In four seasons under head coach Jim Mora, UCLA is 4-0 straight up and 3-1 against the spread on its first road trip of the year. This year, the Bruins begin their season with a trip to College Station, Texas, to take on the Aggies of A&M at Kyle Field on Saturday afternoon.
Point spread: Aggies opened as three-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 31.6-28.2 Bruins
Why the UCLA Bruins can cover the spread
After falling to 8-5 last year, their worst season under Mora, the Bruins look to bounce back. The oddsmakers seem to like their chances, because as this season approaches, UCLA is the favorite to win the Pac-12 South and at just +400 (wager $100 to win $400) on the odds to win the Pac-12 championship.
The Bruins only return four starters on offense, following the losses of last year’s top rusher, top two receivers and three along the line, but they do return Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Josh Rosen (60 percent completion rate, 23 touchdowns as a freshman last year). Also, nine starters return on defense, and that doesn’t include tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, who is back after missing last year to injury.
Expect UCLA to improve upon the 26 points per game it gave up last year.
Why the Texas A&M Aggies can cover the spread
The Aggies are also trying to bounce back after going 8-5 each of the last two seasons, but that might be a little harder to do playing in the SEC West. This year, A&M returns 13 starters, and six are back on offense, which is led by one of the best receiving corps in all of FBS. And that doesn’t include senior transfer quarterback Trevor Knight, who started 15 games in parts of two seasons at Oklahoma.
On the other side of the ball, seven starters are back, including last year’s top five tacklers. The Aggies averaged 28 points per game in 2015 while allowing just 22 points per game, and they could improve both those figures this season.
UCLA owns the edge at quarterback, while A&M holds an edge on defense. This game almost seems destined to come down to a field goal, and in cases like this, it’s nice to have three points in your pocket rather than leaving them at the betting window. The smart money here backs the Bruins, plus the points.
Texas A&M is 1-5 ATS in its last six games at home.
The total has gone under in Texas A&M’s last five games.
UCLA is 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS in its last 12 games in Week 1.
All point spread and betting lines data courtesy of Odds Shark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Odds Shark on Twitter and YouTube for injury information, line-movement updates and more game analysis, and get the free odds-tracker app.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News