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2012 College Football Betting – Stanford Closes In On Division Championship

Posted by Blake Frazier on 11/22/2012 5:26:50 PM

The Stanford Cardinal aren't underdogs against the UCLA Bruins, but they were the underdogs in the Pac-12 North Division before the season began. They can win that division on Saturday.

Stanford Cardinal @ UCLA Bruins – Saturday, November 24    
Betting line: Stanford -1.5

Why Stanford Will Win

Legal online sports betting analysts are expecting this to be a game in which Stanford is more motivated to win. The reasoning behind this claim is sound and airtight. The fact of the matter is that UCLA has already clinched its division, the Pac-12 South. Stanford has not yet wrapped up its division, the Pac-12 North. UCLA knows that it will play another game on Friday, Nov. 30, while Stanford has no such assurance. UCLA already knows that it will get to play one game for the right to go to the Rose Bowl, while Stanford has not yet given itself that chance. The Cardinal, who have already won the toughest road game in the league this season (at Oregon, the most difficult place to play in the Pac-12), will not be intimidated at all by the Bruins, who have produced a terrific season but are not in Oregon's weight class.

More to the point, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan has represented a notable upgrade over former starting signal caller Josh Nunes. Hogan was shaky against Oregon, but he made big plays when his team needed them. He led the Cardinal on a tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, just when it seemed that Oregon was about to survive. This team owns a rugged defense that throttled Oregon and held the Ducks to just 14 points. If Stanford can smother Oregon, imagine what it can do to UCLA. The Cardinal are tougher at the line of scrimmage and can dictate the style of this game – on both sides of the ball – with their line play.

Why UCLA Will Win

When NCAA football betting gurus put aside other work and evaluate this particular matchup, they're going to realize that Stanford's lack of quality on this side of the ball should give UCLA the upper hand. No matter how great Stanford's defense might be, it still has to be seen as alarming that the Cardinal couldn't score more than 17 points against Oregon in an overtime game. The Cardinal's defense produced multiple three-and-outs against Oregon's defense, putting the offense in a position to succeed on a regular basis. Yet, Stanford couldn't do much against the Ducks. Hogan, for all of his virtues, did not take care of the ball or display the sharpness that marked Stanford's 27-23 win over Oregon State a week earlier.

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is the superior signal caller in this matchup. UCLA has proved that it can throw the ball down the field with more quality and consistency than Stanford. Unless the Cardinal's pass rush comes up with a big-time game, UCLA should be able to out-throw and outscore Stanford.

Who Will Win

It’s going to be a close game, which means that the fourth quarter is likely to feature a number of short-yardage down-and-distance situations that should carry a lot of weight and impact. Expect Stanford to win those battles and get out of Pasadena, Calif., with the Pac-12 North title firmly in hand.

College Football Betting Pick: Stanford -1.5



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