This is a battle between a pair of unbeaten Pac-12 schools, and oddsmakers are expecting a close contest with college football betting lines opening with the Bruins as slim 2.5-point home favorites at the historical Rose Bowl.
Here are our free college football picks and predictions for Washington vs. UCLA.
Washington vs UCLA best odds
Washington vs UCLA picks and predictions
With the Huskies coming off a disappointing 4-8 season, their offense has managed to turn things around under new head coach Kalen DeBoer and transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
That said, they've yet to play on the road this season, and facing a rising UCLA program in the Rose Bowl will be tough.
With UCLA led by first-team All-Pac-12 quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, both teams have terrific players under center. However, the Bruins have been the better team in coverage this season, boasting an 83.4 grade according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, the Huskies check in at 72.3.
The Huskies lost both of their starting corners from last year to the NFL and will need safety Alex Cook to make up for their inexperience on the outside.
The Huskies' biggest weakness on defense a year ago was their ability to stop the run. While they've made strides in that area, they'll have a tough time slowing down a UCLA attack that features a dual-threat QB in Thompson-Robinson, a second-team All-Pac-12 running back in Zach Charbonnet, and an interior offensive line that creates holes.
I'm taking the home side on the moneyline.
My best bet: UCLA moneyline (+120 at bet365)
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Washington vs UCLA spread analysis
The Huskies are 4-0 SU and ATS to begin the season. In their most recent victory, they dismantled the Stanford Cardinal 40-22 at home. Washington's offense rolled up 478 yards in that contest while their defense had eight sacks.
The Huskies' defense was solid on the back end last season, although they struggled to stop the run at times. Their Achilles' heel was their inept offense that has looked much improved since adding DeBoer from Fresno State.
DeBoer hand-picked Penix from Indiana and inherited a solid WR corps, while running back Wayne Taulapapa has also rumbled for 307 yards and 6.4 yards per attempt.
The Bruins are fresh off a 45-17 rout of the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder, but while they are also 4-0, their 32-31 comeback win against South Alabama in Week 3 was less than inspiring.
This is the fifth season in the Chip Kelly era, and after the former two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year winner led them to eight wins last year, big things are expected in 2022.
The Bruins had the top offense in the Pac-12 last year and look just as good this season with Thompson-Robinson and Charbonnet leading the way. UCLA lost receiver Kyle Philips and tight end Greg Dulcich to the NFL, but Duke transfer Jake Bobo has emerged as a reliable target.
The Bruins struggled against the pass last year, but they look better in that area thanks to an improved pass rush. Transfer edge rushers Grayson Murphy and Laiatu Latu (who last played for Washington in 2019 before suffering a neck injury) have already combined for eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
Washington vs UCLA Over/Under analysis
With how explosive these two attacks have been, it's easy to see why the O/U went as high as 66 for this game before slightly ticking down to 64.5. Not only have these teams combined to win all eight of their games this season, but the Over has hit in seven of those contests.
The quarterbacks for both of these teams have been playing lights out. Thompson-Robinson has completed 74.8% of his passes for 896 yards and eight touchdowns to just one interception, while also adding another 170 yards and two scores on the ground.
Meanwhile, Penix (who played very well when healthy at Indiana) has completed 64.3% of his passes for 1,388 yards and 12 touchdowns with just a single pick.
That said, both defenses have also improved from a year ago. The Bruins are more experienced in their secondary and have been putting more pressure on opposing passers. In contrast, the Huskies have gotten bigger and more physical up front, resulting in them holding Michigan State and Stanford to 2.0 yards per carry over the last two weeks.
Washington vs UCLA betting trend to know
The Bruins are 4-0 ATS in their last four conference games. Find more NCAA betting trends for Washington vs. UCLA.
Washington vs UCLA game info
|Location:||Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA|
|Date:||Friday, September 30, 2022|
|Kickoff:||10:30 p.m. ET|
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