UCLA Season Win Total Prediction
After winning eight games a year ago, will the UCLA Bruins tack on one more victory this year to cover the over for their season win total projection?
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Bruins' over/under for wins in the regular season for 2016 has been set at 9. Bovada.lv offers even odds for bettors if they want the over, but the under carries odds of -130, which means bettors would win $100 on a winning wager of $130.
The Bruins started off hot a year ago by winning their first four games over Virginia, UNLV, then No. 19 BYU and then No. 16 Arizona before suffering their first loss of the season in a 38-23 defeat versus Arizona State. They were then throttled by then No. 15 Stanford 56-35 before rattling off wins against No. 20 Cal, Colorado and Oregon State before losing their third game to Washington State, 31-27. After beating the No. 13 Utah 17-9, they fell to USC on the road 40-21 before losing to Nebraska 37-29 in the Foster Farms Bowl.
Back in April, defensive tackle Kenny Clark was drafted by the Packers with the No. 27 overall pick in the first round and do-everything linebacker Myles Jack was selected in the second round by the Jaguars. Offensive tackle Caleb Benenoch (Bucs) and running back Paul Perkins (Giants) were taken with back-to-back picks in the fifth round, while receiver Jordan Payton was taken a few picks later by the Browns. Linebacker Aaron Wallace (Titans), tight end/receiver Thomas Duarte (Dolphins) and receiver Devin Fuller (Falcons) were the other UCLA draft picks this season.
How many wins will UCLA rack up in 2016?
I like the over. Even though he's only headed into his sophomore campaign, Josh Rosen is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation. The Bruins are moving to a pro-style offense this season and the change shouldn't affect the intelligent Rosen, who threw for 3,670 yards with 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as a true freshman last season. He also had the second-lowest sack rate in the country at 8 percent, and his game should only improve now that he has a taste of college football.
There are questions, of course. The losses on defense were significant, specifically Clark and Jack. Kennedy Polamalu also replaces Noel Mazzone as the team's offensive coordinator after Mazzone left UCLA to join Kevin Sumlin's staff at Texas A&M. Sophomore Soso Jamabo is also the favorite to replace Perkins after averaging just six yards per carry last year in a part-time role.
That said, the schedule is favorable. The Bruins will get Stanford, Arizona, Utah and USC at home this season, plus three (highly) winnable games versus UNLV, Colorado and Oregon State. UCLA can often be unpredictable under Mora, but if Rosen takes a leap in his development then the Bruins could be a sleeper to possible challenge for a playoff spot in 2016.
UCLA 2016 COLLEGE FOOTBALL OVER/UNDER WIN TOTAL PREDICTION: OVER 9