UCLA Bruins vs. Colorado Buffaloes – College Football, November 7, 2020
The Pac-12 college football season is finally getting underway.
UCLA commutes to Boulder this weekend hoping to kick the year off on the right foot. The Bruins are coming off a disastrous 4-8 campaign that included three straight losses to close out the year. On the other hand, the Buffaloes weren’t much better at 5-7 and have replaced their head coach and starting quarterback.
As for what we can expect to pan out come Saturday, let’s dive into a UCLA vs. Colorado prediction.
UCLA vs. Colorado Odds
Sustaining success over a long period when you bet sports online requires you to shop your lines. This rings true in this Pac-12 matchup where the line is UCLA -6.5 at the majority of sportsbooks.
Nevertheless, the Buffs are lurking at +7 at BetNow as of early evening on Wednesday. With no current season data to fall back on, let’s take a quick peek at these two schools’ ATS numbers in 2019.
- Colorado went 6-6 against the spread last season.
- UCLA went 4-7-1 against the spread last season.
Meet the 2020 Bruins
If you ask Chip Kelly to assess his bunch in 2020, he’ll hang his hat on the fact that a large chunk of the players have experience on their side.
It starts with junior QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson – now entering his third year guiding UCLA’s offense. Strides were made and his productivity increased, but DTR completed under 60% of his throws for the second straight year. The offense waved goodbye to stud running back Joshua Kelley, although Kyle Philips leads a receiving corps that remains pretty much intact.
The offense should be fine, but the major questions for Chip Kelly come on the other side of the football. Simply put, UCLA was deplorable on defense a season ago.
Yielding 311 passing yards/game and a 44.23% conversion rate on third down, the Bruins only intercepted a total of five passes as teams in the Pac-12 feasted on a weak secondary.
Let’s hope this switch to a 4-2-5 scheme on defense improves Jerry Azzinaro’s unit.
Meet the 2020 Buffaloes
Mel Tucker took the job in East Lansing and Steven Montez has graduated, meaning Colorado heads into 2020 with a new coach and a new quarterback. Karl Dorrell returns to the Pac-12 after spending the last five years coaching receivers in the NFL, and the former UCLA lead man hasn’t shut the door on Tyler Lytle getting some snaps under center.
With that being said, he has committed to leaning on Sam Noyer from the outset.
Talk about a big-time athlete, Noyer spent time playing safety last season and is no stranger to prospering in the pocket. The 6’4” senior was the top-ranked quarterback prospect coming out of the state of Oregon and has patiently waited for this opportunity.
Among the Buffs pass-catchers to keep an eye on, K.D. Nixon is undoubtedly the leader of the group. The defense will be a work in progress after being mediocre in 2019, but there is a newcomer in the secondary poised to make a difference right away.
CB Christian Gonzalez is on track to become just the 14th known true freshman in Colorado history to start in a season opener. The last was DT Israel Antwine in 2018. Other 3 other CBs have done it: Victor Scott in 1980, Greg Henderson in 2011, Ken Crawley in 2012 #cubuffs— Brian Howell (@BrianHowell33) November 4, 2020
I think the Buffaloes might just be a tad better than people are giving them credit for.
UCLA vs. Colorado Pick
The casual fans are hopping all over the Bruins with their UCLA vs. Colorado prediction. I know this because ESPN’s spread consensus pick tool points out that 71% of the public is backing the Bruins to cover.
Consider me part of the 29% on the other side.
Showcased as one of my college football upset picks for Saturday, latching onto Colorado at home getting a full touchdown is a much safer play.
More Pac-12 Predictions on Saturday
Looking to dip your toes into some other Pac-12 matchups this weekend? I’ve got you covered with a couple of college football picks below.