Oregon vs UCLA Preview & Free Pick [October 23rd 2021]

Oregon (5-1) at UCLA (5-2)
When: Saturday, October 23rd, 2021
Where: Rose Bowl,
Pasadena, CA
Time: 3:30 ET | TV: ABC
Opening Odds: Pickem/58

The Oregon Ducks look to stay atop the Pac-12 North standings when they had to Pasadena, California to take on former head coach Chip Kelly and the UCLA Bruins. Oregon’s win at Ohio State on September 11 was not only one of their biggest in program history, but it also represents the only game they covered the spread in. The rest of the games have been mostly a struggle including the last two weeks that saw them lose to Stanford and barley get by California 24-17 at home. At 2-1, the Ducks are tied with rival Oregon State in the standings and are the only team in the conference with just one overall loss.

UCLA has played back-to-back solid road games in winning 34-16 at Arizona and 24-17 last week at Washington. That was after a home loss to Arizona State, the Bruins’ second loss at the Rose Bowl this season. UCLA recorded 420 yards of total offense to 267 for the Huskies last week in Seattle. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson had three touchdowns – two passing and one rushing – while totaling 270 scrimmage yards. Oregon has won seven of the past eight meetings but hasn’t beaten the Bruins in Pasadena since 2014. UCLA is a 1-point favorite with a total of 60.5.

Quarterback Anthony Brown was an efficient 20-of-28 last week for 244 yards and a touchdown in the win over Cal. He also ran for 44 yards and a score. Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead is back to calling plays after needing surgery while the Ducks lost at Stanford three weeks ago, and he is cleared to travel with the team this week. Moorhead supports Brown, who is hearing pressure from the Duck fans. Oregon entered Week 7 16th in the nation with 216.0 rushing yards per game and 23rd with 5.2 yards per carry. Oregon is one of just two teams in the nation, along with Coastal Carolina, to rush for at least 180 yards in every game this season. The Ducks have outscored opponents 72-31 in the fourth quarter this year, scoring points on 10 of 16 fourth-quarter drives.

The Bruins beat the Huskies on the ground last week behind running back Zach Charbonnet, who carried the ball 21 times for 131 yards, while Thompson-Robinson added 87 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Charbonnet, a transfer from Michigan, now has five 100-yard games and averages better than 6 yards per carry. Overall, the Bruins had 237 rushing yards on 40 carries. The Ducks surrendered 155 rushing yards on 4.3 yards per carry in their win over California last week, so UCLA’s focus might stay the same. Thompson-Robinson completed 21-of-26 for 183 yards last week and is averaging 8.6 yards per pass attempt on the season.

Both of these teams are hard to figure out, and this line indicates that the oddsmakers think Oregon is slightly better. I know the Ducks haven’t looked fantastic, but I keep looking back at that impressive win in Columbus. UCLA is just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 home games as a favorite and the Ducks have covered five of seven in Pasadena.

Pick: Oregon +1
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