College Football Picks: UCLA vs. Utah

Joe Freda

Monday, September 30, 2013 5:12 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 30, 2013 5:12 PM GMT

Thursday’s college football betting has rivals UCLA and Utah squaring off in Salt Lake City, and odds makers are expecting a close contest.

The UCLA Bruins and Utah Utes have both been idle since September 21st, cashing ATS in each of their latest affairs. 

Bruins cruise as big ‘chalk’

UCLA’s latest victory came in its 59-13 triumph over the New Mexico State Aggies, collecting as a 44-point home favorite. Bruins running backs Jordon James and Malcolm Jones took in two touchdowns each, with James notching a season-high 164 rushing yards on 19 carries.

UCLA’s Brett Hundley moved the ball under center for 39 first downs, with his offense grinding 692 total yards. The sophomore quarterback tossed three touchdowns, connecting on 23-of-35 passes.

Hundley and Co. were penalized 15 times (138 yards), while the lopsided duel’s 72 points jumped ‘Over’ the ‘total’ of 66.5. Bruins cornerback Ishmael Adams logged his side’s sole interception, with UCLA’s defense holding New Mexico State to 1-for-11 on third-down conversions.

Utes, Wilson upset BYU

Utah never trailed in its latest win, topping the BYU Cougars with a 20-13 victory as a seven-point road dog. Utes quarterback Travis Wilson gave his squad a 13-0 halftime lead with a touchdown toss to wide out Anthony Denham, while completing 24-of-35 attempts for 273 passing yards.

Wilson found favorite target Dres Anderson eight times, with the junior logging a season-high 141 receiving yards. Utes running back James Poole dashed for 96 yards on 18 carries, while punter Tom Hackett averaged 44.2 yards in 11 appearances.

The Utes’ defense allowed 443 total yards, with 260 coming through the air. Utah’s Michael Walker recorded one interception, while the tight affair’s 33 combined points plunged ‘Under’ the ‘total’ of 60.5.

Back the Utes as home dogs

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opened UCLA as a four-point road favorite, with mixed early wagers leaving the college football odds unchanged. Thursday’s weather forecast in Salt Lake City calls for a 45 degree night, with light winds and a 25 percent chance of rain.

I am adding Utah to this week’s sports picks, taking the short number at home.

The Utes have notched 49.3 PPG in the confines of Rice-Eccles Stadium and will be fired up for a ranked foe’s visit in this nationally televised affair. Travis Wilson ranks neck-and-neck with Brett Hundley in quarterback rating (166.6), while Utah has a 9-3 spread record in its last 12 spots that followed a bye week.

UCLA has piled up points, but could see its octane drop in this chilly road spot. The Bruins have been held to 13.5 PPG over their last two battles against Utah, with the Utes cashing at a 2-0 ATS mark.

Utah has a 6-2 spread record in its last eight home dates, while UCLA has gone 2-5 ATS in its last seven matchups that came after a victory of more than 20 points. Look for these trends to hold up for your college football picks, giving the Utes a cashed ticket while fueled for revenge after last year’s 21-14 defeat to the Bruins.

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NCAA FB Pick: Utah Utes +4 on the point spread, available at Bet365

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