Colorado vs UCLA Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Bears Strap Sanders And the Buffs

The Colorado Buffaloes hype train is diminishing quickly and a trip to UCLA may sink this ship even quicker. With the Bruins' defense rock solid but their offense struggling, our college football picks are backing the Under in this contest.

Oct 28, 2023 • 15:57 ET • 4 min read
Laiatu Latu UCLA Bruins NCAAF
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The hype train may have been derailed, but there’s still plenty of intrigue surrounding Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes. 

The Buffs had an extra week to stew on their colossal wreck of a 46-43 loss to Stanford and will look to get back on track following the bye week. 

Chip Kelly’s UCLA Bruins await at the Rose Bowl, where they are 3-0 this season. Looking at college football odds, UCLA (-17) is expected to run away with this one while the total is set at 63.5. 

I have my eyes set on the total for tonight's best bet as Shedeur Sanders should be under pressure constantly from a disruptive Bruins front. Check out that best bet below and stay locked in for my full college football picks for Colorado vs. UCLA on October 28. 

Colorado vs UCLA best odds

Colorado vs UCLA picks and predictions

It’s been a remarkable turnaround for this UCLA Bruins defense. A year after surrendering 29 points per game, the Bruins are allowing just 14.9 ppg and are a Top 10 unit no matter how you slice it. They rank third in PFF’s overall defensive grade (93.6) headlined by the nation’s highest-graded pass rush (91.3) and are eighth in EPA per play.  

First-year defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn has arguably had the biggest impact of any coordinator hire this coaching cycle, leading a dramatic turnaround for a unit that seemed mired in perpetual futility for as long as Kelly’s tenure lasted in Pasadena. 

The former Baltimore Ravens assistant leads an extremely disruptive group that checks in at 10th in havoc, fourth in stuff rate, and third in power success rate. Don’t expect many running lanes for the Colorado Buffaloes, who rank just 129th in EPA per rush while managing 86.3 rushing yards per game on 2.7 yards per pop. 

UCLA faced a similarly-styled offense in Washington State and completely shut down the Cougars, limiting them to 216 yards on 3.7 yards per play while forcing four turnovers in a 25-17 win that was never as close as the final score indicates. I’d expect a similar game plan and approach from Lynn’s fearsome unit. 

The Buffaloes have already been shut down once by a team that dominated them up front, falling 42-6 to the Oregon Ducks and not scoring until garbage time. Shedeur Sanders and the offense managed just 199 total yards on 3.4 yards per play. 

When UCLA has the ball, it’ll go up against a Colorado defense that has been exposed multiple times this season (121st in EPA per play, 125th in success rate). Still, the Buffaloes were improving on that side of the ball until they fell apart in the second half against Stanford.

The Cardinal repeatedly picked on corner Travis Hunter, who was visibility not at 100% conditioning-wise in his first game back from a lacerated liver. The Buffaloes had a bye week and with Hunter’s return to health and conditioning, this defense has nowhere to go but up. 

The Bruins made a switch at quarterback last week, benching five-star true freshman Dante Moore after a prolonged run of poor performance. In stepped the team’s original starter in Game 1, Ethan Garbers, who played well last week when he completed 20 of his 28 attempts (71.4%) for 240 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions.

UCLA has struggled offensively for large chunks of the year and I’ll need to see more from Garbers before I believe he’s a cure-all — he looked good last week but was terrible in the opener against Coastal Carolina (3.0 AY/A with two interceptions and one touchdown).

It’s a scary play because this game projects to have a pretty high pace, but the Buffaloes should struggle mightily offensively and I still have questions about UCLA’s offense, so the Under is my best bet. 

My best bet: Under 63.5 (-110 at BetMGM)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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Colorado vs UCLA same-game parlay

Under 63.5

Colorado team total Under 22.5

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There’s a big mismatch in this contest between Colorado’s offense and UCLA's defense. The Bruins lock down on opposing rushing attacks and are elite along the defensive line led by Laiatu Latu (10 TFL, 6.5 sacks) and Gabriel Murphy (9.5 TFL, 4.5 sacks). Colorado allows the most QB sacks per game (5) in the country, which is a recipe for disaster against Lynn’s defense. 

I’ll go ahead and throw together a two-leg SGP featuring the full game Under and Colorado’a team total Under. The Buffaloes won’t be able to run the ball and Shedeur Sanders will be under pressure for most of the night, so it’s hard to expect his best work in Week 9. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Colorado vs UCLA spread and Over/Under analysis

UCLA opened at -15.5 but has since moved to -17 across most locations. One book moved to -18 before experiencing some buyback that brought the line back to -17, so the line movement will be something to monitor throughout the week. The total opened at 64.5 but has already dropped a point to 63.5 at the time of this writing. 

Colorado runs hot and cold, either massively exceeding expectations (TCU, Nebraska, USC) or falling well short of them (Colorado State, Oregon, Stanford).

My handicap for this contest tells me to expect a shortcoming from the Buffaloes in a nightmare matchup against UCLA’s defensive front, so I’m leaning toward the Bruins against the spread in a game they should be able to control at home. It’d take a Herculean effort from Sanders to overcome the disadvantage in the trenches when his team has the ball. 

Colorado vs UCLA betting trend to know

UCLA is 2-4 O/U in its last six home games dating back to last season. Find more college football betting trends for Colorado vs UCLA.

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Colorado vs UCLA game info

Location: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2023
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

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