The Cincinnati Bearcats won 11 games last season, and it all started at UCLA when they rolled into the Rose Bowl Stadium and secured a 26-17 victory as 14-point underdogs. Now, they look to get 2019 off to a similar start, and this time around the Bearcats are at home. Cincinnati hosts UCLA to open the 2019 college football season on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET from Nippert Stadium. The Bearcats have won their last 17 home openers, but the Bruins have historically started strong, winning more than two-thirds of their season openers all-time. The Bearcats are the favorites in this rematch, with the latest Cincinnati vs. UCLA odds listing Cincy at -2.5, down one point from the opening line. The over-under, or total points Vegas thinks will be scored, has steadily dropped since it opened at 65 and currently stands at 56.5. Each team returns a sizable amount of talent and experience, but before locking in any UCLA vs. Cincinnati picks of your own, you’ll want to see the thoughts about the game from legendary Vegas handicapper Micah Roberts.
Roberts has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for more than 20 years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos’ book director. Armed with an unmatched network of sources, the former bookmaker became a SportsLine expert in 2016 and promptly crushed college football for SportsLine members, going 70-44-3 on the season.
Roberts knows when to back or fade the Bruins better than anyone since he has nailed his last five college football against the spread picks involving UCLA. In fact, he hasn’t missed a pick involving the Bruins since the 2016 season. Now, Roberts has analyzed both rosters and made his picks for Cincinnati vs. UCLA. You can only see them at SportsLine.
Roberts is well aware that Cincinnati is extremely tough to beat on its home turf. In fact, the Bearcats are 7-0 in their last seven games at home and 12-2 in their last 14 overall. The Bearcats are led by quarterback Desmond Ridder, who completed over 62 percent of his passes across 13 games last season. The 6-foot-4 sophomore threw 20 touchdowns in 2018 and proved to be a viable runner, accumulating 572 yards and five scores on the ground. Ridder and the Cincinnati offense will look to take advantage of a porous UCLA defense that gave up almost 450 yards per game last season.
Plus, the Bruins have struggled on the road, winning just one of their last 15 games away from home. Cincinnati went 7-6 against the spread last season, compared to 5-6-1 for Kelly’s Bruins.
But just because the Bearcats have home-field advantage and a potent offense doesn’t mean they will cover the UCLA vs. Cincinnati spread.
Chip Kelly’s first year at UCLA ended a disappointing 3-9, but he has nearly everyone back from that team. The offense showed promise the second half of the season, averaging 433 yards per contest in the final eight games, 100 more than the opening four contests. The Bruins played a school-record 21 freshmen last season; this year, 19 are back as starters, including running back Joshua Kelly, who rushed for 1,243 yards and scored a TD in each of the team’s final eight games.
The unique Thursday game bodes well for the Bruins. UCLA has covered four of its last five Thursday night games, while Cincinnati is on a 0-4 skid against the spread that night of the week.
Roberts, who knows each team’s depth chart better than almost anyone, is leaning under, and he has also isolated a critical X-factor that made him jump on one side of the UCLA vs. Cincinnati spread. You can only see what it is, and which team to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Cincinnati vs. UCLA? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Cincinnati vs. UCLA spread you should jump on Thursday, all from the former Vegas bookmaker who’s nailed his last five picks involving the Bruins.