Pac 12 College Football Picks: UCLA Bruins at California Golden Bears

UCLA Bruins at California Golden Bears
Memorial Stadium – Berkeley, California

Saturday, October 18, 2014, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC or ESPN2
Opening Line: UCLA -8 1/2 (+100)
Current Line: UCLA -7 (-115)
Opening Total: 76 1/2
Current Total: 74
Opening Money Line: UCLA -270 / Cal +225
Current Money Line: UCLA -275 / Cal +230 

UCLA is favored on the road against California in a battle of 4-2 Pac 12 teams.
UCLA is favored on the road against California in a battle of 4-2 Pac 12 teams.

Two weeks ago, the UCLA Bruins were 4-0 and ranked in the top 10. However, back to back losses have dropped the Bruins out of the top 25. UCLA tries to get back on track as they travel to the California Golden Bears Saturday also 4-2 this season. The Bruins are 1-2 in the Pac 12 South and the Golden Bears are 2-2 in the North Division. Few expected these two teams to have the same record midway through the season as Cal only won one game in 2013 and UCLA was a pre-season contender for the college football playoff.

UCLA leads the series against California 51-32-1 including 22-20 in Berkeley. UCLA won the last meeting in Pasadena 37-10 last season. The Golden Bears have won 4 of the last 6 games against the Bruins. Cal has beaten UCLA seven straight times in Berkeley dating back to 2000. UCLA hasn’t beaten their Northern rivals on the road since 1998.

UCLA is coached by Jim Mora, Jr. The Bruins have road wins over Virginia 28-20 and Arizona State 62-27, a home win over Memphis 42-35 and a “neutral site” win over Texas 20-17 in Arlington, Texas. UCLA lost at home to Utah 30-28, and last week the Bruins were beaten at home by Oregon 42-30. The Bruins are 1-5 ATS and the total is 2-3-1 this season. UCLA was a 1.5 point underdog against Oregon and the total was 72.

California is coached by Sonny Dykes. The Golden Bears have losses at Arizona 49-45 and last week at home against Washington 31-7. Cal has road wins at Northwestern 31-24 and Washington State 60-59, along with home wins over Sacramento State 55-14 and Colorado 59-56 in double overtime. The Golden Bears are 4-2 ATS and the total is also 4-2 this season. California was a 3.5 point favorite against Washington and the total was 67.

UCLA is outscoring teams 35-29. The Bruins are averaging 480 yards per game including 286 passing and 195 rushing. UCLA is in the top 40 nationally in all offensive categories. On defense, UCLA is allowing 436 yards per game including 261 passing and 175 rushing. UCLA is even in turnovers with 7 takeaways. The Bruins average 69 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 53. UCLA is 48/101 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 47/110. The Bruins have forced 7 sacks and allowed 25 this season. UCLA is 19/19 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns and opponents are 16/20 with 11 touchdowns. The Bruins have five defensive/special teams scores this season, including three against Virginia.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has completed 72.2% of his passes for 1,526 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 75 carries for 211 yards and 3 touchdowns. Running back Paul Perkins has 115 carries for 727 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 13 catches for 92 yards. Jordan Payton has 37 catches for 552 yards and 5 touchdowns. Thomas Duarte has 16 catches for 282 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eldridge Massington has 14 catches for 278 yards and 2 touchdowns. Devin Fuller has 26 catches for 227 yards and a touchdown. Nate Iese has only 8 catches but 2 touchdowns. Two offensive linemen and two defensive players are questionable or out for the Bruins.

Cal is outscoring  teams 43-39 this season. California is #10 in scoring and #120 in points allowed out of 128 FBS teams. The Golden Bears are #14 in total offense nationally at 518 yards per game including the 4th best passing attack at 383 yards per game. The rushing game is #102 nationally at 136 yards per game. On defense, California is allowing 518 yards per game including 402 passing yards and 116 rushing yards. The Golden Bears are #124 in total offense, dead last in pass defense, and #25 in rushing  defense. Cal is -3 in turnovers with 10 giveaways. Cal is averaging 76 penalty yards per game and their opponents are averaging 74 yards per game. The Bears are 53/104 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 52/120. California has forced 10 sacks this season and allowed 12. The Golden Bears are 21/25 scoring in the red zone with 15 touchdowns, and opponents are 23/30 with 19 touchdowns. Cal has two kick returns for touchdowns and has allowed a fumble return for a touchdown.

Cal quarterback Jared Goff has completed 65.5% of his passes for 2,179 yards with 22 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Running back Daniel Lasco has 83 carries for 479 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 15 catches for 186 yards and 2 touchdowns. Khalfani Muhammad has 38 carries for 170 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 5 catches and 2 kickoff return touchdowns. Receiver Bryce Treggs has 29 catches for 360 yards and 5 touchdowns. Trevor Davis has 18 catches for 331 yards and 3 touchdowns. Chris Harper has 20 catches for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kenny Lawler has 25 catches for 299 yards and 5 touchdowns. Six defensive players are questionable or out for the Golden Bears.

UCLA is 4-1 ATS after a double digit home loss, 7-2 against teams with winning home records, 6-2 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 5-18 in October, 1-4 after a straight up loss, and 1-5 overall.The over is 4-1 in the last 5 games in Berkeley in the series.

Cal is 17-35 after a straight up loss, 4-11 on fieldturf, 6-17 overall, 4-12 against teams with winning records, 2-6 after rushing for less than 100 yards and in October, 7-22 after a straight up loss by 20 points or more, 4-14 in Pac 12 games, 1-4 against teams with winning road records, 3-13 after failing to cover, 3-14 at home, and 1-6 after a double digit home loss. The home team has covered the last 4 games in this series. The underdog is 12-5-1 ATS in the series recently. The Golden Bears are 6-2 ATS at home against the Bruins.

Amazingly, the road team is 15-4 straight up through 19 Pac 12 Conference games including Utah’s double overtime win at Oregon State Thursday night. That seems to point towards advantage Bruins. There is another reason UCLA is favored on the road. Cal’s defense is simply atrocious. UCLA isn’t exactly a defensive juggernaut either. This should be a high scoring game with an arena football or even basketball type score.

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