First place in the South Division of the Pac-12 is up for grabs Friday night between two streaking teams as the UCLA Bruins host the Utah Utes. Kickoff from the Rose Bowl is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. While the Utes have gotten to 5-2 behind their dominating offensive live, which has helped them average 41 points per game during their last three contests, the Bruins have won two straight thanks to a resurgent, stifling defense. Utah opened as a 9.5-point favorite and now is laying 10.5. The Over-Under opened at 55.5, but has fallen to 54.5 in the latest UCLA vs. Utah odds. Before you make any UCLA vs. Utah picks and predictions for Friday night, check out what SportsLine college football expert Micah Roberts has to say.
Now, Roberts is tackling Utah vs. UCLA, and you'll definitely want to hear what he's picking. Roberts, who has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for 20 years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos' book director, has nailed four straight spread picks involving the Bruins.
Roberts knows that Utah's high-charged offense has been successful behind quarterback Tyler Huntley. Not only is the junior signal caller completing nearly two-thirds of his pass attempts for the season, he's also the second-leading rusher on the team with 240 yards. In addition to his 11 TD passes, Huntley has run in four more for scores.
When Huntley isn't winning games with his feet, he's doing it with the strength of his throwing arm. His biggest weapon is wideout Britain Covey, who leads the Utes with 484 receiving yards and 43 catches.
But just because Utah features an efficient offense doesn't mean the Utes will cover.
Regardless if Dorian Thompson-Robinson or Wilton Speight is under center for UCLA, a strong ground game will deter the Utes from frequent blitzing. The Bruins' top running back is Joshua Kelley, who has 569 rushing yards and five scores. He busts runs for 5.5 yards per pop and hovers near the line on passing downs to bail out his under-siege quarterback.
UCLA has won its last two games, a 37-7 dismantling of Cal before beating Arizona by one last Saturday, 31-30. Kelley has been the leading rusher the Bruins' last four games, going for over 120 yards each time.
We can tell you Roberts is leaning over, but he's unearthed a critical x-factor that makes one side of the spread a must-back. He's only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
So which side of Utah vs. UCLA do you need to jump on? And what critical x-factor causes one side of the spread to hit hard? Visit SportsLine now to see which side is a must-back, all from the college football expert who's 4-0 on his past four UCLA picks.