Rice-Eccles Stadium, in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the site for a Pac-12 NCAA Football game between the Oregon Ducks against the Utah Utes. Oregon is coming off a 42-21 Pac-12 win over UCLA and the Utes lost a tough Pac-12 game against Arizona State, 38-20. Utah is in a three-way tie for first place in the Pac-12 South and a win would keep their title hopes alive while Oregon is hoping a win would bolster their Bowl Game chances. Kick-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm eastern.
Oregon Solid in Win over UCLA
Junior quarterback Justin Herbert threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Ducks to a double up over UCLA 42-21. Junior wide receiver Dillon Mitchell was on the receiving end of both touchdowns and ended the day hauling in eight passes for 156 yards. Freshman running back CJ Verdell rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown and Senior running back Tony Brooks-James rushed for 75 yards and a TD. It was a solid offensive effort and the win made Oregon Bowl Game eligible.
If Oregon has a weakness, it’s the defense. As a unit they allow 392 total yards per game and opponents score an average of 27.6 points per game. The Ducks defense allows teams to convert 40 percent of their third downs, 38 percent of their fourth downs and allow teams to score on 82 percent of their trips to the Red Zone. This season the Ducks defense has recorded 19 sacks, one fumble return for a touchdown, two ppick-sixesand have intercepted 13 passes this season. Maybe the Ducks defense is better than advertised?
Tyler Huntley Ruled Out for the Season
Utes quarterback Tyler Huntley left last Saturdays game in the third quarter with a broken collarbone, the Utes defense didn’t get the job done and Arizona State smashed Utah 38-20. Junior running back Zack Moss rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown, Sophomore Samson Nacua hauled in four passes for 68 yards and a touchdown and Senior kicker Matt Gay kicked two field goals including a 40 yard boot to round out the Utes scoring. The Utes three turnovers didn’t help very much either in the Saturday loss to Arizona State.
The defense didn’t play well against Arizona State and over the season Utah has allowed teams to average 314 total yards and teams score roughly 19.1 points per game. Teams convert 32 percent of their third downs, 38 percent of their fourth downs and teams score on 56 percent of their trips to the Red Zone. The Utes defense has two pick sixes, ten interceptions and 21 sacks this season. The Utes defense is for real.
- Utes are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Utes are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
- Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Huntley being out is a killer for the Utes and I don’t see how this football team overcomes this. Sure, they could overcome it but I don’t think it’s a very likely scenario. The Utah defense in general and particularly their Red Zone defense has been very strong, but if the offense can’t move the ball, the defense is going to be on the field far too long. The Oregon offense is too good to not keep the Utes defense on the field and I see them scoring at least three touchdowns against the Utes defense. I don’t see Utah scoring more than 12 points in this tackle football game. I will be backing Oregon on Saturday.
Prediction: Oregon +3.5
Full-Game Total Pick
This is going to be primarily a defensive battle. At least that’s how I see it. I don’t see a bunch of scoring this Saturday from either team. Maybe 40 points combined and I think I’m being generous. The weather will be favorable for high scoring but these defenses are pretty darn good, so I don’t expect many points. I will take the under on Saturday.
Prediction: Under 56.5 points