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Oklahoma Sooners vs. UCLA Bruins Point Spread - Pick

Oklahoma Sooners (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. UCLA Bruins (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS)
College Football Week 3
Date/Time: Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 8PM EDT
Where: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
TV: Fox

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: OKLA -23.5/UCLA +23.5
Over/Under Total: 66.5

The Oklahoma Sooners come out to the Rose Bowl for a week three matchup against the UCLA Bruins on Saturday. Oklahoma has started the season well enough with two wins, including a 70-14 rampage against South Dakota on Saturday. That followed a week one win over Houston. Now they face a tough trip to the west coast to face the Bruins, albeit against UCLA team that is faltering to open the season. They have not won or covered the spread, first falling to Cincinnati, 24-14, before losing to a San Diego State team that had lost to the Bruins 22 straight times and never beaten them. Will the Sooners continue to rampage or will the Bruins show some pluck and compete at home?

Last season, these teams played in Norman. Oklahoma was able to win rather handily, 49-21, as the Bruins covered the big 31-point spread. It's not as high this season, with UCLA at home, which will be a big relief from playing in Norman. In that game, UCLA's offense in no way shined, though they did score three TDs, which put the big spread a bit out of reach for the Sooners. Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw for 254 yards and while they didn't run the ball well by any means, they had moments of effectiveness, finding the end zone twice on the ground in a tough environment in Norman.

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Even if your expectations for Chip Kelly were low when he joined UCLA as their new head coach, his showing as he gets into his second season has been underwhelming with a 3-11 overall record. Getting beaten conclusively by Cincinnati and losing to a San Diego State team for the first time is not a good look. The man is known for offense, namely for what he did with the Oregon program. This season, the offense has been lethargic, ranked no better than 119th in scoring, rushing offense, and total offense. They're averaging 3.7 yards a play and it's been downright-painful to watch at times. Sure, they're young and with youth come mistakes. And those are things that can be improved upon over time. Still, it's not looking that good.

Conversely, Oklahoma has looked capable enough through two games. They didn't necessarily shine against Houston in a win where they didn't cover the spread. And a blowout over South Dakota hardly signals that the Sooners are going to be on top this season. But everything looks fairly in-order heading into week three. After two straight games at home to open the season, however, they now take to the road and it's not an easy spot, with the Sooners not that accustomed to the west coast. Luckily for them, the team they're playing isn't exactly a juggernaut heading into week three, whereas another west coast team could maybe give them a good challenge.

Enabling the Sooners to still be considered a contender is the arrival of quarterback Jalen Hurts to the program. He has thrown for nearly 600 yards with 6 TDs and no picks, while running for 223 yards and three scores. Hurts is a big-time talent and his ability to slide right into the Oklahoma offense and thrive immediately has given the Sooners a big boost. He seems to be more aerially-inclined than he was with Alabama and has already showcased his wheels in the young season. They're getting a lot of production already on the ground with Trey Sermon, Kennedy Brooks, and Rhamondre Stevenson. Through the air, CeeDee Lamb is back doing damage, with contributions from Charleston Rambo and Jadon Haselwood. And behind that big offensive line, a lot of things are going to be possible for this offense in 2019.

Granted, a case can be made for a very lopsided Oklahoma win in this matchup. The Bruins have looked ragged and being at home didn't help against a San Diego State team that couldn't manage a TD the previous week against an FCS team. Even at first glance, one would wonder why the Bruins are getting 8 less points than they were last season. But I think this falls into the category of a potential trap. Casual onlookers of college football will see this matchup and jump on the Sooners—with the mighty perennial power Oklahoma coming into town to face a UCLA team that got their butts kicked by Cincinnati and a rebuilding Aztecs bunch, at home no less. Seems so easy, doesn't it? That usually means trouble.

Those looking for daylight for the UCLA cause here can cite a few different things. One is that this version of Oklahoma is fairly untested and against a potentially-down Houston team, they didn't look very sharp. Despite the soft opposition, the defense doesn't seem to be in top-form, at least not early in the season. They haven't been very strong against the run in either game. UCLA, for all their issues and with such little support from the offense, has been playing pretty decent defense, allowing just 24 and 23 points in their two games, respectively.

There are a few drawbacks when it comes to taking the points and the Bruins in this game. One is that the threat of Jalen Hurts and his offense running loose in the Rose Bowl is a very real possibility. And generally, playing Oklahoma is no way to get an offense that was dying on a vine against Cincinnati and San Diego State on the right track. I just see this as being a tough enough spot where we won't see an utter Oklahoma destruction. I think they'll win without much drama, with UCLA having enough good things happen to cover the spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the UCLA Bruins plus 23.5 points. Bet the Oklahoma vs. UCLA game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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