UCLA Vs. Bowling Green Odds, Game Time, TV Network

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Season 95 of UCLA football will start with a unique guest.

Bowling Green, a school in suburban Toledo, will come to the Rose Bowl Saturday for a 11:30 a.m. local time kickoff. The game will be broadcast on PAC-12 networks.

Bowling Green is a member of the MAC (Mid-American Conference). That’s the conference that plays on Tuesdays and Wednesday nights on ESPN. They are the Falcons. Sadly, their colors are not bowling…or green. They wear brown and orange.

The Falcons will be the first MAC team to play a game at the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins are coming off an 8-4 season, their best under coach Chip Kelly. They earned an invitation to the Holiday Bowl, but the game had to be canceled because of COVID.

UCLA returns quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who threw 21 touchdowns last year. The Falcons were 4-8 last year and haven’t had a winning season since 2015. Last year, they were last in the MAC in total offense.

So is this a season-opening cupcake for the Bruins? Or do the Falcons have the goods to pull an upset?

What Do the Oddsmakers Say?

The sportsbooks list the Bruins as 24.5-point favorites and the over/under figure at 57.5. Remember, the PAC-12 did away with divisions this year, it’s just a giant 12-team division. UCLA is +900 at Caesars to win the PAC-12. Bowling Green is ranked third to last to win the MAC at +3500.

Key Numbers – For Openers

We don’t have data to go on from this season yet, naturally. It’s Week 1.

In their last 10 years, UCLA is 6-4 in season openers, including last year’s 44-10 win over Hawaii. Bowling Green is just 2-8 in season openers. Last year it lost to Tennessee 38-6 in its first game.

Key Numbers – Spread Talking

The Bruins matched their straight-up record of last year also against the spread. They were 8-4 against the spread in 2021 and covered their last three games.

The 24.5-point spread against Bowling Green is bigger than any point spread UCLA had last year. The margin of victory for UCLA last year was 20.3 points.

Bowling Green lost eight games last year by a margin of 19.4 points.

Key Numbers – Over/Under

If you look at Saturday’s 57.5 over/under line, eight UCLA games last year went over that figure. Remember, the Chip Kelly offense usually plays fast and defense hasn’t been the Bruins hallmark.

Bowling Green only played in four games last year that would have gone over the 57.5-point total.

Last 10 Openers for UCLA

  • 2021 – UCLA 44, Hawaii 10
  • 2020 – Colorado 48 UCLA 42
  • 2019 – Cincinnati 24, UCLA 14
  • 2018 – Cincinnati 26, UCLA 17
  • 2017 – UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44
  • 2016 – Texas A&M 31, UCLA 24
  • 2015 – UCLA 34, Virginia 16
  • 2014 – UCLA 28, Virginia 20
  • 2013 – UCLA 58, Nevada 20
  • 2012 – UCLA 49, Rice 24

Last 10 Openers for Bowling Green

  • 2021 – Tennessee 38, Bowling Green 6
  • 2020 – Toledo 38, Bowling Green 3
  • 2019 – Bowling Green 46, Morgan State 3
  • 2018 – Oregon 58, Bowling Green 24
  • 2017 – Michigan State 35, Bowling Green 10
  • 2016 – Ohio State 77, Bowling Green 10
  • 2015 – Tennessee 59, Bowling Green 30
  • 2014 – W. Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 31
  • 2013 – Bowling Green 34, Tulsa 7
  • 2012 – Florida 27, Bowling Green 14

The X Factor

The weather is supposed to be unusually hot for Los Angeles on Saturday with a high expected of 98 degrees. So we will find out which team is in better shape. UCLA should be deeper and faster than Bowling Green, but funny things can happen in season openers. The Bruins offense is rhythm-based and it can take a while for that to be established.