Sportsbooks have UCLA as a seven-point favorite over Pittsburgh in Friday’s Sun Bowl in El Paso.
The big question was whether UCLA star quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet would play in the game or opt out. Both are practicing and expected to play, with Thompson-Robinson taking most of the first-team snaps while Charbonnet was in-and-out.
When the bowl matchup was announced earlier this month, the Bruins opened as four-point favorites, lower than expected but understandable due to the uncertainty. The line has been steadily bet higher, up to UCLA -7.5 at DraftKings sportsbooks, which reports that 76% of the bets and 81% of the money has been on the Bruins. This would appear to be an indication that “someone knows something.” For current figures, see the VSiN betting splits page.
Pittsburgh, which won its last four regular-season games, has its own issues as former USC quarterback Kedon Slovis is back in the transfer portal after playing 11 games for the Panthers this year with 2,397 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Pitt will also be without top running back Israel Abaniknada.
The over/under has been set at 54 points, which seems a little low with UCLA averaging 39.6 points per game and Pittsburgh 30.8, though the Panthers have the better defense, giving up 23.4 points per game. UCLA’s Achilles’ heel was giving up 28.3.
The betting market seems to think points won’t be a problem as 77% of the bets and 56% percent of the money was on the over 53.5 at Draftkings as of early Wednesday.