UCLA vs. NC State Holiday Bowl Odds & Free Pick

December 28, 8:00 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
NC State -2

NOTE: This game has been canceled

They don't meet too often but the ACC runs into the PAC-12 when North Carolina State battles UCLA in the Holiday Bowl Tuesday night for the first-ever football game at Petco Park in San Diego. The Wolfpack finished in second place in the ACC's Atlantic Division this season while the Bruins finished in third place in the PAC-12 South. And both teams look like they're on the rise. NC State is lined as a short cross-country favorite here; who do we like for our free college football betting pick?

Holiday Bowl Betting Odds

The college football bowl season betting lines opened North Carolina State as a three-point favorite for this Holiday Bowl, with an over/under of right around 60. Early betting action then dipped the Wolfpack to -2. According to Sagarin's ratings at USAToday.com NC State should be favored by 2.5 points for this match-up.

Holiday Bowl Football Betting Preview

UCLA played 8-4 this season and 6-3 in the PAC-12 to post its first winning record in six seasons! The Bruins started 5-2 this season, with a win over LSU, the losses coming against a pretty good Fresno State team and Arizona State. UCLA then lost back-to-back to Oregon and eventual PAC-12 champion Utah to fall from contention in the PAC-12 South. But the Bruins then rebounded to win their last three games, including a 62-33 rout in the rivalry bout with USC and a season-ending 42-14 victory over Cal. So UCLA is back in a bowl for the first time since 2017. The Bruins actually trailed the Bears in that season finale 14-10 deep into the second quarter, then scored the last 32 points of the game and covered easily as six-point favorites. UCLA out-gained and out-rushed each of its last three opponents, all by large margins, and played 3-0 ATS along the way. Meanwhile, North Carolina State played 9-3 this season and 6-2 in the ACC to post its seventh winning record over the last eight seasons. The Wolfpack started 1-1, with a loss at Mississippi State, then won four straight, including an overtime decision over Clemson. NC State then lost by a point at Miami, beat Louisville and Florida State but lost by a field goal at Wake Forest, essentially falling from contention in the ACC Atlantic right there. The Pack then won their last two games, including a 34-30 come-from-behind decision over rival North Carolina in the season finale. So North Carolina State is back in a bowl for the second straight season. The Wolfpack trailed the Tar Heels in that last game 30-21 late but scored twice in the last minute and a half to steal victory from the jaws of defeat. NC State out-gained five of its last seven opponents but got out-rushed by each of its last three foes. These two programs last met way back in 1960, a 7-0 UCLA victory.

College Football Betting Trends

  • UCLA played 1-4 both SU and ATS against teams that made bowls this season.
  • North Carolina State played 4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS against teams that made bowls this season.
  • Over the last six-plus seasons the PAC-12 is 6-1 SU but only 2-4-1 ATS against the ACC.

Totals Report

Overs are 7-5 in UCLA games this season, which are averaging 63 total points. Overs are also 7-5 in NC State games this season, which are averaging 53 points.

UCLA vs. NC State Prediction 12/28/21

UCLA owns the check-mark on offense while North Carolina State gets the check-mark on defense, and we usually love betting the better defense in match-ups like this. However, the Bruins are also averaging 220 yards on the ground per game while the Wolfpack are only getting 127. Also, UCLA finished very strong, averaging almost 50 points per game its last three times out, while NC State needed help to beat an iffy North Carolina outfit. Plus, we wonder if the travel might come into play here; one team is going to take a bus to the game, the other, not so much. We’re betting the Bruins here, for the win.

Free Pick: 
Take UCLA +2.5