Pac-12 Picks

Pac-12 Picks: Stanford is to UCLA what Bruins are to Arizona


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This season two of my colleagues — Steve Rivera of GOAZCATS.com and Anthony Gimino of TucsonNewsNow.com — and I will pick the outcomes of Pac-12 games. Odds listed are of the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. …

NO. 18 UCLA (4-1, 1-1) AT
NO. 15 STANFORD (4-1, 3-0)

7:30 p.m., ESPN

Pointspread: Stanford favored by 6.5

— The line opened at 4 points in favor of Stanford and is now at 6.5.

— Stanford is to UCLA what the Bruins are to Arizona and Rich Rodriguez — unbeatable. Jim Mora’s struggles against the Cardinal are related to the Bruins’ inability to stop the run. Stanford defeated UCLA in the 2012 Pac-12 championship game, and the Bruins were on the verge of winning the Pac-12 South last season until the Cardinal delivered a 31-10 upset in the season finale in Pasadena. The common factor in each of Mora’s four losses to Stanford has been an inability to stop the run, allowing at least 192 yards rushing.

— No. 15 Stanford is once again running the ball with physicality and precision with Christian McCaffrey, but Mora believes 18th-ranked UCLA will be up to the challenge tonight in Palo Alto despite a rash of recent injuries. “The two practices last week I thought we were good, and then (Sunday) we were on it again,” Mora told reporters. “We had to rearrange the puzzle a little bit with some guys going down and some guys switching positions.”

— Safety Mossi Johnson became the fourth UCLA defender lost for the season when he tore three ligaments – his ACL, MCL and PCL – in practice last week, Mora said. Johnson moved from receiver to safety when the secondary was reconfigured after corner Fabian Moreau suffered a serious foot injury. Without the top players at each level of the defense available in Moreau, defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes (knee) and linebacker Myles Jack (knee), Arizona rushed for 353 yards and Arizona State had 192 yards on the ground.

— McCaffrey, the latest Stanford workhorse in the backfield, brings a more elusive and explosive element than his predecessors. Unlike Toby Gerhart or Stepfan Taylor, mostly short-gain, powerful running backs, the dynamic sophomore McCaffrey can turn any play into a big gain.

BETTING TRENDS
Stanford is 22-2 SU in its last 24 home games.
UCLA is 0-7 ATS in its last seven October games.
Stanford is 7-0 SU and 6-1 ATS in its last seven games against the Bruins

My pick: Stanford will win and cover

Steve Rivera’s pick: Stanford will win and cover

Anthony Gimino’s pick: Stanford will win and cover

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SCRIBES SPREAD SELECTION STANDINGS
SU: Straight-up pick. ATS: Against-the-spread pick.

Picker SU Pct. ATS Pct.
Javier Morales 9-6 .600 9-6 .600
Steve Rivera 10-5 .667 8-7 .533
Anthony Gimino 10-5 .667 8-7 .533

CHECK OUT STEVE, ANTHONY AND MATT MORENO IN THEIR WEEKLY “SPORTS GUYS” SHOW

Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He has also written articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.
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