The UCLA Bruins and 18th-ranked Utah Utes will both be looking to bounce back from humbling Week 11 losses when they square off in their Pac-12 pairing on Saturday. However, one of these New Year’s Day Bowl Game 6 hopefuls teams looks like a virtual lock to win and cash in.
A Closer Look At The UCLA Bruins at No. 18 Utah Utes College Football Week 12 Betting Line
What: UCLA Bruins (7-3) at No. 18 Utah Utes (8-2)
When: Saturday, November 21, 2015
Kickoff: 3:30 PM ET
Where: Salt Lake City, UT
Stadium: Rice-Eccles Stadium
Weather: 45° F | More Sun Than Clouds
Betting Line: Utah -3
Moneyline: UCLA +130 vs Utah -150
Game Total: 58.5
Stream: Fox Sports Go
Listen: UCLA vs Utah
Bet The UCLA Bruins at +2 Because…
UCLA had its three-game winning streak snapped in their heartbreaking 31-27 home loss against Washington State while never coming close to covering the spread as an 11.5-point home fave.
Freshman quarterback Josh Rosen completed 33 of 57 passes for 340 yards but failed to throw a touchdown in the loss. Gifted running back Paul Perkins rushed for 121 yards on 20 carries, but he too, failed to find the end zone.
In the end, the Bruins couldn’t overcome two costly lost fumbles or the Cougars’ potent offense.
"It’s a great conference. I think we’re eating ourselves up a little bit," Bruins coach Jim Mora Jr. said after the loss. "It’s unfortunate, but it’s a great conference. Very competitive, it’s hard. There’s no easy week."
The good news for UCLA however is that they’ve won 11 of their last dozen road games.
"I don’t know if it’s these kids’ DNA or their background or what it is, but when they’re the underdog and people tell them they can’t do it and they’re on the road in a hostile environment, something happens to them," Mora said. "They rise up. I would hope that could happen again for us."
UCLA is ranked 32nd in scoring (35.2 ppg) and 55th in points allowed (25.2 ppg).
Bet The Utah Utes at -2 Because…
The Utes have had their playoff hopes derailed by suffering two losses over the last four weeks, including their heartbreaking 37-30 double overtime loss against Arizona last Saturday. Now, the Utes enter this Week 12 matchup with a heightened sense of urgency as they look to keep their Pac-12 title hopes alive.
"These next two weeks will be very interesting," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We have no margin for error, obviously. Our backs are to the wall and we’ve got to find a way to beat UCLA this weekend. USC has two tough games at Oregon and UCLA the next week. So, anything can happen and we’re by no means out of it.
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson completed 20 of 31 passes for 219 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while running back Devin Booker rushed for 145 yards and one score on 34 carries.
"He runs with a real passion to get yards. He’s an exceptional player," Mora said. "I’m glad he’s a senior. I look forward to watching him on Sundays next year and not Saturdays because he’s a special player."
The Utes won the time of possession battle by over 15 minutes and went 8-for-17 on third downs while limiting the Wildcats to just 3-for-11 success on third down.
Still, they couldn’t stop Arizona when it mattered most, getting outscored 10-3 in overtime.
"They’re still moping around, some of them," cornerback Justin Thomas said of his teammates. "That’s pretty tough, but we’ve just got to be positive about the situation. We’ve got two more games left.”
The Utes are ranked 40th in scoring (33.4 ppg) and 44th in points allowed (23.1 ppg).
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
A convincing 66 percent of the betting public likes Utah to win and cover the spread in this contest and I agree, mostly because the Utes are totally desperate – and playing at home.
The Bruins may be 4-1 ATS in their last five road games, but Utah has put together an identical 4-1 ATS mark over their last five games following an ATS loss while also going 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games against a team with a winning record.
Utah is also 4-1 ATS in their last five games against the Bruins, making them my pick to win and cover the spread in this contest.