 yards or more in his career. UA had 499 yards rushing, another record. The 64-point win was the fourth-largest margin of victory in program history.

Arizona plays fast under Coach Rich Rodriguez. A total of 15 of Arizona’s 24 scoring drives this season have been under two minutes. Seven of  11 scoring drives against Northern Arizona were under two minutes. The Wildcats have scored in all 12 quarters in 2015 and have scored in double digits in eight of the 12. UA has scored in 18 consecutive quarters going back to last year.

There is one injury to monitor here and that's to superstar Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, who won just about every national defensive player of the year award in 2014 except, amazingly, the Butkus. Wright was diagnosed with a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee following the Sept. 3 season opener against UTSA. He was originally projected to be back Oct. 10 for the Oregon State game. Rodriguez says he's hopeful that Wright can return but it will depend on if he can practice Tuesday or Wednesday.


Bruins The Pac-12's Best Team?
UCLA (3-0) looks like a legitimate national title contender and is currently +2500 on Bovada's NCAA football odds to win it all. The Bruins escaped a BYU upset bid this past weekend, winning 24-23 over the No. 19 Cougars.

Perhaps the best true freshman QB in the nation is UCLA's Josh Rosen but he looked like a true freshman against the Cougars, completing just 11-for-23 for 106 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. So running back Paul Perkins picked up the slack, rushing 26 times for a career-high 219 yards and a score. He was the first Bruin to rush for more than 200 yards since Johnathan Franklin rushed for 217 against Nebraska in 2012. Nate Starks scored on a 3-yard run with 3:21 left for the winning  points. BYU QB Tanner Mangum drove the Cougars to the Bruins 42-yard line after that score, but his fourth-down pass was intercepted by Myles Jack.

With his 35-yard field goal in the 2nd quarter, UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn has now made 34 straight field goals from 35 yards and in. He is now fourth on UCLA's scoring list with 335 points.

UCLA is 5-1 in its last six games against ranked opponents and 10-6 overall against ranked teams under Coach Jim Mora Jr. While Arizona leads the Pac-12 in scoring offense and has scored a TD on half of its drives this season, UCLA has allowed only has only allowed three TDs on 40 opponent's drives this season.


Last Meeting
UCLA was a 6.5-point home favorite last season on NCAA football odds when it hosted Arizona and won 17-7. Former Bruins star QB Brett Hundley threw for 189  yards and ran for 131 more. The Wildcats were scoreless for the final 57 minutes and held to 255 yards, which was nearly 300 below what they were averaging coming in. Solomon was 18-for-48 for 175  yards with a TD and a pick. Wilson was held to 18  yards rushing on nine carries. Mora is 3-0 in his career vs. Rodriguez.Let's make our college football pick the Bruins on this game.

College Football Pick: UCLA -3.5 at Bet365

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