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LA Bowl Betting Preview: Live Odds, Player Props, and Best Bets

Earnest Horn
Written by Earnest Horn
December 15, 2023
LA Bowl Betting Preview

Two teams headed in opposite directions collide Saturday as the LA Bowl features the UCLA Bruins (7-5) taking on the Boise State Broncos (8-5) inside SoFi Stadium.

At one time, UCLA was ranked No. 18 by the Associated Press and looked prime for a breakout season under HC Chip Kelly. The Bruins finished the season unranked by losing three of their last four games with their only win during that span against cross-town rival USC. After the season, one-time starting QB Dante Moore

Nine games into the season, Boise State was 4-5 and fired its head coach. In the four games since, interim (and now permanent) HC Spencer Danielson is 4-0 and claimed the Mountain West Conference championship with the Broncos’ decisive 44-20 over UNLV on December 2. Three of those four wins came against teams that went to bowl games.

With the teams trending in opposite directions, which players can bettors count on to deliver a holiday surprise for their wallets? Read on as we reveal our top player prop bets as well as the best bet for the LA Bowl.

QB Ethan Garbers (UCLA) - Under 212.5 Passing Yards

With Moore out of the picture, UCLA is turning over its starting QB role to Ethan Garbers. This season, Garber completed 66% of his passes for the Bruins, accumulating 984 passing yards and nine TDs in seven games. The junior from Newport Beach, California, netted a mere 89 rushing yards on 32 carries as he was unable to show opponents he was a running threat.

In the four games since Danielson took over, no opposing QB has accumulated more than 200 yards against the Broncos’ defense. And only two teams have exceeded the 215 yard passing mark needed to successfully cover this wager. With Garbers’ limited experience and a stingy defense facing him, expect the Broncos to keep UCLA’s QB from covering this player prop bet.

RB Ashton Jeanty (Boise State) - Over 87.5 Rushing Yards

Despite missing two games this season, Broncos RB Ashton Jeanty earned Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors after his terrific sophomore season. In 2023, Jeanty logged 1,262 rushing yards on 203 carries while also nabbed 39 passes for 552 receiving yards. In total, the athlete scored 19 times for the Broncos this season.

While taking the under is a strong consideration, savvy bettors will take the over on Jeanty’s rushing prop bet. First, UCLA’s strong defense – one that did not yield a 100-yard rusher all season – lost its coordinator to cross-town rival USC after the season.

Secondly, the Bruins will be without a couple of key defensive players who are sitting out this contest. Expect both Jeanty and senior RB George Holani to produce on the ground during this contest and easily cover the player prop bet.

WR Logan Loya (UCLA) - Over 50.5 Receiving Yards

UCLA WR Logan Loya is on a hot streak as the senior from Garden Grove, California, readies for his final game as a Bruin. This season, Loya caught a team-best 58 receptions for 650 yards and five TDs.

Over the past two games, Loya caught 18 balls for 148 yards and a TD. He’s easily bested all other receivers for UCLA during that span. Expect Garbers to target Loya early and often and cover this player prop bet.

Best Bet: Boise State +4

Winning a bowl game often comes down to two elements for participating teams. The first item bettors should consider is which team has momentum entering the contest, and the second thing to examine is which team is excited about playing in the game.

Bettors should give the nod to Boise State as the team entering the LA Bowl with momentum. Under Danielson, the Broncos finished the season by beating two teams with a combined 17-8 record. UCLA dropped its season finale to California 33-7, and multiple athletes – including their starting QB – hit the transfer portal after the season.

In terms of excitement to go to this bowl, Boise again makes the grade. Less than six weeks ago, the Broncos were under .500 and threatening to miss a bowl game for the third time in four years. The team recouped, winning the Mountain West Championship along the way.

UCLA, conversely, owned a 6-2 record heading into November and a top 25 ranking. The Bruins then lost three of their next four games to reach a bowl game barely 30 minutes away from campus. All factors considered, expect Boise State to cover the spread if not win outright Saturday at SoFi Stadium.

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