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UCLA Bruins vs. Utah Utes Point Spread - Pick

UCLA Bruins (4-4 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Utah Utes (4-4 SU, 5-2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 10
Date/Time: Friday, November 3, 2017 at 9:30PM EDT
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
TV: Fox Sports One

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: UCLA +5/UTAH -5
Over/Under Total: 60.5

The UCLA Bruins come to Salt Lake City on Friday to take on the Utah Utes on Friday in Pac-12 action in week ten. Neither team had a great time of it last week. UCLA went to Seattle for a tough matchup against Washington, losing 44-23, to fall to 4-4 on the season. Utah is also 4-4, but getting to that mark has been a bit more-painful. After a 4-0 start, Utah lost its fourth straight on Saturday, roughed up in a 41-20 loss to Oregon. While not the most high-stakes game, this Friday battle is important for both teams, each of whom want to salvage something this season.

Since getting QB Tyler Huntley back two games ago, Utah has not really responded. Against an Oregon team that was slipping and is playing with a back-up QB, they were pretty flat on both sides of the ball. They were looking good getting off to a 4-0 start. And even in losing their first two games to Stanford and USC, the margins were extremely tight. But in their last two games against Arizona State and Oregon, they looked really bad. They lost both games by a combined 41 points, despite being favored in both games. For a team that went the first 6 weeks of the season without failing to cover the spread, the Utes have become a pretty dicey proposition.

Earlier in the season, the Utah offense seemed to really rise under the leadership of Tyler Huntley. Losing him to injury hurt, as the Utes looked like a different unit under his dynamic play. For them to fall so flat over the last two weeks has been a tough development. To lose is one thing and in this conference, it seems like anyone can beat anyone this season. But to stink it up as favorites in consecutive weeks is a tough pill to swallow. Huntley moved the offense well, but sustaining drives was a problem. The run game with Zack Moss was pretty inept and Huntley, usually lively with his legs, couldn't spring much. Outside of WR Darren Carrington, the bright spots on this offense have been minimal over the last handful of games.

The Utah defense has seemingly gotten worse over the course of the season. They started off looking good, but haven't been able to maintain. It doesn't help that their pass-rush is non-existent in some spots. They have been able to make plays at times during the season, with 19 turnovers registered through 8 games. They are strong in the middle with Kavika Luafatasaga and Sunia Tauteoli, with playmaking in the secondary with Marquise Blair, Chase Hansen, and Julian Blackmon. But if they want to finish the season strongly, they will need to discover the fire they showed earlier in the campaign.

UCLA was hanging in there with Washington for a little bit, as it was 10-9 Huskies in the 2nd quarter. But five straight Washington scores had it 37-9, with the Bruins adding a few late scores to make what was really a solid beating look a little more-respectable. Washington didn't even need to use much of its aerial attack, with the Bruins being painfully-easy to run against this season. With Washington putting up 333 yards rushing, it once again confirmed UCLA's ineptitude in this area—something that Utah will be looking to exploit.

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The UCLA offense just wasn't up-to-snuff on Saturday. Josh Rosen was sacked four times and looked ragged, forcing him to be pulled for Devon Modster and his status will be evaluated this week as he was seen limping. Whatever the case, Rosen's stock has fallen precipitously over the last two years, as has the Bruins.' The aerial attack has some juice. But they can barely run the ball and the drawbacks to being the worst team in the nation against the run has really manifested this season. Still, with recent wins over Colorado and Oregon, they have shown they can be competitive at this level in conference-play. This week, they look for the air-attack to surface, with that being the best part of their game with Darren Andrews and Jordan Lasley leading the way.

UCLA's defense is giving up 37.6 points a game and their run-defense is now officially at slapstick status. Sure, there have been injuries and key offseason departures that have led to this, but to not be able to field a more-respectable run "D" is really disgraceful for this program. We'll see how they fare against a Utah offense that doesn't really run the ball that well, but even teams where the rush isn't their forte, UCLA has been struggling to keep their noses above water. Making the story worse is that this defense has come up snake-eyes all season when it comes to manufacturing something positive. Whether it's a pass-rush or an ability to create turnovers, this defense has not been able to make that or much of anything good happen. There are players in the secondary like Jaleel Wadood, Nate Starks, Darnay Holmes, and Adarius Pickett who are pretty good, but when the front is so bad, it's not clear how much it really matters.

This game is not easy to predict. Utah is in really bad form and UCLA has holes you can drive a bus through. UCLA has shown a bit more fire at this level and is maybe a bit more stabilized. They are who they've been this season for the most part, while Utah is more in the mode of trying to manage a downfall. Betting on either team takes a certain level of moxie. UCLA's defense is completely unreliable, while Utah has deteriorated on both sides of the ball. I feel like taking the points in this matchup.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the UCLA Bruins plus 5 points.Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the UCLA vs. Utah game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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