Both UCLA and Utah are coming off bye weeks and the home team has won the last four games in this series outright (Utah is 3-1 ATS L/4). Let’s take a closer look at the fundamental matchup between the Bruins and Utes:
The Bruins are averaging an incredible 52.7 points per game this season, including 5.9 yards per rush play, 9.1 yards per pass attempt and 614 total yards (7.3 yards per play). Overall, UCLA is 0.9 yards per pass attempt and 0.3 yards per play better than average offensively in 2013, but the Bruins’ explosive offense is best epitomized by the fact that they are averaging 11.7 yards per point! UCLA’s offense will get an additional boost tonight with the return of running back Damien Thigpen, who suffered a torn ligament in his left knee at USC on November 17. “It’s a definite – he’s going to play,” coach Jim Mora said. “Not that you want to get your running back hit, but when you’re coming off an injury like that it’s important that you take some shots. I think it builds your confidence when you do.”
Utah is averaging an impressive 42.0 points per game on 5.7 yards per rush play, 9.5 yards per pass play and 505 total yards (7.4 yards per play). Overall, the Utes are 1.3 yards per rush play, 1.7 yards per pass attempt and 1.5 yards per play better than average offensively this season. Utah has won its last two meetings at home against the Bruins by a combined 75-12 margin, and I expect another win tonight for the Utes.
I’m most impressed with the resilience shown by starting quarterback Travis Wilson, who completed 24-of-35 passes for 273 yards and two touchdowns following a career-high three interceptions against Oregon State. “Travis had another great game,” said receiver Dres Anderson, who caught eight passes for a career-high 141 yards. “He got hit a couple times, but he did his thing. Thank goodness he’s healthy and we’re progressing.” Utah ranks 16th nationally with 504.8 yards per game and 19th in scoring by averaging 42.0 points per game.
Tale of the Tape:
- UCLA has a 0.2 yards per play advantage offensively over the Utes’ stop unit;
- Utah has a 0.4 yards per play advantage offensively over the Bruins’ defense.
Utah is 9-3 ATS when playing with rest and 7-2 ATS as home underdogs, whereas the Bruins are 1-9 ATS as conference road favorites of 7 points or less, 2-7 with extended rest. Let’s also note that 3-0 Game Four conference favorites who scored 40+ points in each victory are 2-10-1 ATS versus an opponent with revenge. Take Utah plus the generous number and invest with confidence.