The Bruins won their home opener while UNLV hung tough with Northern Illinois, losing the game but covering courtesy of a generous head start from the CFB odds makers.
UCLA (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Whether of not you cashed with UCLA over Virginia last Saturday would largely depend upon where you went shopping for your college football odds. If you got down early, and before the line moved to 18 where it ultimately closed at kickoff, then you could count that NCAAF pick as a winner because the Bruins sent their fans home happy after a 34-16 victory. But it was not without its moments and that was one bet that you absolutely had to sweat even though highly-touted freshman Josh Rosen was sublime in his debut. Rosen captivated the Rose Bowl and threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns on 28-of-35 passing and no turnovers.
UCLA was able to rack up 531 total yards on the Cavaliers but the story remains that the 18-year-old quarterback appears to be as good if not better than advertised. Nicknamed "Chosen Rosen" he had the home crowd in a frenzy with the deft touch of a savvy veteran. Even the UCLA defense appeared to get inspired by their offensive counterparts and held Virginia to a combined total yardage less than the amount tallied by Rosen through the air. In fact Rosen was pulled with 9:40 remaining in the contest to the roar of a highly appreciative Bruins audience which was certainly an unwelcome bit of news for all those who backed UCLA in their college football picks and got an unfavorable number.
UNLV (0-1, SU, 1-0 ATS)
The Runnin' Rebels held a 17-3 lead at one point but Northern Illinois stormed back and copped a 38-30 victory over their tougher than expected hosts. UNLV quarterback Blake Decker flashed a big arm with touchdown passes of 64 and 41 yards and tossed for a total of 319 yards.
It was not an easy afternoon once the engines began to rev for Northern Illinois and the Rebels defense eventually succumbed to Huskies' running back Joel Bouagnon who amassed 152 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Drew Drew Hare was surgically accurate tossing for 360 yards and a pair of TD's on 21-of-26 passing.
The fact that UCLA head coach Jim Mora yanked his freshman wunderkind Josh Rosen gives me a bona fide reason to believe the home dog might just be the sharp play in this one. Based on Rosen's performance this kid has no fear of the big crowds and the bigger expectations in the college game. He should be able to have his way with a UNLV secondary that is not equipped to handle an offensive juggernaut like UCLA's. However this Rebels team showed a tremendous amount of grit in their opener and it wouldn't surprise me if their offense could chew up just enough clock to keep this one within the parameters of the college football odds.
UNLV is 3-0 ATS in their last three games when they have been installed as 21 ½ to 31 point underdogs and that's exactly what we have here. Don't be surprised if Mora takes his foot off the pedal if the lead gets comfortable as he did last week. He cannot afford to have anything happen to Rosen and these early season cupcakes allow him to analyze the depth he has at virtually every position. Let's take advantage of a situation that says UCLA will win this one by three touchdowns...but not four.
College Football Pick: Play UNLV +28 at GTBets.