UCLA vs. Cincinnati Spread Pick
The UCLA Bruins will kick off the Chip Kelly era on Saturday night when they host the Cincinnati Bearcats at 7:00 p.m. ET. Are the Bruins laying too many points to the Bearcats?
7:00 p.m. ET, Saturday, September 1, 2018
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
Public Betting Trends
According to oddsmakers from online sports book BetNow.eu, the Bruins are 14.5-point favorites to beat the Bearcats. The total, meanwhile, sits at 62.5 points. As of this writing, 55% of the public betting tickets wagered on this matchup are on the Bruins.
On Cincinnati's depth chart for their Week 1 showdown with UCLA, starting quarterback was listed as senior QB Hayden Moore OR redshirt freshman Desmond Ritter. It was somewhat assumed that Moore would simply take the job outright in camp, but looks like Ritter gave him a run for his money. We don't blame Bearcats HC Luke Fickell for keeping his options open. Moore's a player who has underwhelmed at multiple turns in his career, especially in light of his occasional ability to put out a huge statistical showing. As Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline puts it, Moore has "never [taken] his game to another level."
UCLA named senior QB Wilton Speight starter for the upcoming season. Speight (6'6/232) was fighting it out with sophomore Devon Modster and true frosh Dorian Thompson-Robinson in preseason camp. The three were initially listed as co-starters when the Bruins released their depth chart earlier this week, but no more cloak and dagger games for HC Chip Kelly (at least on this front). Speight transferred over from Michigan in the spring after turning in a mostly unforgettable stint of action in Ann Arbor. His strongest showing came during the 2016 season, when he threw for 2,538 yards (61.6-percent completions) with an 18/7 TD/INT ratio. He's also got the movement skills of a statue, making him -- at least outwardly -- something of a different fit for Kelly's offense than we saw most recently with Marcus Mariota. Great coaches adapt to their personnel, though. We'll get our first opportunity to watch Speight in action in his new digs when the Bruins take on Cincinnati on Saturday.
Cincinnati is 8-20 against the spread in its last 28 games overall.
UCLA is 1-8 against the number in its last nine games played in the month of September.
The choice to go with Speight is interesting because he isn’t the typical Kelly-led quarterback. He’s more of a pocket passer but hey, so was Nick Foles and Kelly had great success with Foles in Philadelphia a few years ago. Nevertheless, I think this game is much closer than oddsmakers suggest with this point spread. Hayden Moore has a lot of experience under center for Cincinnati and the Bearcats return their leading passer, rusher and receiver this season. With that much experience on offense, I like Cincinnati to hang within the two touchdowns.
College Football Week 1 Prediction: Cincinnati Bearcats +14.5