On Saturday (10/28/23), Colorado faces No. 23 UCLA in a prime time Pac-12 matchup. In this article, find a full preview of this game with the latest betting odds and a full breakdown of the matchup. In addition, find our best bet which is UCLA -17.
Colorado Buffaloes Vs. UCLA Bruins Prediction
The last time we saw Colorado play football, it blew a 29-0 halftime lead over Stanford in a 46-43 loss. The way that loss happened was surprising, but the fact Colorado dropped a game to that lowly Stanford team really shouldn’t have been a shock. The Buffaloes are far more flash than substance, and that’s going to kill them here.
Colorado’s Shedeur Sanders has 21 passing touchdowns to three interceptions, but he’s picked on bad defenses all year. In his two games against what I consider to be good defenses, he averaged 4.8 yards per attempt against Oregon and 5.6 YPA against Arizona State. This week, Sanders faces a dominant UCLA defense that ranks 4th in EPA/play allowed.
The Bruins hired defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn before the season, and he has transformed the team on that end. It all starts with one of the most lethal pass rushes in the country led by likely NFL first round pick Laiatu Latu. Along with a deep group of defensive linemen, this unit smothers opposing offensive lines.
UCLA’s offense has been hit or miss this year, but a switch at quarterback seemed to reinvigorate them last week. Ethan Garbers was steady, completing 20 of 28 passes for 240 yards and two touchdowns against Stanford. Most importantly, he just didn’t make mistakes and allowed this team to lean on its elite run game and defense.
When Colorado played Oregon earlier this year, they were run out of the building and finished with just six total points that came in garbage time. I see this as a very similar matchup, and I’m laying the points with UCLA just like I did with Oregon. You can also bet Colorado’s team total under if you’re looking for more action.
Colorado Buffaloes Vs. UCLA Bruins Prediction: UCLA -17
Colorado Buffaloes Vs. UCLA Bruins Best Odds
UCLA sits as 17-point favorites for this home conference game after opening at a generous -15.5. We could see this line continue to climb towards UCLA as we lead up to kickoff. The over/under for this game sits at 63.5 points, which seems high given UCLA’s lack of explosiveness on offense and Colorado’s likely struggles with scoring.
Colorado Buffaloes Vs. UCLA Bruins Key Matchups
I see this as a dominant mismatch for UCLA, and that comes down to some key matchups that I’ll jump into here.
Colorado’s Offensive Line Vs. UCLA’s Defensive Line
A huge issue for Colorado this season has been its lack of toughness in the trenches. Deion Sanders added some flashy players in the transfer portal, but it takes time to build out the line play on both sides of the ball. Shedeur Sanders has a bad tendency of holding onto the ball for too long when under pressure, and that could surface here.
UCLA’s defensive line is led by Laiatu Latu, PFF’s highest graded defender in the country. Latu is joined by Gabriel and Grayson Murphy, two brothers who transferred over from North Texas before last season. All three guys have 30+ pressures this season, and it makes life easy on the team’s secondary when opposing quarterbacks have no time in the pocket.
UCLA Edge Laiatu Latu is such a nightmare to block.
Technician + explosive hands + red-hot motor. pic.twitter.com/ywbGvNiMkw
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 18, 2023
Carson Steele Vs. Colorado’s Run Defense
UCLA’s offense has seen some quarterback issues this season, but running back Carson Steele, a transfer from Ball State, is averaging an impressive 4.24 yards after contact per attempt, and he scored three touchdowns against Stanford last week. UCLA will look to win this game with its run game against a terrible Colorado run defense.
The Buffaloes rank 94th in rushing EPA/play allowed this season, and they’ve lacked discipline in filling run fits. If they overcommit to stopping the run, they’ll be leaving a secondary exposed that already ranks 127th in the country in passing success rate allowed.
Carson Steele transferred to UCLA this offseason, and stretches his current hot steak to 3 games 🔥
⚔️ 3 TD
⚔️ 76 yards (67 after contact)
⚔️ 4 forced missed tackles
Steele carried UCLA to a convincing 42-7 win over Stanford!pic.twitter.com/xlqArvP6PU
— Redshirt Heisman (@TasteOfSport) October 22, 2023