Pac-12 Picks

Pac-12 Picks: UCLA trying to avoid three-game losing streak


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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. 20 CALIFORNIA (5-1, 2-1) AT
UCLA (4-2, 1-2)

6 p.m., ESPN

Pointspread: UCLA favored by 3.5 points

— UCLA opened as a 7.5-point favorite, a line that has fallen all the way to 3.5 points.

— After getting a bye week, California has moved up three spots to its highest ranking in the Top 25 in six years.

— UCLA will try to avoid its first three-game regular-season losing streak since 2010 under Rick Neuheisel. Hard to believe the Bruins could lose three straight after dominating Arizona a month ago.

— Cal quarterback Jared Goff is coming off his worst performance of five interceptions at Utah two weeks ago. He hadn’t thrown more than two over his previous 28 starts with the Bears. He was under constant pressure behind an offensive line that has allowed 11 sacks in the past three games.

— The Bruins fell from the poll following a 56-35 loss at then-No. 15 Stanford last Thursday. They gave up their highest point total since a 60-13 loss at Oregon on Oct. 21, 2010. UCLA is allowing 41.3 points and 285.0 rushing yards per game in Pac-12 action after the Cardinal ran for 310. Tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, linebacker Myles Jack and cornerback Fabian Moreau are among those sidelined on UCLA’s short-handed defense.

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

Picker SU Pct. ATS Pct.
Steve Rivera 15-5 .750 12-7-1 .625
Anthony Gimino 15-5 .750 11-8-1 .575
Javier Morales 12-8 .600 11-8-1 .575

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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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— The good news for UCLA is that Cal hasn’t been much of a threat on the ground, averaging 115.0 rushing yards and 3.2 per carry over its last three games. But it ranks second in the Pac-12 with 40.2 points a contest. Junior wideout Kenny Lawler leads the Bears with 34 catches, 465 yards and eight touchdowns.

— The Bruins are averaging 7.8 penalties for 75 yards per game after committing a season-high 10 for 93 against the Cardinal. That’s made things tougher on freshman Josh Rosen, who’s thrown 82 passes and been sacked five times in the past two games. They could try to get the running game going after Cal allowed 265 yards and 5.2 per carry against the Utes. Paul Perkins leads UCLA with 681 yards rushing and eight touchdowns.

California is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
California is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of California’s last 5 games
California is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games on the road
UCLA is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of UCLA’s last 6 games
UCLA is 3-6 ATS in its last 9 games at home
UCLA is 11-5 SU in its last 16 games at home

My pick: UCLA will win and cover

Steve Rivera’s pick: UCLA will win and cover

Anthony Gimino’s pick: UCLA will win and cover


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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