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The UCLA Bruins (7-5) and Boise State Broncos (8-5) are on a crash course for a meeting in the Starco Brands LA Bowl on Saturday.
The Bruins had a chance to play close to New Year’s Eve but lost three of their last four games, which marked a relatively disappointing end to a promising regular season. Boise State enters the matchup in a completely different mindset, having won its last four games and just blown out UNLV 44-20.
Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the UCLA vs. Boise State Starco Brands LA Bowl showdown.
|Over 49.5 (-110)
|Under 49.5 (-110)
As is the case with teams all over the country, the Bruins will be without a couple of key figures when they take the field on Saturday.
Three coaches, most notably former defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn, will be absent. Lynn worked wonders with the UCLA defense but was pried away by inner-city rivals USC, and defensive line/outside linebacker coach Ikaika Malloe will call plays in his absence.
Defensive lineman and top draft prospect Laiatu Latu will also be out as he intends to prepare for the NFL Combine and Draft.
Chip Kelly’s offense was not anything special this season, ranking 77th in points per game (25.8). Freshman QB Dante Moore and Junior Ethan Garbers both split time under center this season, with Moore claiming the start in the team’s most recent outing against Cal. The pair combined for 2,594 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions for a team ranked 59th in passing offense.
The Bruins were strong running the ball all season. Their 191.1 yards per game, led by backs Carson Steele and TJ Harden, ranked 21st in Division-I.
The real strength of the Bruins is their defense. They give up just 299 yards and 18.1 points per game, which ranked 11th and 15th respectively. They also generated the sixth-most sacks per game (3.4) and tied for the 13th-most takeaways (23).
On the other side, the Broncos ranked 31st in scoring offense (32.9 points per game). Running back Ashton Jeanty ranked 12th in the country with 1,262 rushing yards (6.2 yards per carry) and also scored 19 total times.
Starting QB Tayler Green already announced his intent to transfer to Arkansas, and Maddux Madsen is recovering from a torn MCL, which should leave freshman CJ Tiller in line to make the start.
Tiller, listed at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, did not throw a single pass this season. He was recruited as their 40th-ranked QB in his class out of Rancho Cucamonga High School in California.
The Broncos ran the ball on 71.9% of snaps this season and should lean into the run even more with the freshman ready to make his first appearance of his college career.
Boise State’s defense was decent but not amazing. It gave up 24.4 points per game but had a standout mark of 17th in sacks per game (2.77). They were fairly average on third down and only gave up 123.6 rushing yards per game on 3.87 yards per carry, which ranked 29th.
As worrying as it is that a true freshman quarterback is about to play his first snaps of the year in a bowl game, Boise State had a great running game all year and will be going against a defense down its anchor in the center of the line and regular play-caller. UCLA also doesn’t have enough explosiveness in the passing game to overwhelm the Broncos’ defense, which can create pressure and get the QB on the ground.
These quarterbacks aren’t going to drive the game over its projected total on their own, and we also expect to see a lot of runs, particularly from Boise State. That should lead to both teams draining the clock and having fewer opportunities to plow into the end zone, which should lead to the game falling under its projected total.
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Where: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
When: Saturday, Dec. 16, 4:30/7:30 p.m. PT/ET
Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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