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The Bruins (5-2 overall, 3-1 in the Pac-12 South and a half-game behind Utah) and the Ducks (5-1, 2-1 and tied atop the Pac-12 North) aren’t in the same division, but this is still an important game as both are trying to earn a spot in the conference title game.
VSiN’s Tim Murray breaks down the matchup and gives his best bet.
Oregon Ducks at UCLA (-1 1/2, 60)
There are four games on the schedule this week featuring an unranked team favored over a ranked team, including this showdown in the Rose Bowl. The Ducks are 1-5 against the spread this season but their lone cover came as 14 1/2-point underdogs at Ohio State in Week 2.
Last Friday, Oregon needed a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns in order to slip past Cal 24-17. Quarterback Anthony Brown has done a nice job with ball security this season with just one interception, but he’s only completing 58.9% of his passes.
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson played well in a 24-17 road win last weekend at Washington, going 21 of 26 for 183 yards with two touchdowns through the air and rushing for 87 yards. Additionally, running back Zach Charbonnet is 15th in the country with 697 yards on the ground. Charbonnet has rushed for 100 yards or more in all five of the Bruins wins this season while failing to reach the century mark in the two losses. The Ducks are 59th nationally in rushing yards allowed per game. Oregon has been hit with a bunch of injuries on the defensive side of the ball this season with linebackers Justin Flowe and Dru Mathis sidelined in addition to safety Bennett Williams.
Offensively, the Ducks lost running back CJ Verdell in early October against Stanford, but Travis Dye stepped up against Cal with 145 rushing yards and 73 receiving yards. UCLA enters the weekend as the ninth-best rushing defense in the country, allowing just 91 rushing yards per game.
Can UCLA’s offensive line keep Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux from wreaking havoc? The Bruins’ offensive line (as well as Oregon’s) was named to the Joe Moore Award midseason honor roll, an annual award handed out to the nation’s most outstanding offensive line.
Oregon opened as a short one-point favorite when Circa Sports in Las Vegas opened the market on Sunday and sharp action quickly flipped the favorites. If Thompson-Robinson can continue to play well and the UCLA defense limits Dye and forces Brown to beat them, the Bruins should emerge with a victory on Saturday afternoon.
Pick: UCLA -2
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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.