College Football Picks: Utah at Oregon State Odds and Betting Prediction
by Alan Matthews - 10/18/2012
Back in August, 5Dimes listed wins totals for the major-conference college football teams. Oregon State was coming off a 3-9 mark, the second straight losing season for Mike Riley. The coach was clearly on the hot seat, and the Beavers were given a wins total of 4.5 on the site and were expected to finish near the bottom of the Pac-12 North again.
Now Riley is on a short list for National Coach of the Year as Oregon State is 5-0 for the first time since 1939 (as was pointed out, we had 48 states then) and tied atop the North with Oregon heading into Saturday’s game against Utah. The Beavers are No. 8 in the first BCS standings (and the AP poll).
I don’t want to look too far ahead because, perhaps, the Beavers are doing this with mirrors, but can you imagine if both they and the Ducks are unbeaten heading into the Civil War on Nov. 24? It’s improbable but not impossible for OSU as its remaining schedule after this week is: at Washington, vs. Arizona State, at Stanford and vs. California before hosting Oregon.
By the way, the Pac-12 Championship Game is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 30. One problem: OSU is scheduled to play Nicholls State on Dec. 1, the result of a season-opening postponement because Nicholls State couldn’t travel to Corvallis due to Hurricane Isaac. Obviously, that game would be canceled should OSU be in contention for the Pac-12 title game. Oregon State is +700 on Sportsbook.ag to win the Pac-12.
Could this be a trap game for OSU? The Beavers have played at home just twice all season and once in the past four games, and even Riley admits his team could have a letdown after finally getting back to Reser Stadium and against a struggling Utes squad: "I always warn our team it is a trap you can fall into if you think something different is going to happen, and you can’t do that," Riley said to the local media.
These schools have played 16 times overall but, of course, just became conference foes last year. The Utes won that game in Salt Lake City, 27-8. The Beavers turned the ball over four times, but clearly neither team currently resembles last year’s. This will be Utah’s first visit to OSU in five years.
Utah at Oregon State Betting Storylines
It will be a matchup of backup quarterbacks. Last week, Utah coach Kyle Whittingham tried to spur a struggling offense by starting backup Travis Wilson against UCLA; Wilson actually started the season as the third-stringer behind Jordan Wynn (since retired from football) and Jon Hays. Wilson was mediocre in the 21-14 loss to the Bruins, the third straight defeat to Utah (2-4, 0-3). The freshman completed 23-of-33 passes for 220 yards with no TDs and one pick.
The Utah offense is definitely an issue. It ranks ninth in the Pac-12 in scoring (22.3 points per game), 11th in passing (202.7 yards per game) and 11th in rushing (100.0 ypg, which is No. 116 nationally). The job of first-year offensive coordinator Brian Johnson could be in jeopardy as the Utes thought they could contend for the Pac-12 South this season, although Wynn’s loss all but ended that.
Meanwhile, Oregon State won its first four games thanks largely to sophomore QB Sean Mannion, one of the nation’s top-rated passers. However, he missed last week’s BYU game after minor knee surgery. Mannion has been practicing this week but will sit again.
So Cody Vaz stepped in to take his first snap since 2010 and his first start since high school and completed 20-of-32 passes for 332 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the Beavers' 42-24 victory at BYU. It was pretty impressive against what had been one of the nation’s top-ranked defenses. Vaz’s one-game efficiency mark (180.6) would rank No. 1 in the Pac-12, and he was named the conference’s offensive player of the week.
Vaz might have to carry the offensive burden again because Oregon State can’t run the ball much, either, ranking No. 102 in the country at 119.6 ypg. But Vaz might have the No. 3 receiving duo in the nation (behind West Virginia and USC) in Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton. Cooks is second in the country with 131.8 yards receiving per game, while Wheaton is 10th at 112.8. Utah ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in allowing 226.5 passing yards per game. However, the Utes are last in the conference with two picks and second-to-last in allowing 62.7 percent completions.
Utah at Oregon State Betting Odds and Trends
On 5Dimes, OSU is a 10-point favorite (-400 on moneyline) with the total at 46.5. Utah is 3-3 ATS this year (1-2 on road) and 2-3 “over/under”. Oregon State is 4-1 ATS (1-1 at home) and 2-3 O/U.
The Utes are 6-0 ATS in their past six games following a loss. Utah is 4-0 ATS in its past four games after scoring less than 20 points in its previous game. OSU is 1-5 ATS in its past six games vs. teams with a losing record. The under is 7-2 in Utah’s past nine road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The under is 5-1 in OSU’s past six games vs. teams with a losing record.
College Football Picks: Utah at Oregon State Betting Predictions
Utah has played pretty well against its two previous ranked foes this year. The Utes beat then-No. 25 BYU in Salt Lake City, 24-21, on Sept. 15. Also at home on Oct. 4, Utah lost to Southern Cal, 38-28. The Utes were up 21-10 midway through the second quarter and down just three at the half. Whittingham is 8-9 in his career against AP Top 25 teams.
This is definitely a game where I love the total more than the spread and it’s the under. Now that both Whittingham and Riley have film on the opposing inexperienced quarterback, I would expect a fairly low-scoring game. The only way Utah wins is if it forces turnovers, and the Utes do lead the nation in forced fumbles (13) and fumbles returned for a touchdown (three). At worst, I think this is a push – take the Beavers.
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