Coastal Carolina vs. UCLA gets underway this Saturday at 10:30pm EST in Pasadena as a home game for the Bruins. UCLA is currently a -14.5 favorite and -670 on the moneyline. Read on for more Coastal Carolina vs. UCLA best bets and predictions as this game shapes up to be a defensive slugfest.
Coastal Carolina Vs. UCLA Prediction & Best Bet
For UCLA, it’s a new era under center as Dorian Thompson-Robinson has moved on to the NFL. Exploding onto the scene last year as one of the more effective dual threat quarterbacks, DTR struck fear into opposing defenses as he could burn them over the top with an elite arm or carry it himself and elude the second level.
UCLA now must find answers at quarterback after losing a massive chunk of production. While Chip Kelly named Ethan Garbers his starting quarterback for this game, it’s not a certain that he takes the job moving forward as Dante Moore and Collin Schlee are both expected to take the reins at some point in this game as well. Not exactly a recipe for success as it can seriously derail any momentum that the offense builds throughout the game.
As for Coastal Carolina, they bring back a familiar face under center in star quarterback Grayson McCall. After dipping his toes in the transfer portal, McCall decided to return to CC as one of the most efficient quarterbacks in football. A massive return for the team as they have toyed with elite program status during his tenure as their quarterback.
The issue with their offense this time around is that they are currently dealing with an identity change under new head coach Tim Beck. With Beck manning the offense, expect Coastal to dial it back with their explosive downfield attack and rely on a more consistent approach instead.
This may help with efficiency, but it will drastically halt their pace and play more friendly to the under. With an emphasis in cutting down turnovers and creating separation short of the line of scrimmage, Coastal will be in a better position to dominate time of possession while slowing the pace of scoring as well.
Coastal Carolina Vs. UCLA Odds
Even with massive question marks surrounding the offense, oddsmakers still believe this is UCLA’s game to lose as they opened the Bruins as a -16.5 favorite. Bettors are not so much in agreement with oddsmakers as they have bet Coastal Carolina down to +14.5 as of writing. While they have more continuity on their end, Coastal will still have a rough time trying to move the ball against an improved UCLA defense that can generate pressure in the backfield.
Speaking of defense, points are expected to be scored at a blistering pace as oddsmakers opened the total at 65.5. That number has struggled to budge in either direction, climbing to a flat 66 in some shops as of writing. The question marks for both offenses certainly play toward the under, as well as UCLA’s defense potentially improving from near league worst metrics.
Coastal Carolina Vs. UCLA Key Matchups
Can UCLA’s transfer running back Carson Steele find success against this Coastal rush defense? How does Grayson McCall handle this UCLA front seven?
Carson Steele vs CC Rush Defense
With UCLA dealing with a quarterback battle, it’s expected that they will ease them in by implementing a heavy dose of their ground game. After finishing last season as the best run unit per Rush Success Rate, UCLA is poised to carry that success off the back of their transfer running back Carson Steele.
Pac-12 Defenses — Beware of Carson Steelepic.twitter.com/HHoD1tos8K
— College Football Network (@CFN365) April 22, 2023
Steele serves as a brick house in the backfield, never shying away from contact as he bulldozes opposing second levels. He draws an intriguing matchup against Coastal’s defense as they were league average in Def Rush Success Rate yet near dead last in Def Rush Explosiveness. Lucky for our under ticket, UCLA’s offensive line is expected to take a step back and give Coastal a better chance of stuffing runs at the line.
Grayson McCall vs UCLA Pass Rush
Continuity isn’t a sure sign of success, yet it is an indicator for improvement and that is exactly what UCLA’s defense needs as they were abysmal last season. Especially against McCall as he is capable of picking apart any secondary with ample time in the pocket.
With McCall needing to get integrated into the new offensive scheme that relies on safe and accurate throws, a collapsing pocket may spell doom against this new system. With UCLA returning a brunt of their front seven, this generates pressure against CC’s offensive line and forces the ball out of McCall’s hands in a hurry.