Saturday, September 23rd, can officially be dubbed Pac-12’s “California Day” as this is the second all-California matchup of the day. In addition to USC at Cal, the UCLA Bruins will also travel north to the Bay Area to take on the Stanford Cardinal. Both teams desperately need a win in this one. Kickoff inside Stanford Stadium is at 10:30 P.M. ET.
Both of these teams are coming off last-minute losses in Week 3. For UCLA (2-1), they lost to Memphis on the road 48-45. The team is looking to get back on the winning track this week against a vulnerable Stanford team that is coming off a loss to San Diego State.
Is there any team in the Pac-12 that’s more disappointing than Stanford right now? Stanford was expected to contend for the Conference title this year, but have suffered two defeats in a row which effectively kills their chances of being a factor in the Pac-12 this year. They’re basically playing for a meaningless bowl game in late December.
The spread opened with Stanford favored by 10 points, but has come down to 8 points. At some books, you can get Stanford at -7.5 points. The Over/Under has held steady at 63 total points.
Stanford has dominated this head-to-head series over the last decade. In fact, UCLA has lost 9 straight games to Stanford and hasn’t won in this rivalry since 2008. But, if you have watched Stanford play this year, they look ripe for the picking this week. And, UCLA has the field general to accomplish this – quarterback Josh Rosen.
Rosen has already thrown for 1,283 yards on the season with an even more impressive TD-to-INT ratio of 13-to-2. His counterpart in Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst only has 497 passing yards with 4 TD passes and 2 interceptions. Speaking of Stanford, their defense is giving up an uncharacteristic amount of yards this year averaging over 405 yards per game.
In Week 2, Stanford played USC and allowed the equally impressive Sam Darnold to throw for 316 yards and 4 TD’s. I expect Rosen to eclipse these numbers as the UCLA offense is average 564 yards per game with 442 yards per game coming through the air.
For Stanford to win this game, they need to produce more on offense. Last week, they only tallied 254 total yards against the Aztecs and had 3 turnovers. Against USC, they were outgained 623 to 342. In fact, the only game where the Stanford offense looked good was opening week against Rice. And let’s face it, Rice isn’t a good team.
So, we come into this matchup with a weak Stanford offense and a defense that gives up big plays. That sounds like a recipe for an upset. At the very least, I believe UCLA will win ATS this week as I don’t see Stanford winning by more than a touchdown. In fact, I don’t see them winning at all. I think UCLA breaks their losing streak and holds on to one more week of Pac-12 relevancy, so let’s not get too carried away here. Even if UCLA pulls off the upset, they still have Oregon, at Washington, at Utah and at USC this year.
Stanford is 0-4 ATS in their last 4 home games and 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games against teams with a winning record.
I expect Rosen to throw for 400 yards and 3 touchdowns this game as the Bruins get the upset 38-35. I don’t see either team’s defense stopping the opposing offense. This game is also a good candidate to hit on the Over, which is 4-2 in the last 6 games between these 2 teams in Stanford. Additionally, the Over is 4-2 in UCLA’s last 6 games.