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NCAA Football Betting – Las Vegas Bowl UCLA at BYU
Dec. 22 – Las Vegas Bowl Preview Las Vegas, BYU (10-2) vs. UCLA (6-6), 8 p.m. (ESPN) (Coming Soon)
LAST POINTSPREAD RESULT: UCLA lost 24-7 to USC in the Los Angeles Coliseum, covering as a 19.5-point underdog but gaining only 168 yards on offense. BYU won a 48-27 decision over San Diego State, covering as a 16.5-point favorite.
LAST MEETING: These teams actually met back on September 8. UCLA almost blew a 20-0 lead, but held on for a 27-17 win, covering as an eight-point favorite. BYU’s Max Hall threw for 391 yards in that game, but BYU turned the ball over four times.
The Good News — Maybe it’s good, but maybe it’s bad. Either way, coach Karl Dorrell is out the door, replaced for this bowl game with defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker. The Bruins should be healthier than usual; QB Ben Olson, a BYU transfer who went down to injury in the loss to Notre Dame, is slated to start. Chris Markey, the star tailback who gained 598 yards in an injury-plagued season, should also feel better after some time to rest.
The Bad News — UCLA has been playing musical chairs at the quarterback position, at times being down to their fourth-string signal-caller, converted wide receiver Oscar Rasshan. As a result, the offense has often stalled; the Bruins have given up more touchdowns on defense (31) than they scored on offense (23). And the defense isn’t all that bad.
* UCLA has covered its last five games as an underdog
* UCLA has covered nine of its last ten games as an underdog
* UCLA has covered 12 of its last 17 games
* UCLA is 14-3 SU following a straight-up loss
The Good News — BYU averages 458 yards per game. That ranks 15th in the country. The Cougars also have a defense; BYU held opposition rushing attacks to only 2.9 yards a carry. Quarterback Max Hall threw 24 TD passes with only 12 interceptions. This team carries a nine-game winning streak into this bowl game.
The Bad News — BYU’s turnover ratio is minus-9. The rushing game, while not pedestrian, is nonetheless not a staple (4 ypc), and the Cougars were held to just 44 net rushing yards in the previous meeting with UCLA.
* BYU has played seven of 11 posted games UNDER the total
* BYU is 22-10 ATS in its last 32 games
* BYU is 9-2-1 ATS last 12 games after an ATS win
* BYU is 17-6-1 ATS last 24 as a favorite
THE BOTTOM LINE: What’s important to keep in mind is that the relative schedules of these teams is quite different. BYU plays in the Mountain West Conference, while UCLA competes in the Pac-10, which is much stronger. A big concern for UCLA is that the offense produced just 388 yards in the last two games combined. But with Olson against at the controls, this should start to resemble a bowl-level offense a bit more. In their last three games, UCLA played three teams who were at one point late in the season ranked at #2 in the country, and they held their own defensively against all three (covering all three games). And the Bruins have been double-tough as a dog, covering the last five and nine of the last ten in that role.
Las Vegas Bowl Free Pick: We’ll grab the points with UCLA, the 7-point underdog in the Top Sportsbooks NCAA football betting odds.
WHAT: The Las Vegas Bowl
WHO: UCLA Bruins (6-6 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. BYU Cougars (10-2 SU, 6-5 ATS)
WHEN & WHERE: December 22, 8 PM ET at San Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas (artificial turf)
BETUS COLLEGE FOOTBALL BETTING LINE: BYU -7, Total: 47
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