Arizona vs Utah Odds & Predictions: Back the Wildcats Offense

Arizona vs Utah Odds & Predictions: Back the Wildcats Offense article feature image

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Jayden de Laura (Arizona)

Arizona vs Utah Odds

Saturday, Nov. 5
7:30 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Arizona Odds
-105o / -115u
Utah Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

This weekend, Arizona will travel to Rice-Eccles Stadium, where it hasn’t won since 2014.

A bowl game is likely off the table this season for the 3-5 Wildcats, but their offense has been a positive revelation for a program that has made itself much more competitive than it was a season ago.

Utah is in fourth place in the conference and will need to pick up this win to claw its way back into the Pac-12 Championship picture. The Utes have been able to light up the scoreboard this season, but their defense has been suspect at times, leading to some high-scoring affairs.

Arizona Wildcats

Wildcats Offense

The Arizona Wildcats offense has been surprisingly effective this season. Jayden de Laura has been the driving force behind this as the passing game is where most of the production comes from.

De Laura is averaging 0.17 EPA per dropback, has 21 passing touchdowns and is tied for sixth in the nation in PFF's big-time throws metric. His issue has been turning the ball over, as he is also tied for third in PFF’s turnover-worthy plays.

Overall, the Arizona offense has performed well. The Wildcats are ranked 44th in the nation by SP+ and 20th in Offensive Success Rate. They pass at the 10th-highest rate in the nation (59%). A lot of this has been driven by the game scripts they find themselves in, but they do rank 30th in Passing Success Rate and 23rd in Passing PPA.

When Arizona has actually run the ball, it has been good at it. The Wildcats rank 12th in Rushing Success Rate and eighth in PFF’s rushing grade. The one area where they have lacked offensively is in the explosiveness of their running game.

Wildcats Defense

Arizona may have the worst defense among power-five teams. The Wildcats are ranked 118th by SP+ and dead last (131st) in Defensive Success Rate. They have struggled in just about every way possible this year. 

This defense ranks 131st in Finishing Drives, Havoc Rate and Rushing Success Rate. Additionally, they are 130th in Passing Success Rate, 130th in Rushing PPA and 126th in Passing PPA.

Charting methods don’t do this defense any favors either, as PFF ranks this defense 130th in the country overall and 129th in run defense.

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Utah Utes

Utes Offense

The Utah Utes offense has been one of the stronger units in the country this season. The Utes rank ninth in success rate and 15th in SP+.

The Utes were without quarterback Cam Rising last week, but indications are that he will play on Saturday. Rising's return would be huge news for the Utes as he is averaging 0.25 EPA per dropback and is ranked 21st in PFF passing grade among qualifying quarterbacks.

The Utes rank eighth in Passing Success Rate and 22nd in Rushing Success Rate but have been more methodical driving down the field as they have failed to produce explosive plays. They rank 98th in rushing explosiveness and 116th in passing explosiveness. 

Playing Arizona’s defense, I don’t expect Rising or this offense to have any issues moving the ball this weekend.

Utes Defense 

Utah’s tough defense has historically been part of its identity, but that hasn’t been the case this season. Utah is ranked as the 35th-best defense by SP+ and is 60th in Success Rate.

Neither facet of the Utes defense has been particularly strong. They rank 56th in Rushing Success Rate and 55th in Passing Success Rate.

Utah has struggled to prevent explosive plays this year. The Utes rank 98th in rush play explosiveness and 75th in passing explosiveness.

The rushing component may not be an issue against Arizona as the Wildcats also struggle to generate explosive run plays. However, the Arizona passing attack absolutely has the ability to exploit this weakness. 

This defense is OK, but it isn't one of the shutdown units that Utah has had in the past. Arizona’s offense has the ability score and I think it should have a relatively successful day against this defense.

Arizona vs Utah Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arizona and Utah match up statistically:

Arizona Offense vs. Utah Defense
Rush Success1256
Line Yards17115
Pass Success3055
Pass Blocking**63114
Finishing Drives5566
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Utah Offense vs. Arizona Defense
Rush Success22131
Line Yards28128
Pass Success8130
Pass Blocking**65116
Finishing Drives69131
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling11388
PFF Coverage10826
SP+ Special Teams76100
Seconds per Play24.2 (28)28.3 (102)
Rush Rate42.1% (125)55.4% (52)
Data via (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Arizona vs Utah Betting Pick

I think Arizona’s team total is too low.

Its defense won’t be able to hold up against Utah’s offense, which will lead to the Wildcats playing from behind and passing the ball consistently.

Utah’s defense has just been OK this season and may be liable to allow some big plays to de Laura and this passing game.

Pick:  Arizona TT Over 24.5 (Play to 25.5)

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