UCLA and Texas A&M will kick off their respective 2016 regular seasons hoping to reach the four-team College Football Playoff when they square off in an intriguing Week 1 showdown.
Both teams won a respectable eight games a year ago and are hoping for bigger and better as they get set for their 2016 opener. Now, let’s find out which one of these playoff hopefuls will cover the ATS betting line!
UCLA Bruins Vs Texas A&M Aggies Week 1 Spread & ATS Pick
The public is 57% on the Texas A&M Aggies to cover the college football week 1 point spread. The point spread opened at TXAM -1.5. The line movement indicates more money is being placed on the side of the Texas A&M Aggies to cover.
What: No. 16 UCLA Bruins (0-0) at Texas A&M Aggies (0-0)
When: Saturday, September 3, 2016
Start Time: 3:30 PM ET
Where: Kyle Field
Stadium: College Station, TX
Spread: Texas A&M -3
Moneyline: UCLA +135 vs Texas A&M -155
Game Total: 44.5
Stream: CBS Sports
Listen: UCLA vs Texas A&M
Bet The UCLA Bruins at +3 Because…
The Bruins (8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS) are a good bet because they have the better quarterback and defense in this Week 1 opener.
UCLA has nine returning starters on defense and a gifted young quarterback that proved himself in a big way last season.
Head coach Jim Mora needs to find replacements for gifted running back Paul Perkins, both starting wide receivers and thee of five starters on the offensive line.
The good news is that Mora has a ‘special’ quarterback in sophomore signal-caller Josh Rosen, a player that earned Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year honors last season after throwing for 3,669 yards and 23 touchdowns, although he did toss a costly 11 interceptions.
UCLA’s defense struggled mightily to stop the run last year in allowing three opponents to rush for at least 300 yards, including Nebraska in their season-ending Foster Farms Bowl game loss.
UCLA needs to find replacements for their top two defensive players from last season in All-American nose tackle Kenny Clark and gifted hybrid linebacker/safety Myles Jack.
Still, UCLA has plenty of talent to reload with starting with linebacker and 2015 leading tackler Jaylon Brown. The Bruins also have all four starters back from a secondary that led the Pac-12 in pass defense a year ago.
Bet The Texas A&M Aggies at -3 Because…
The Aggies (8-5 SU, 5-8 ATS) are a good bet in this Week 1 matchup because they can score the ball with the best teams in all of college football and are playing at home.
Texas A&M return six starters from its 2015 team but needs to replace three starters on the offensive line and will have a new starting quarterback in graduate transfer Trevor Knight.
Knight, a dual-threat signal-caller that got beat out by Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma, will be A&M’s fourth different starting quarterback in four years, but the former Sooner showed flashes of stardom by leading Oklahoma to a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama in 2013 while throwing for over 2,300 yards in 2014.
Running back Keith Ford, another transfer from Oklahoma, is expected to take over as the starting running back and the Aggies have a solid group of wide receivers that is led by sophomore Christian Kirk (80 receptions, 1,009 yards and seven touchdowns), senior Josh Reynolds, an All-SEC selection two years ago and Ricky Seals-Jones who had 45 catches for 560 yards as a sophomore last season.
Defensively, the Aggies returns seven starters, including dominating junior All-America defensive end Myles Garrett and senior Daeshon Hall. The pair combined for 19.5 sacks in 2015 and could improve on that figure this coming season.
The Aggies will need some solid play out of their new starting defensive tackles, Daylon Mack and Kingsley Keke as well as linebacker Otaro Alaka, the Defensive MVP of the 2014 Liberty Bowl and sophomore Richard Moore.
In the secondary, the Aggies are very solid after finishing fourth nationally in passing yards allowed (166.3 ypg). Safeties Justin Evans and Armani Watts are as good as any pair in the country while nickel back Donovan Wilson led the team with five interceptions last season.
UCLA vs Texas A&M ATS Pick & Final Score Prediction
UCLA will enter the 2016 regular season with their fair share of question marks, but with talented quarterback Josh Rosen under center, the Bruins are my pick to get the win in their opener despite being on the road.
Texas A&M has had a dysfunctional offseason with several players bolting for greener pastures and the Aggies still have several unanswered questions at quarterback, not to mention, multiple new starters on both, the offensive and defensive lines.
I’m going with the UCLA Bruins to cover the college football betting line, mostly because they’ll have the best quarterback on the field in the promising Josh Rosen!