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UCLA Has Easiest Strength of Schedule Among Power 5 Teams; Bruins +1000 to Win Pac-12

John Perrotto

by John Perrotto in College Football

Jul 11, 2022 · 10:42 AM PDT

UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson runs the football
Nov 13, 2021; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (1) runs the ball past Colorado Buffaloes safety Curtis Appleton II (30) for a first down in the second half at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
  • UCLA has the easiest 2022 schedule among Power Five teams, according to our calculations
  • The Bruins’ win total line is 8.5 and they have +1000 odds to win the Pac-12
  • A breakdown of UCLA’s schedule and season outlook can be found below

UCLA went 8-4 last year for its first winning season since 2015. The Bruins have the type of schedule this season that could allow them to build on their 2021 success.

According to our 2022 NCAAF strength-of-schedule ratings at SBD, UCLA has just the 92nd-hardest slate in FBS in 2022. That is also the easiest among the 65 Power Five schools.

The oddsmakers have set the Bruins at 8.5 in the 2022 college football win totals. UCLA also has +1000 odds to win the Pac-12 and are longshots at +15000 to win the College Football Playoff.

2022 Pac-12 Win Totals

Team Win Total
USC 9.5 (-125o/+105u)
Utah 9 (-105o/-115u)
Oregon 8.5 (-115o/-105u)
UCLA 8.5 (-105o/-115u)
Washington 7.5 (-115o/-105u)
Arizona State 6.5 (+120o/-140u)
Oregon State 6.5 (+115o/-135u)
California 5.5 (-120o/+100u)
Washington State 5.5 (+105o/-125u)
Stanford 4.5 (+120o/-140u)
Colorado 3 (-110o/-110u)
Arizona 2.5 (-140o/+120u)

Odds as of July 11th at DraftKings Sportsbook

 

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Unimposing Non-Conference Slate

UCLA plays all three non-conference games at the beginning of the season at home in the Rose Bowl against non-Power Five competition. The Bruins should be big favorites in each game.

Bowling Green visits for the opener Sept. 3. The Falcons are followed by Alabama State of the FCS and South Alabama the next two Saturdays. None of those three opponents had a winning record last season, going a combined 14-22.

 

UCLA also has an advantage in that it will play its two toughest opponents at home – Utah on Oct. 6 and archrival USC on Nov. 19. Also visiting the Rose Bowl are Washington on Sept. 30 and Arizona on Nov. 12.

The toughest road game for the Bruins figures to come Oct. 22 when they meet Oregon in Eugene. UCLA also travels to Colorado (Sept. 24), Arizona State (Nov. 5) and California (Nov. 25).

All in all, the college football schedule sets up in UCLA’s favor.

DTR to Run It Back

Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has decided to return for his fifth and final season in Westwood, which gives coach Chip Kelly’s Bruins a big edge when it comes to experience at the sport’s most important position.

Thompson-Robinson threw for 2,409 yards last season while completing 62.2 percent of his passing attempts. He also has 21 touchdown passes, just six interceptions and rushed for 609 yards and nine TDs.

In his time at UCLA, Thompson-Robinson has appeared in 36 games. Leading rusher Zach Charbonnet also returns for the Bruins. He rushed for 1,137 yards and 13 touchdowns on 203 carries last year after transferring from Michigan.

The Bruins lost their top two receivers from a year ago but have high hopes for wide receiver Jake Bobo, a graduate transfer from Duke. He had a team-high 74 receptions for the Blue Devils in 2021,

UCLA also has a premier kickoff returner in Kazmeir Allen.

Sizing Up the Competition

USC is the Pac-12 favorite despite finishing 4-8 last season. Much of the enthusiasm behind the Trojans comes from hiring of coach Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma and Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams joining him in Los Angeles.

2022 Pac-12 Title Odds

Team Odds
USC +200
Utah +240
Oregon +250
UCLA +1000
Washington +1000
Washington State +2500
Oregon State +3300
Stanford +3300
Arizona State +4000
California +4000
Arizona +25000
Colorado +25000

Odds as of July 11th at Barstool Sportsbook. See this Barstool Sportsbook promo code before wagering.

 

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Wide receiver Mario Williams transferred from Oklahoma, too. Also joining the Trojans via the portal are All-America wide receiver Jordan Addison from Pittsburgh and Stanford running back Travis Dye.

Utah won the conference last season then almost defeated a depleted Ohio State team in the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Cameron Rising, a first-team All-PAC-12 selection, returns for the Utes along with running back Tavion Thomas and tight end Brant Kuithe.

In all, Utah has 14 returning starters. While the Utes have a talented roster, they do face a tougher schedule than UCLA per the college football strength of schedule rankings.

Is UCLA Worth Betting?

UCLA’s 8.5-win total line seems daunting on the surface, considering the Bruins have gone five full seasons (not counting COVID-shortened 2020) since surpassing that number of victories.

However, the Bruins look like a good bet to go over the win total with such a cupcake schedule in 2022. That also makes it worth wagering a buck or two on UCLA to capture the Pac-12 crown in the Conference Title odds.

Best Bet: UCLA Over 8.5 Wins (-105), Value Bet: UCLA to win Pac-12 (+1000)

 

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