Oregon Ducks vs. UCLA Bruins Picks and Game Preview - 10/23/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Where to watch: ABC

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: UCLA -2.5
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: UCLA -2

Season record
No. 10 Oregon: 5-1 (2-1 Pac-12)
UCLA: 5-2 (3-1 Pac-12)

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Oregon - UCLA preview and analysis


Last week
Oregon: won 24-17 vs. Cal on Oct. 15
UCLA: won 24-17 at Washington on Oct. 16

Little would anyone think that an October matchup could decide the fate of the Pac-12, let alone a game featuring the Oregon Ducks and UCLA Bruins.

But here we are, halfway through the college football season and the Ducks are in must-win territory going into the Rose Bowl on Saturday. A win gets the Bruins bowl eligible under Chip Kelly and one step closer to first place in the Pac-12 South, while keeping pace with the Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils.

Yet a win for Oregon would put the Ducks in an enviable position with the rest of the North. Oregon and Oregon State are both 2-1, while the Washington State Cougars are sitting at 3-2 in conference play ready to make things crazy.

The Ducks bounced back in a much-needed way last week against the California Golden Bears, winning in a 24-17 battle at home. Anthony Brown had a decent performance throwing the ball, going 20 of 28 for 244 yards and a touchdown, while Travis Dye dominated on the ground with 145 yards and a touchdown.

That’s really the only downside for the Ducks last Friday. Outside of two total touchdowns from Brown and the scamper from Dye, the Oregon offense didn’t connect in a way some would’ve liked. But that strong defense did its part in holding Cal to 17 points and just enough to have Oregon rally from down a touchdown to win.
That unit, which averages 33.8 points per game, has been held under 30 for two straight weeks against rather strong competition. This week won’t be any different with a UCLA defense that has been so good against the run this season (91 rush YPG).

Brown is going to need to win this game through the air, and going on the road in an environment against this tough group seems unlikely.

The Bruins are coming off a seven-point win at the Washington Huskies. Star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson combined for 270 total yards and three touchdowns, and Zach Charbonet had 131 yards on 21 carries against what’s turned into a really bad Huskies team this season.

UCLA has won three of four since losing to the Fresno State Bulldogs in that last-second lost over a month ago with the only loss to Arizona State. Safe to say, not a bad stretch to get back into contention.

Prediction


In a perfect world, it’s hard to expect Oregon to falter twice in three weeks to unranked opponents, but UCLA won’t be unranked long after this week. The running game will give Oregon fits, and trusting Brown to win through the air isn’t an ideal situation. UCLA by 8

Betting trends


Oregon is 49-24 ATS since 1992 when its line is between +3 to -3.

Oregon is 17-7 ATS in its last 24 following three or more straight losses ATS.

UCLA is 8-20 ATS since 1992 following a two-game road trip.

Statistical leaders


Oregon:
Passing: Anthony Brown -- 1,194 yards, 7 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Travis Dye -- 527 yards, 4 TD
Receiving: Johnny Johnson III -- 200 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Noah Sewell -- 54 tackles, 3 sacks

UCLA:
Passing: Dorian Thompson-Robinson -- 1,419 yards, 13 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Zach Charbonnet -- 697 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Greg Dulcich -- 374 yards, 3 TD
Defense: Datona Jackson -- 3.5 sacks

Don't miss our champion handicappers' free picks and expert football picks today. And if you enjoyed this Oregon - UCLA prediction, be sure to drop by every day for our daily NCAA projections and previews.

Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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