College Football Predictions: Utah at Oregon Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 11/14/2013
All eyes will be on the Ducks here. They were humiliated last weekend — their six-point loss at Stanford wasn’t nearly as close as the score would suggest. It shattered their National Championship hopes, and it probably ended their Pac-12 Championship dreams as well. However, to maintain any further chance of success at all this year, they need to win here and win big. They also need to show that what happened to them last time out was that they ran into a truly exceptional defense — not that a team decoded their offense in a manner that can be repeated by other, lesser teams.
Utah is a very odd case this year. In six Pac-12 games this year, they have just one win. Unlike Oregon, though, they can claim to have beaten Stanford. It was a result that came absolutely from nowhere — arguably the most surprising result of this entire college football season. They haven’t looked nearly as strong since, though they nearly upset Arizona State last week before losing by a single point. Their best efforts have come at home, though — they are 2-2 ATS at home in conference play but 0-2 ATS on the road — so they are at a distinct disadvantage playing in what will be a hostile and slightly unsettled Autzen Stadium.
Utah at Oregon Betting Storylines
Marcus Mariota, the Oregon QB, went from strong Heisman favorite to also-ran in the course of one poor performance at Stanford. Of bigger concern than hardware for this game, though, is the status of his knee. A sprained MCL limited his effectiveness against Stanford, and getting beat up like he did in that game surely didn’t improve the state of that joint. Neither he nor his team is willing to talk about the knee, and he is expected to play. His status needs to be paid close attention to, though. Oregon likely has more than enough to win regardless of how healthy he is, but it would make a big impact on their ability to cover if he were out or limited.
Luckily, Oregon has given us a precedent to look back on. Last year, Stanford crushed Oregon’s national title hopes. They played at Oregon State the next week and bounced back with a strong 48-24 win — easily covering the 11.5 point spread. That could indicate that they could bounce back again here. The challenge is, though, that we can’t be certain of the mindset of the team after this most recent loss. It’s a different challenge here, though. This is the second time in a row that they have gone through the same thing, and now the team knows that changes are likely for next year — starting with the potential departure of Mariota. It would be easy for this team to feel sorry for themselves after another wasted opportunity, and they could come out flat. Even a flat Oregon team is likely good enough to win unless they really lay an egg, but it would be easy for them to a win by less than this spread requires. Regardless of what happens, we are going to have a better sense of the mental toughness of this Oregon squad this year based on how they perform here — information that could be useful in potentially challenging remaining games at Arizona and against Oregon State in a bitter rivalry game.
Utah at Oregon College Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Oregon favored by 25 points, and the line has risen slightly to 26 and even 26.5 in spots. Oregon has drawn about three-quarters of the betting action so far, so the line movement isn’t surprising. While the movement isn’t surprising, it is a little bit of a shock that the line opened where it did. Given where the past lines have been for the Ducks this year, you have to imagine that the line would have been larger if the Ducks had won big last week and Mariota was completely healthy. The total sits at 64.
Utah has gone “under” the total in each of their last six games and in their last five conference games. They Ducks have covered the spread in each of their last four games following an ATS loss. This is the first meeting between the squads since Utah joined the Pac-12.
College Football Predictions: Utah at Oregon Picks
I’d love to pick the plucky Utes here to keep things close, but I just can’t do it. Oregon is at home, they should be angry, and they have been strong in bounce-back games. I can’t explain what Utah did against Stanford, but there is no reason to believe that they can contain the offense of Oregon. If the Ducks don’t cover this spread then we should be very concerned about them going forward.
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