Pac 12 College Football Picks: Oregon State Beavers at Utah Utes

Oregon State Beavers at Utah Utes
Rice-Eccles Stadium – Salt Lake City, Utah
Saturday, September 14, 2013, 10:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports One
Opening Line: Oregon State -3
Current Line: Utah -3
Opening Total: 57
Current Total 58
Opening Money Line: Utah -120 / Oregon State +100
Current Money Line: Utah -145 / Oregon State +125

Utah is a 3 point favorite at home against Oregon State in the Pac 12 opener for both schools.
Utah is a 3 point favorite at home against Oregon State in the Pac 12 opener for both schools.

The 1-1 Oregon State Beavers travel to Salt Lake City Saturday to take on the 2-0 Utah Utes in the Pac 12 opener for both schools. Oregon State leads the series 10-6-1. The series dates back to 1931 and the two schools have split the two meetings since Utah joined the now Pac 12 with each winning at home. Utah won 27-8 in Salt lake City in 2011, and Oregon State won in Corvallis 21-7 last year.

Oregon State is coached by Mike Riley. After being upset at home by FCS school Eastern Washington 49-46 to open the season, Oregon State rebounded last week 33-14 at home over Hawaii. The Beavers are 0-2 ATS and the total is 1-1. Against Hawaii, Oregon State was a 26 point favorite and the total was 55. Oregon State took an early 14-0 lead on two touchdown passes from quarterback Sean Mannion. Hawaii would tie it up at 14 before halftime. Mannion threw two more third quarter touchdown passes to put Oregon State up 28-14. The Beavers would add a field goal and a safety in the fourth to win by 19. Mannion threw for 372 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception, but the interception was returned 23 yards for a Hawaii touchdown.

Oregon State is outscoring teams 39.5-31.5 this season. The Beavers are averaging 517.5 yards per game including 436.5 passing yards. On defense, Oregon State is allowing 432 total yards per game including 309 passing yards. The Beavers are even in turnovers with one takeaway. OSU is 15/31 on third and fourth down conversions. The Beavers have forced 6 sacks so far in two games. Oregon State is 12/12 scoring in the red zone with 10 touchdowns.

Mannion has completed 79.1% of his passes for 794 yards with 7 touchdowns and an interception. Running back Storm Woods has 33 carries 118 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 15 catches for 139 yards. Receiver Brandin Cooks has 20 catches, 288 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Connor Hamlett has 13 catches, 97 yards and a touchdown. Three Beaver defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed as questionable to out Saturday. 

Utah is coached by Kyle Whittingham. The Utes are 2-0 with home victories over in-state rivals Utah State 30-26 and Weber State 70-7. Utah is 2-0 ATS and both games have gone over the total. Utah easily covered the 28 point spread against Weber State and went over the 48.5 total by halftime. The Utes scored the first 56 points of the game, including a 49-0 lead at halftime. Weber finally got on the board midway through the third. The Utes would add two more touchdowns to complete the rout. Utah had 628 total yards, including 338 rushing yards. The Utes held the Wildcats to 205 total yards. Weber had 2 turnovers. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson had 357 combined passing and rushing yards with 5 total touchdowns. Running back Lucky Radley had 13 carries for 111 yards with 2 touchdowns.

Utah is outscoring teams 50-16.5 so far this season. Utah is averaging 539 yards per game including 243 rushing yards. On defense, the Utes are allowing 346 yards per game, including 121 rushing yards.   The Utes are +2 in turnovers with 3 takeaways. Utah is 14/30 on third and fourth down conversions. The Utes have forced 9 sacks this season. Utah is 7-8 scoring in the red zone with 6 touchdowns.

Wilson has completed 66% of his passes for 566 yards, with 5 touchdowns and no picks. He also has 11 carries for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns. Radley has 13 carries, 111 yards and 2 touchdowns. James Poole, Kelvin York, Karl Williams and Marcus Williams all get several carries a game as well. York and the two Williams each have a touchdown run. Receiver Sean Fitzgerald has 8 catches, 166 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dres Anderson has 6 catches, 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. Four Ute defensive players are listed as questionable to out.

Oregon State is 5-1 ATS after failing to cover, after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, and after rushing for 100 yards, 9-3 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 7-3 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 18-8-1 in road games, 13-6-1 against teams with winning home records, 8-19-1 in September, 2-6 after allowing less than 20 points, 1-4 overall, and 0-4 after a straight up win.

Utah is 6-1 ATS at home, 21-10 after scoring more than 40 points, 4-12 after a straight up win, 3-9 after allowing less than 100 rushing yards, 1-4 after passing for 280 yards or more, 2-8 after allowing 20 points or less, 1-5 after a win by 20 points or more, and 0-5 after allowing less than 170 passing yards.

It is hard what to make of these two teams after two games. While Eastern Washington is a strong FCS program that won a national championship a few years ago, Oregon State should have been able to beat them at home. Utah beat a good Utah State team, and both have blowout victories over inferior teams. Oregon State is probably better on offense, and Utah has the advantage on defense. Bookmakers are as confused as I am, as they opened Oregon State as a 3 point road favorite. Within 2 hours heavy money on Utah moved the Utes to a 1 point favorite. It has since gone up to Utah -3. However, I think Oregon State pulls off the mild upset on the road.

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