Pac 12 Betting Preview: #18 UCLA Bruins at #15 Stanford Cardinal

#18 UCLA Bruins at #15 Stanford Cardinal
Thursday, October 15, 2015, 9:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Stanford Stadium – Stanford, California
Opening Line: Stanford -5
Current Line: Stanford -6 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 55
Current Total: 54
Opening Money Line: Stanford -220 / UCLA +180
Current Money Line: Stanford -245 / UCLA +205

Stanford is a 6.5 point favorite against UCLA in a key PAC 12 contest Thursday.
Stanford is a 6.5 point favorite against UCLA in a key PAC 12 contest Thursday.

The 4-1 Stanford Cardinal and 4-1 UCLA Bruins renew their rivalry Thursday in Stanford. Stanford leads the Pac 12 North Division with a 3-0 record over 2-1 California. UCLA is in third place in the South Division at 1-1 behind 2-0 Utah and 2-1 Arizona State.

UCLA leads the series 45-38-3 overall against Stanford, but the Cardinal are 23-20-2 in Palo Alto against the Bruins. Stanford has won 7 straight games in the series including 4 straight at home. Stanford won last year in Pasadena 31-10 in the regular season finale. The Bruins needed that game to secure the South Division title and a spot in the Pac 12 Championship game.

UCLA is coached by Jim Mora, Jr. The Bruins lost two weeks ago at home to Arizona State 38-23 and were off last week. UCLA has home wins over Virginia 34-16 and BYU 24-23, along with road wins at UNLV 37-3 and Arizona 56-30. The Bruins were 12.5 point favorites against Arizona State and the total was 61.5. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, including a touchdown and a safety. ASU would lead 15-10 at halftime. The Sun Devils expanded the lead to 29-10 going into the fourth. The Bruins would pull to within 29-23 with two fourth quarter touchdowns but would fail on a two point conversion. That point proved to be important as the game stayed under the total by a half point.  ASU added another safety to make it 31-23. The Sun Devils drove down the field after the free kick and sealed the victory with a touchdown. The Sun Devils had 465 total yards to 342 for UCLA. The Bruins are 2-2-1 ATS and the total is 1-4 this season.

Stanford is coached by David Shaw. After a season opening loss at Northwestern 16-6, the Cardinal have won 4 straight games. Stanford has home wins over UCF 31-7 and two weeks ago against Arizona 55-17, along with road wins at USC 41-31 and Oregon State 42-24. Stanford was a 12.5 point favorite against Arizona and the total was 59. The Cardinal dominated the game from start to finish taking a 27-3 lead into halftime. Arizona scored first in the second half to pull with 17 points, but would get no closer. The Cardinal cruised to the 38 point win. Stanford racked up 570 total yards to just 314 for Arizona. The Cardinal are 4-1 ATS and the total is 3-2 this season.

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UCLA is outscoring teams 35-22 this season. The Bruins are in the top 50 in both categories nationally. UCLA is averaging 454 yards per game on offense, including 255 passing and 199 rushing yards. The Bruins are #39 or better in all three categories. On defense, UCLA is allowing 382 total yards including 185 passing and 197 rushing yards. The Bruins are #33 nationally in pass defense but #100 in rush defense out of 128 teams. UCLA has forced eight turnovers this season but has seven of their own. The Bruins average 71 penalty yards per game and opponents average 49 yards per game. UCLA is 32/76 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 36/97. The Bruins have forced nine sacks and have allowed 4 this season. UCLA is 22/26 scoring in the red zone with 17 touchdowns and opponents are 14/18 with 7 touchdowns. UCLA has a pick six this season.

Quarterback Josh Rosen has completed 60.7% of his passes for 1,244 yards with 9 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Running back Paul Perkins has 100 carries for 577 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 96 yards. Nate Starks has 24 carries for 167 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo will also get some carries.

Receiver Jordan Payton has 25 catches for 392 yards and 3 touchdowns. Thomas Duarte has 18 catches for 274 yards and 4 touchdowns. Nate Iese has 8 catches for 80 yards. Devin Fuller has 11 catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. Mossi Johnson has 8 catches for 41 yards, but is out for the season with a knee injury.

Four defensive players are out for the season, including star linebacker Myles Jack who suffered a knee injury and withdre from school to prepare for the NFL draft. Jack also moonlights as a short yardage running back and had a rushing touchdown.

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Stanford is outscoring teams 35-19 this season. The Cardinal are #37 or better in both categories. Stanford averages 453 yards per game on offense including 243 passing and 210. The Cardinal are #52 or better in all three categories. On defense, Stanford is allowing 328 yards per game including 200 passing yards and 128 rushing yards. The Cardinal are in the top 50 in all three categories nationally. Stanford has forced 3 turnovers but has 4 of their own. The Cardinal average 49 penalty yards per game and opponents average 57. Stanford is 36/71 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 39/87. The Cardinal have forced 6 sacks and allowed 8 this season. Stanford is 20/24 scoring in the red zone with 16 touchdowns and opponents are 12/13 with 7 touchdowns.

Quarterback Kevin Hogan has completed 67.5% of his passes for 1,155 yards with 9 touchdowns and interceptions, along with 19 carries for 34 yards. Running back Christian McCaffrey has 105 carries for 601 yards and a touchdown, plus 15 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown.Barry Sanders, Jr. has 24 carries for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns. Remound Wright has 38 carries for 122 yards and 7 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Receiver Michael Rector has 12 catches for 233 yards and a touchdown. Austin Hooper has 12 catches for 185 yards and 2 touchdowns. Bryce Love has 6 catches for 158 yards and a touchdown. Devon Cujuste has 13 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. Four defensive players are questionable or out Thursday.

UCLA is 5-0 ATS after a bye week, 5-1 against teams with winning home records, 4-1 after a double digit home loss, 7-2 after rushing for less than 100 yards, 3-1-1 after allowing less than 450 total yards, 5-2 against teams with winning records, 2-5 after a straight up loss, and 5-21 in October. The under is 10-4 in this series recently.

Stanford is 5-0 ATS in Pac 12 games, against teams with winning records,  and after an ATS loss, 4-0 after allowing less than 20 points, 5-1 against teams with winning road records, 23-5-1 after scoring more than 40 points, 4-1 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 5-2 after rushing for more than 200 yards, and in October, 35-16 at home, 34-16-1 on grass, 37-18-1 after a straight up win, 43-21-1 overall, and 3-8 after a straight up win by 20 points or more. The favorite is 5-2 ATS in this series recently. The Cardinal have covered 6 of the last 7 games in this series, and are 7-2 ATS at home against the Bruins.

The last UCLA win in this series was also the debut for Jim Harbaugh as Stanford coach. Eventually, UCLA has to break the streak, but I don’t think it will be this year. I think Stanford wins but 6.5 points seems like a lot as I see this game being decided by a field goal.

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