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2005 UCLA Bruins Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


In new head coach Karl Dorrell’s first season at Westwood, UCLA continued their side against the odds. Under his predecessor, Bob Toledo, UCLA beat the sports betting line in just three of their final eight games of 2002. Under Dorrell, the got the cash in just three out of thirteen games while going 6-7 straight up. UCLA, being somewhat of a “name brand” team with significant California money influence at Las Vegas sportsbooks often struggles to be a good sports handicapping value but many sports betting bloggers were optimistic that Dorrell, in his second season at the helm, would produce better results in 2004.

UCLA opened the season as 1-point home chalks against an Oklahoma State team that was clearly superior. This game and line installed by the sports betting odds makers is a classic example of how “name brand” teams get overpriced at times and offer no sports handicapping value. Oklahoma State won the game in convincing fashion 31-20 and UCLA was doubted by many sports betting bloggers afterwards.

With some of their sports handicapping value back after that opening game disappointment, UCLA traveled to Illinois and, as 2-point chalks, manhandled the Illini 35-17. They backed that up with another road win, 37-31 at Washington in a pick’em affair. Next, the Bruins returned home and atoned for their home opening loss by handling San Diego State 33-10 as 6-point chalks. Next game highly touted Arizona and their new coach Mike Stoops, who instilled a never quit attitude in the Wildcats that caught the attention of sports betting bloggers. UCLA was 10-point chalks and prevailed 37-17 for their fourth consecutive win and cover against the odds. At this point the Bruins were gaining in popularity and appearing on more lists of football picks.

UCLA next traveled to Cal to face the Bears as 16-point dogs. Many sports betting bloggers posted that the line was too high and said UCLA was a “live dog” that belonged on anyone’s list of football picks, but Cal dominated in a 45-28 win. UCLA, to their credit, responded well and beat the sports betting odds in four of their next five games, wining three of them straight up. The most impressive performance was their last, where as 22.5-point dogs at home against USC they fought hard and got the cash in a 24-29 loss. That bright spot was diminished in their bowl game at Las Vegas, which they lost 21-24 as 12-point chalks against Wyoming.





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