Oregon at Utah
Time: 4:30 PM CT
Spread: UTA -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
The 6-3 Oregon Ducks won 42-21 over UCLA last week to improve its Conference record to 3-3. This week it travels to face Utah as 4-point underdogs according to college football oddsmakers at 5dimes. The game will air at 4:30 (CT) Saturday on the Pac-12 Network, and it has an over/under set at 53.5 points.
Despite its 6-3 record, the Oregon Ducks have a +9.4 point differential. Its defense is surrendering 27.6 per game while it scores 37.2, ranking No. 22 in the NCAA. The pass offense has picked up since early in the season, now tallying an average of 265.3 yards per game and ranking in the top-40. The Rush attack has not been to shabby in its own right, generating 177.7 yards per game and ranking No. 58.
Defense was an issue in the two weeks prior to last, as Oregon surrendered an average of 39 points per game in its two losses to Washington State and Arizona, but it looked much better in holding UCLA to just 21 points. It will hope to continue that momentum this week against Utah.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert has thrown for 2,333 yards on the season at at 59.2 percent clip with 22 TD passes and just six interceptions. His top receiver Dillon Mitchell has 833 yards on 56 catches, with six TDs. Jacob Breeland has added another 301 yards on just 19 catches, including a 66-yard TD reception. Jaylon Redd has 275 yards and 23 catches and a second-best five receiving TDs. The backfield work has mostly been done by CJ Verdell. He has 690 yards on 140 carries and a team-leading five touchdowns. Herbert has been effective out of the pocket, but hardly devestating. He has 52 attempts for 150 yards (just 2.9 yards-per-attempt), but he is second on the team in rushing TDs with four.
Travis Dye and Tony Brooks-James have each rushed for 351 and 293 yards, respectively, and Oregon is a pretty multifaceted team with a lot of weapons at the skill positions. If its defense can do the job, it should prevail as underdogs against Utah this week. But relying on that defense has been a risky proposition for bettors given the inconsistency of the unit.
The Utah Utes are 6-3 and in first place in the Pac-12 South division. It lost last outing to Arizona State, but prior to that had won four straight weeks against Stanford (then-No. 14), Arizona, USC, and UCLA.
Tyler Huntley has passed for 1,788 yards at a 64.1 percent clip with 12 TD passes and six interceptions. But Zack Moss has been a monster at running back. Moss has 1,092 yards this season and averaging 6.1 yards-per-carry. Moss has 11 of the team’s 17 rushing TDs, with Huntley accounting for four of the others from the QB position. Huntley is the only rusher outside Moss to carry 100 times on the season, and he has 304 yards despite averaging just 2.8 per attempt. Britain Covey is the leading wide receiver with 50 catches for 555 yards, but he has just one touchdown.
Samson Nacua has 306 yards and three TD receptions, but half as many catches (25). The Utes have both Jaylen Dixon and Demari Simpkins over 200 receiving yards, and three others with 100 receiving yards or more. This is a team that can put it on the ground effectively to Moss, or air it out.
Both offenses are multifaceted and it should be a really good game, as indicated by the spread set at just a 4-point difference according to NCAA football oddsmakers.
Even so, the onus is on Oregon’s defense, because its offense has been getting it done. Can it stop Moss?