College Football Pac 12 Championship Betting Picks: #7 Arizona Wildcats vs #2 Oregon Ducks

2014 Pac 12 Championship Game
#7 Arizona Wildcats vs #2 Oregon Ducks

Levi’s Stadium – Santa Clara, California
Friday, December 5, 2014, 9:20 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Oregon -13 1/2
Current Line: Oregon -14 1/2
Opening Total: 54 1/2
Current Total: 56 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oregon -600 / Arizona +460
Current Money Line: Oregon -625 / Arizona +475

Oregon is a two touchdown favorite in the Pac 12 Championship game against Arizona Friday.
Oregon is a two touchdown favorite in the Pac 12 Championship game against Arizona Friday.

The 11-1 Oregon Ducks are #2 in the College Football Playoff Standings. They are virtually guaranteed a spot in the four team playoff if they win the Pac 12 Championship game on Friday. However, to do that they must beat the only team that has beaten the Ducks this season, the 10-2 Arizona Wildcats. The Wildcats are 10-2 this season and #7 in the standings. There is an outside shot Arizona could make the playoffs but a lot would have to happen for that to occur.

Oregon won the Pac 12 North Division with an 8-1 conference record. No other team was within 3 games of the Ducks in the standings. Oregon is looking for their 7th Pac 10/12 Championship. Arizona won the South Division with a 7-2 record. The Wildcats were given a Black Friday gift by Stanford last week when the Cardinal upset UCLA, allowing Arizona to clinch the division title by beating arch-rival Arizona State last week. Arizona is looking for their first outright Pac 12 title, but they did share the title in 1993 with UCLA and USC, the only previous time the Wildcats won the conference.

Oregon leads the series against Arizona 24-16. Oregon has won 16 of the last 21 games in the series, but Arizona has won 2 straight games. The Wildcats upset the then undefeated Ducks 31-24 October 2 in Eugene. The Ducks have won 7 straight games all by 18 points or more since that game. This is only the second time in the series that Oregon and Arizona will play each other outside of Tucson or Eugene. The two teams played in Portland in 1961.

Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez. Arizona has losses at home to USC 28-26 and at UCLA 17-7. The Wildcats have home wins over UNLV 58-13, Nevada 35-28, Cal 49-45, Colorado 38-20, Washington 27-26 and last week against Arizona State 42-35, along with road wins at UTSA 26-23, Oregon 31-24, Washington State 59-37 and at Utah 42-10. Arizona has won 3 straight games. Arizona is 5-7 ATS and the total is 4-8. The Wildcats were 2 point favorites against Arizona State  and the total was 64.5.

Oregon is coached by Mark Helfrich. The Ducks have home wins over South Dakota 62-13, Michigan State 46-27, Wyoming 48-14, Washington 45-20, Stanford 45-16 and Colorado 44-10. Oregon has road wins at Washington State 38-31, at UCLA 42-30, at California 59-41, Utah 51-27, and last week at Oregon State 47-19. The Ducks were 21.5 point favorites against Oregon State and the total was 66.5. Oregon is 8-4 ATS and the total is 6-5-1 this season.

Arizona is outscoring teams 37-26 this season. The Wildcats are #21 nationally in scoring. Arizona is #22 in total offense  averaging 481 yards per game including the 18th best passing attack at 291 yards per game . The rushing game is #44 out of 128 teams at 190 yards per game. On defense, the Wildcats are allowing 435 yards per game including 275 passing and 160 rushing yards per game. Arizona is #119 nationally in pass defense and #96 in total defense. The Wildcats are +10 in turnovers with 24 takeaways. Arizona is 93/218 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 87/217. Arizona averages 63 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 78. The Wildcats have forced 37 sacks and allowed 28. Arizona is 44/55 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns, and opponents are 35/40 with 24 touchdowns. Arizona has 2 special teams and four defensive touchdowns this season and has allowed one defensive touchdowns.

Arizona freshman quarterback Anu Solomon has been very good this season. He has completed 58.2% of his passes for 3,424 yards with 27 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and he also has 108 carries for 282 yards and a touchdown. He is battling an ankle injury suffered in the Utah game a few weeks ago, but isn’t listed on the injury report.  If he can’t go Jesse Scroggins will start. Scroggins has only completed 4 of 7 passes for 73 yards, and also has 29 rushing yards.

Running back Nick Wilson has 204 carries for 1,263 yards with 15 touchdowns, plus 12 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Terris Jones-Grigsby has 105 carries for 513 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 11 catches. Receiver Cayleb Jones has 63 catches for 831 yards and 8 touchdowns. Samajie Grant has 40 catches for 645 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is out Friday for personal reasons. Austin Hill has 42 catches for 586 yards and 4 touchdowns. Trey Griffey and Davonte’ Neal will also get a lot of targets. Receiver Nate Phillips is out for the season with a foot injury. Seven defensive players are questionable or out.

Oregon is outscoring teams 46-23 this season. Oregon is #4 nationally in scoring and #32 in points allowed. The Ducks average 540 yards per game including 308 passing and 232 rushing yards. Oregon is #4 in total offense and #11 in passing. Even the rushing attack is #24 in the country. Oregon is allowing 430 yards per game on defense, including 272 passing and 158 rushing yards. Oregon is #114 in pass defense and #89 in total defense out of 128 teams. The Ducks are +15 in turnovers for the season with 23 takeaways. Oregon is 96/179 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 101/228. The Ducks have forced 30 sacks and allowed 29. Oregon is 53/62 scoring in the red zone with 42 touchdowns, and opponents are 41/49 with 30 touchdowns. The Ducks are averaging 73 penalty yards per game, and opponents are averaging 55. Oregon has 2 punt returns for touchdowns and a fumble return for a touchdown.

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is a Heisman contender and perhaps even the favorite. Mariota has completed 68.6% of his passes for 3,470 yards with 36 touchdowns and 2 interception, and has rushed for 636 yards on 107 carries with 11 touchdowns. He set the Pac 12 record for total touchdowns.

Running back Royce Freeman has 209 carries for 1,185 yards and 16 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown. Byron Marshall has 44 carries for 352 yards and a touchdown, and 56 catches for 791 yards and 5 touchdowns. Thomas Tyner has 88 carries for 387 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 9 catches and a touchdown. He is questionable with an ankle injury.

Receiver Devon Allen has 36 catches for 638 yards and 6 touchdowns. Dwayne Stanford has 37 catches for 556 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Keanon Lowe has 25 catches for 349 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable for undisclosed reasons. Tight end Pharaoh Brown has 25 catches for 420 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a leg injury. Receiver Bralon Addison is out for the season with a knee injury.

Arizona is 8-1 ATS in Friday games, 6-13 against teams with winning records, 3-9 after a straight up win, 1-4 in December, 1-5 after a cover, and 1-7 on grass. The Wildcats are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 games against the Ducks and were underdogs in each of those contests.

Oregon is 7-0 ATS in Pac 12 games and overall, 5-0 against teams with winning records, 4-0 after passing for 280 yards or more, and after a straight up win by 20 points or more, 14-3 on grass, 4-1 in neutral site games, 20-7 after scoring 40 points or more, and after a straight up win, 18-7-1 after a cover, 35-16-1 after allowing less than 20 points, and 1-4 in Friday games.

Oregon has struggled against Arizona over the last two seasons, but I think the Ducks know what is at stake besides the Pac 12 Championship. I like the Ducks to win a shootout.

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