UCLA vs Oregon State Odds, Picks, and Predictions: Bruins Won't Budge for Beavers Offense

Two ranked opponents will do battle when the Oregon State Beavers play host to the UCLA Bruins. This matchup is sure to be as close as they come, but our college football picks don't expect the Beavers to put up too many points.

JD Yonke - Contributor at Covers.com
JD Yonke • Contributor
Oct 14, 2023 • 15:23 ET • 4 min read

The Pac-12 is doing its part to make Week 7 entertaining with three ranked-on-ranked matchups this weekend. One of those anticipated matchups sees the No. 15 Oregon State Beavers square off against the No. 18 UCLA Bruins. 

Someone will have to leave Saturday with their second loss of the season, with college football odds indicating the Beavers are expected to take care of business at home 3.5-point favorites. 

UCLA’s defense has been on fire as one of the 2023’s greatest first-half surprises — but will that continue on the road against a Top-15 opponent? Read on for my best bet and full college football picks for UCLA vs. Oregon State on October 14. 

UCLA vs Oregon State best odds

UCLA vs Oregon State picks and predictions

The story of UCLA’s season thus far has been the vast defensive improvement under first-year DC D’Anton Lynn. He’s due for either a substantial pay raise or a promotion if the Bruins continue this kind of work — they’ve surrendered just 12.2 points per game (ninth nationally) and 254.2 total yards per game (fifth) and FBS-best 3.7 yards per play.

The metrics love the Bruins’ defense as they check in at third in EPA per play overall: They’ve been effective both on the ground (fifth in EPA per rush) and through the air (11th in EPA per pass). 

The Bruins have wrecked opponents up front, ranking sixth in front-seven havoc and ninth in stuff rate. It’s difficult to get anything going when there’s little running room and no time to throw, as UCLA has made painfully obvious to its opponents over the first half of the season. 

This will be a fascinating matchup against a strong Oregon State offense line that is a contender for the Joe Moore Award yet again in 2023.

Oregon State has been effective on offense, ranking 13th in EPA per play and 16th in success rate. That being said, the Beavers don’t exactly operate at a breakneck speed, snapping the ball 67.4 times per game — 78th-most nationally. Their team total is set as high as 29.5 at some books, which is high in a tough matchup for a game not expected to see a ton of possessions or plays. 

Oregon State’s offensive efficiency has mostly come against a woeful group of opponents — San Jose State ranks dead last in EPA per play defensively, UC Davis is an FCS school, San Diego State ranks 127th in success rate and can’t tackle anyone, and California ranks in the bottom third of more defensive metrics than not.

I doubt that efficiency continues in a matchup against a defense that has held four of its five opponents to 3.7 yards per play or lessEven if the efficiency is there, the volume might not be.

Oregon State already doesn’t push the tempo and matches up with a UCLA team that looks to hold onto the ball as much as possible. After notably complaining about the new clock rules earlier in the season, Bruins' skipper Chip Kelly sat on the ball last week against the Washington State Cougars, running a whopping 97 plays for 4.7 yards per play.

He doesn’t trust true freshman quarterback Dante Moore yet, and it’s evident in his team’s style of play. Look for him to try to control this game as a road underdog by holding onto the ball and controlling the clock whenever possible. 

I’m on Oregon State’s team total Under at 29.5 and I’d play it down to 28. 

My best bet: Oregon State team total Under 29.5 (-120 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

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UCLA vs Oregon State same-game parlay

Oregon State TT Under 28.5

Steele anytime TD

1H Under 26.5

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Here’s a three-leg SGP that may not seem correlated at first but is upon further inspection as it fits my most likely projected game flow. 

After finishing ninth nationally with 1,556 rushing yards and 16th with 14 rushing touchdowns, RB Carson Steele transferred from the Ball State Cardinals to UCLA this year. He shared touches to start the year but has still managed to find the end zone three times and most recently made his case as the team’s workhorse back, handling 30 carries for 141 yards against Washington State. 

I think it’s very possible Steele handles another heavy workload on Saturday as Kelly feeds the beast and looks to both control the clock and keep his true freshman QB out of danger on the road against a Top 15 opponent. This game script of ball control in a game featuring some tremendous running back and line play lends itself to the first half Under, which I’ll play at 26.5 as the third and final leg. OSU has cashed the first-half game total Under in nine of its last 12 games. 

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UCLA vs Oregon State spread and Over/Under analysis

The line opened Oregon State -5.0 but has since come in a bit, crossing a key number and currently hovering above another at -3.5. The total opened at 53 but has since moved to either 53.5 or 54.5 depending on the book.

I have a preference for the road dog in this spot as I cannot justify laying the points in a close matchup in which UCLA will have the best unit on the field. The Bruins have the best win of either team in its 25-17 victory over Washington State a week ago which was never as close as the final score indicates. 

That’s a common opponent these two share and while Oregon State’s 38-35 road loss to the Cougars doesn’t directly translate to this matchup because that’s not how football works, it’s still concerning the Beavers trailed 35-14 in that game and surrendered 528 total yards on 8.1 yards per play to an offense the Bruins handled with extreme ease a week ago. 

In fact, I’m still not sold on this Oregon State defense. It lost three impact players in the secondary from last year's team and I qualified all three as well above replacement-level players. This year’s Beavers haven’t proven to be on the same level as last year’s surprise group.

They’ve faced one good offense this year (Washington State) and failed that test, and most recently allowed 40 points, 448 total yards, and 6.9 yards per play to a bad California Golden Bears team playing with its third-string, redshirt freshman quarterback. I’m hardly inspired. 

UCLA vs Oregon State betting trend to know

UCLA's O/U mark is 1-4 this season. Find more college football betting trends for UCLA vs Oregon State.

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UCLA vs Oregon State game info

Location: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET

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