College Football Week 1 Picks: UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Cavaliers

UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday, 8/30/14, 12:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  UCLA -24
Current Betting Line:  UCLA -24
Opening Total:  N/A
Current Total:  N/A
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes

The UCLA Bruins are 3-2 ATS as road favorites under Jim Mora
The UCLA Bruins are 3-2 ATS as road favorites under Jim Mora

UCLA is a legitimate contender to land one of four spots in the upcoming playoff format, which is important to consider when making your Week 1 college football picks, but the team will need to focus in on the task at hand in its season opener.  The Bruins are just 4-5 SU in regular season road games versus non-conference opponents since 2006, and Pac-12 Conference teams have been known to struggle in early kickoff situations in the East Coast.  UCLA is 3-2 as road favorites under third-year head coach Jim Mora.

The Bruins will be led by Heisman Trophy candidate Brett Hundley, who has racked up 7,914 total yards of offense during his time on campus, while running back Jordon James should provide balance for the unit—coming off a 534-yard campaign.  On the other side of the ball, UCLA may elect to let linebacker Myles Jack loose, as he was the Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2013.  The program is on the rise with 17 returning starters from a team that went 10-3 SU a year ago.

Virginia head coach Mike London is certainly on the hot seat in Charlottesville entering his fifth year on the job, but he could be sitting on a breakthrough season, considering the school welcomes back 17 returning starters.  The Cavaliers were unable to get anything going during a 2-10 season a year ago—mainly due to the roster having only nine seniors.  Running back Kevin Parks is the main player to handicap when looking over the college football odds page, as he’s coming off a 1,031-yard season.  Virginia has covered the number in five of its last seven August affairs.

The Cavaliers will need to find some consistency at the quarterback position to cover this number, with many anticipating Greyson Lambert has the ability to move into the No. 1 role—passing up last year’s starter David Watford.  Virginia does return three starters on the offensive line, but it must replace its top two players from that unit, with just 49 career starts on the roster.

Sports bettors will likely back the Cavaliers due to the Bruins being more focused on the road ahead, especially with their home opener the following week and a non-conference showdown with the Texas Longhorns at Jerry’s World in Week 3.

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