The UCLA Bruins and Texas A&M Aggies will both be looking to get off to a positive start when they square off in one of the most interesting Week 1 matchups on the 2017 college football schedule.
The Aggies will travel to the Rose Bowl to take on Bruins on Sunday, September 3 at 6:30 PM ET with this matchup airing live on FOX TV. Now, let’s find out which one of these teams is the right pick to win and cover the college football betting spread.
Texas A&M Aggies Vs UCLA Bruins College Football Week 1 Spread & Pick
Texas A&M Aggies (0-0) at UCLA Bruins (0-0)
When: Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 7:30 PM ET
Where: Rose Bowl
Spread: UCLA Bruins -3.5
Fox Sports Go
Why Bet the Texas A&M Aggies
The Texas A&M Aggies got off to a fantastic 6-0 start last season but fell apart by losing 5 of their final 7 games to finish the season at a modest 8-5, including 4-4 in the SEC West. Mike Sumlin’s team was fine on offense as the Aggies put up a healthy 34.8 points per game to rank 34th nationally in scoring.
However, even with six returning starters, Sumlin will have a new starting quarterback in 2017 following the departure of Trevor Knight. While Sumlin has yet to name a starter, I’m guessing it will be gifted true freshman Kellen Mond, the four-star recruit out of IMG Academy in Florida. Jake Hubenak, and Nick Starkel are also battling for the job, but I’m going with the clearly physically gifted Mond.
Whoever starts under center will be handing off early and often to running back tandem Trayveon Williams (1,057 yards) and Keith Ford. Star wide receiver Christian Kirk is back and Sumlin has more elite talent at the wide receiver position in Hezekiah Jones, Jhamon Ausbon, and Roshauud Paul.
Defensively, Texas A&M held their opponents last season to an average of 24.5 points per game last season and have seven returning starters. Unfortunately, they lost All-American defensive end Myles Garrett. Sumlin is hoping that the combination of ends, Qualen Cunningham and Jarrett Johnson can help replace Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. There are concerns in the secondary and linebacker units.
Why Bet the UCLA Bruins
The UCLA Bruins fell completely apart late last season by losing six of their final seven games in 2016. The good new however is that head coach Jim Mora will have elite quarterback Josh Rosen back on the field after he suffered a costly shoulder injury a year ago that limited him to just six games.
Without Rosen, a future NFL signal-caller, the Bruins struggled offensively while putting up just 24.9 points per game to rank 96th nationally in scoring. The good news is that the Bruins return all but one starter on the offensive line and Rosen has some experienced targets to throw to in wide receivers Darren Andrew, Jordan Lasley and Eldridge Massington. More importantly, Mora hired four new offensive coaches to revitalize the Bruins, including new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.
Defensively, the Bruins need to replace three starters that all went to the NFL in Takkarist McKinley, Jayon Brown and Fabian Moreau.
Gifted linebacker Kenny Young is expected to lead the way after recording five sacks and eight tackles for a loss last season
Texas A&M Vs UCLA Week 1 Betting Pick
I’m going to urge you to back the UCLA Bruins to get the win and narrow ATS cover at home, mostly because they’ll have the edge at quarterback with Josh Rosen back on the field. Texas A&M should struggle to stop UCLA’s aerial attack, even though I suspect they’ll still put their fair share of points on the board.
I’m expecting this Week 1 pairing to be something of a shootout with the Aggies coming out on top at the very end. Texas A&M is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight non-conference games and 5-16 ATS in their last 21 games overall while UCLA has gone 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against teams from the SEC. Josh Rosen will be the difference in this one!
Pick: UCLA 35 Texas A&M 28