This College Football handicapper points out that the UCLA Bruins have gone 2-7 ATS so far this year, and will to stay in the Pac-12 South race when they take on Washington Saturday night in Seattle.
Bruins-Huskies Betting Odds
Most of the college football betting market opened UCLA as a four-point road favorite over Washington, with a total of 56. As of Wednesday morning most shops had bumped the Bruins to -5, and dropped the total to 55.
Bruins-Huskies: The Situation
UCLA went off this season as a 3/1 shot to win the Pac-12 championship, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 9.5. At 7-2 SU (2-7 ATS) and 4-2 in Pac-12 play the Bruins are in third place in the Pac-12 South, and need to win their last three games – against Washington, USC and Stanford - to play OVER their total.
UCLA began this season with a 28-20 victory at Virginia, but came nowhere close to covering the spread as an 18-point favorite. The Bruins then held off Memphis 42-35 but couldn't cover at -22. They then won at Texas 20-17 without starting QB Brett Hundley, but couldn't cover at -8. See a pattern here?
UCLA then opened Pac-12 play with that 62-27 romp over Arizona State, covering at -3. But the Bruins then suffered a letdown and lost at home to Utah 30-28 as two-touchdown favorites, then got beat by Oregon 42-30 in a game that wasn't as close as that score might indicate. However, UCLA has recovered to win its last three games, at Cal 36-34, at Colorado in overtime 40-37 and, last week, over Arizona 17-7, covering as a seven-point favorite. The Bruins spotted the Wildcats the first score of the game, then scored the last 17 points, outgaining the 'Cats on the day 460-255.
On the homey side of this match-up Washington went off getting around 15/1 to win the Pac-12 championship, with a wins OVER/UNDER of nine for its first season under Coach Petersen. At 6-3 SU (4-5 ATS) and 2-3 in Pac-12 play the Huskies will not be playing for the conference title, and they need to win their last four games to play OVER their total.
Washington started 4-0 this season, with wins over Hawaii, Eastern Washington, Illinois and Georgia State, but only covered one spread in that span. The Huskies then opened Pac-12 play with a tough 20-13 loss to Stanford, but covered as eight-point home dogs. They then beat Cal 31-7, covering as field-goal favorites. But U-Dub then lost at Oregon 45-20 and at home to Arizona State 24-10.
Last week Washington won at Colorado 38-23, covering as a three-point road favorite. The Huskies trailed by 10 points early, finally took a 24-23 lead late in the third quarter, then iced the victory and cover with an interception return and a punt return for scores. Washington got outgained by the Buffaloes 495-442 but outrushed 'em 236-181.
So in four games versus common opponents this season (Cal, Oregon, Arizona State and Colorado) UCLA is 3-1 SU but 1-3 ATS, while Washington is 2-2 both SU and ATS.
Bruins-Huskies Recent History
These programs met 18 seasons in a row from 1993-2010, but took time off from each other in 2011 and 2012. They renewed acquaintances last year, when UCLA beat Washington at the Rose Bowl 41-31, covering as a field-goal favorite.
The UCLA Bruins grabbed an early 27-7 lead in last year's contest, but the Huskies rallied to within 27-24 early in the third quarter, before running out of gas. Washington outgained the Bruins 432-406, but UCLA outrushed the Huskies 222-102 and won time-of-possession by a 34-26 margin.
Bruins-Huskies Betting Trends
UCLA is 2-5 ATS in its last seven outings as a road favorite in College Football odds.
Washington is 5-2 ATS in its last seven tries as a home dog.
These two teams are a combined 6-11-1 on the totals this season.
Bruins-Huskies Free Pick
UCLA began this season with big expectations, but sometimes it's hard to play under such conditions. Still, the Bruins are a very good team; if not for that last-minute loss to Utah they'd still be in the running in the Pac-12 and maybe even for the national championship playoff. Washington, meanwhile, is still probably going through the learning curve under the new coaching regime. So we like UCLA for the win and cover in this spot.
Free College Football Pick: Bruins -4.5 at Pinnacle