With just over three months left until kickoff, oddsmakers have pegged some concrete expectations for the Bruins' upcoming season.
BetOnline came out with its over/under regular season win totals for the 2022 college football season on Monday, setting the initial expectations for teams across the country. UCLA's mark was set at 8.5, meaning anyone taking the over would be betting on the Bruins to improve on their 8-4 campaign from last fall.
The odds for UCLA to hit the over are set at -120, while the odds for them to fall short of nine regular season wins are -110.
The Bruins have not reached nine regular season wins since they did so in back-to-back seasons in 2013 and 2014 under coach Jim Mora. Coach Chip Kelly, after finishing his first three regular seasons in Westwood under .500, has not broken eight.
However, UCLA is heavily favored to start the season 3-0 with no Power Five opponents on its nonconference slate. The Bruins would then only need to go 6-3 in Pac-12 play – a mark they achieved in 2021 and four of the last 10 seasons – to hit the over as long as they take care of business against Bowling Green, Alabama State and South Alabama.
UCLA is returning its offensive play-caller, quarterback and running back from the No. 1-ranked scoring attack in the conference last season in Kelly, Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet.
Receiver Kyle Philips, tight end Greg Dulcich, right tackle Alec Anderson and left tackle Sean Rhyan have moved on to the NFL, though, and the defense lost 10 starters to the pros and transfer portal. Former Boston College defensive coordinator Bill McGovern has come in to replace Jerry Azzinaro – reinforced by new position coaches Chad Kauha'aha'a, Ikaika Malloe and Ken Norton Jr. and several top-level transfers – to help turn around the unit that cost the Bruins a handful of wins the past few seasons.
Across the Pac-12, USC has the highest over/under at 9.5 regular season wins. Oregon and Utah are tied with UCLA for the second highest win total at 8.5. With the new division-less Pac-12 Championship Game format introduced on May 18, that means the Bruins are viewed as the second most likely team to face the Trojans in the title game alongside the Ducks and Utes.
Arizona is favored to finish in dead last, boasting a 2.5-win over/under, while Colorado isn't far behind at 3.5 wins. Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State and Washington State all sit at 5.5, while Washington sits at 7.5 and Stanford sits at 4.5.
That makes USC, UCLA, Oregon, Utah and Washington the only Pac-12 teams favored to make a bowl, while the majority of the conference is seen as borderline postseason qualifiers.
UCLA is scheduled to play all three of its fellow preseason co-favorites this fall, starting with a home matchup against Utah on Oct. 8. Following a bye week, the Bruins will face Oregon on the road on Oct. 22.
The crosstown rivalry game between UCLA and USC is set for Nov. 19, a showdown that could decide which program earns a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game based on the current odds.