Friday Night Lights: Winless UCLA a Live Dog at Unbeaten Colorado

Monday, September 24, 2018 7:40 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 24, 2018 7:40 PM UTC

Our NCAA football handicapping expert, Mark Lathrop, is coming off another winning week to push his win rate above 63%. Here he takes a shot with a live underdog in the UCLA Bruins.

Mark's 2018 NCAAF Record: 14-8, +9.56u
*Note: Record includes official Twitter selections (@mlathrop3)

UCLA Bruins (0-3 SU) at Colorado Buffaloes (3-0 SU)Friday, 9 p.m. ET (FS1)Free NCAAF Pick: UCLA MLBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Chip Kelly has had a rocky start to his season as the new head coach at UCLA, but to be honest, any new coach would have likely been in this position. Kelly is installing his offensive scheme and is playing a freshman quarterback in Dorian Thompson-Robinson, all while the defense is getting a new look from defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro. The Bruins are 0-3, but have been favored in only one of their games this year – the home opener against Cincinnati.

There are signs for UCLA that improvement is just around the corner. Coming off a bye week for this matchup will help immensely for the new coaching staff. Boss Tagaloa and Devin Asiasi, both starters, will be back from serving their suspensions. And possibly resolving some quarterback drama, sophomore Devon Modster announced over Twitter that he is going to transfer. For those interested, Tagaloa plays on the offensive line, not the defensive line as indicated on the SBROdds breakdown of this game.

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Friday frames. 📷#GoBruins | #4sUp pic.twitter.com/tVPScKYjYb

— UCLA Football (@UCLAFootball) September 21, 2018
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Colorado is 3-0, but their first three opponents are a combined 1-10. What’s interesting is that preseason projections had the Buffaloes as 8-point underdogs in this game against UCLA, yet here we are in Week 5 and Colorado has been made a 10-point favorite on the NCAAF odds board. That’s a wild swing in the betting markets and of public perception. The nationwide polls have Colorado just outside the top 25 right now.

Colorado is coming off a bye as well and will need to improve to have a chance to beat UCLA even as a 10-point favorite. Senior quarterback Steven Montez has been solid against lesser competition with a 173.8 QB rating, yet the offensive line has allowed him to get sacked 9 times already in 3 games. Seven of those sacks came against Nebraska, which doesn’t have as good as athletes as UCLA does on the defensive line. You can bet that Kelly and crew have watched that game tape countless times.

The truth is we don’t know how good or bad these two teams are and the number presented to us is particularly lopsided. The recruited talent gives UCLA an advantage, and I just can’t pass up a moneyline underdog in this spot. I’ll back the Bruins here as an over 3 to 1 dog for my Friday night NCAAF pick.

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