Oregon vs. Utah College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions: First-Half Play Offers Value

Oregon vs. Utah College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions: First-Half Play Offers Value article feature image

Rebecca Noble/Getty Images. Pictured: Dalton Kincaid (left) and Cameron Rising (center).

  • Oregon and Utah square off in a game that features two teams chasing potential Pac-12 titles.
  • Meanwhile, the No. 3 Ducks are still in the hunt for the CFP.
  • Collin Wilson has everything you need to know about this game, including his best bet.

Oregon vs. Utah Odds

Saturday, Nov. 20
7:30 p.m. ET
Oregon Odds
-115o / -105u
Utah Odds
-115o / -105u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Pac-12 will feature the showcase game of Saturday evening, as every fan on the West Coast will have their fingers crossed for the conference to stay relevant in the National Championship discussion.

The Oregon Ducks have one loss on the season and would certainly drop out of the top four with a loss to Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. No two-loss team has ever made the College Football Playoff, making this the biggest game of the Ducks' season despite already recording a victory over Ohio State in Columbus.

The path for Oregon does not end here, as a Civil War rivalry with Oregon State looms and a potential rematch with Utah in Las Vegas are the hurdles to stay in the national title picture.

There's no pressure on Utah to win this game. The Utes have a one-game lead on Arizona State in the Pac-12 South with a tie-breaking win already posted over the Sun Devils.

A loss here requires only a home victory over lowly Colorado next Friday to wrap up the division and make plans for Las Vegas to win the conference title and a spot in the Rose Bowl.

Oregon Ducks

Oregon's Offensive Line Continues to Dominate

Head coach Mario Cristobal started his weekly press conference talking about the multiplicity of the Utah offense. The Utes line up in three different formations with heavy-to-light tight end sets with plenty of pre-snap motion that changes the personnel grouping.

The Utah running game will be a heavy test to the Ducks defense, as the unit ranks 74th in Rushing Success Rate and 48th in Line Yards.

The great news for the Oregon defense is its rank of 16th in big play prevention, ranking top-35 against both opponent rush and pass expected points.

Both of Kayvon Thibodeaux's sacks last night pic.twitter.com/z0inw2BlIw

— Billy M (@BillyM_91) November 14, 2021

Defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter has run six different schemes for at least 15 plays this season, primarily out of the 3-3-5 front. Depending on the opponent, there has been an equal distribution in passing downs between the 4-2-5, 2-4-5 and 3-2-6.

The heaviest of blitz packages come out of the nickel secondary on 29% of snaps. This has created a rank of 24th in pass rush but has left the secondary open for opposing quarterbacks to pick off.

DeRutyer has often run defenses that give up the field and firm up in scoring position, but the Ducks have a rank of 95th in defensive red-zone touchdown scoring and a Finishing Drives mark of 60th.

The influence of Joe Moorhead as offensive coordinator cannot be praised enough. This is an offense that went to Columbus and beat Ohio State while being stuffed on just five of its 38 rushing attempts.

Oregon is the top team in the country in Offensive Stuff Rate, a measurement of rushing attempts stopped at or before the line of scrimmage.

On the season, Oregon has been stuffed 12% less than the national average, a sign that this offensive line may be the best run blockers in college football.

"There goes Cardwell!"

📱 https://t.co/63ZQlNUM1u#GoDucks | @ByronCardwell2pic.twitter.com/bPqhShPS5r

— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) November 14, 2021

The Utah defense fields linebacker Devin Lloyd and defensive end Mike Tafua, both of whom rank in the top 43 individually in tackles for loss.

The Oregon offensive line can win this game with blocks, not just in the trench but at the second level with linebackers. The Ducks are fifth in Opportunity Rate, a measuring stick of the offensive line doing its job when four yards are needed.

Oregon is third nationally in Standard Downs Success Rate, consistently moving the chains with 490 plays against just 203 in passing downs. A physical trench dominated Washington and led to the comeback victory over UCLA and remains the key element in defeating Utah.

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Utah Utes

As mentioned by Cristobal, the Utah offense loves to be multiple in its usage of tight ends. No matter the down and distance, offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig shifts between 11, 12 and 13 personnel to disguise the offensive play.

The pre-snap tendencies will also test the Oregon defense, as the Utes call motion on half of their snaps to change personnel with a balance of shotgun versus under center for quarterback Cameron Rising.

Zone read, motion, shovel passes and flea flickers are the biggest challenge for Oregon's defensive front.

We heard you Ute fans all the way from SLC! 🏔

Cam Rising’s flea flicker to Devaughn Vele in @Utah_Football’s 1st ever win at the Coliseum earns the @76#FanFueledMoment of week six.#GoUtes | #Pac12FBpic.twitter.com/W2RX3Vcf8l

— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) October 15, 2021

Rising simply does not make mistakes, posting 13 big-time throws against three turnover-worthy plays. The Oregon defense is 73rd in Havoc, a statistic mostly supported by edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Utah offense has been excellent at limiting mistakes with rank of 18th in Havoc Allowed.

Similar to Oregon, the Utah offensive line has the advantage in this game, particularly on rushing attempts. The Utes are top-10 in Line Yards and excel in Opportunity Rate with rank of seventh in the nation.

Staying in standard downs is the key for Utah since its top-15 Success Rate falls to 72nd in passing downs.

For Utah defensive coordinator Morgan Scalley, the effort is centered around stopping the Oregon rush. A great gauge for this was in the Utes' efforts against the UCLA and Arizona State offenses. Both the Bruins and Sun Devils have heavy-rush attacks with mobile quarterbacks and plenty of pre-snap motion.

Utah stuffed both teams on running attempts at the national average rate, but both Arizona State and UCLA busted explosive runs once getting past the line of scrimmage.

The Utes will get stops behind the line of scrimmage, but when those attempts fai,l the Ducks will be able to create chunk yards on the ground. The evidence supports this in Utah being 12th in Defensive Stuff Rate but 112th in defensive rush expected points.

If Oregon is having success running the ball, expect minimal passing and plenty of methodical, clock-draining drives.

Oregon vs. Utah Matchup Analysis

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

Oregon Offense vs. Utah Defense
Rush Success854
Line Yards679
Pass Success7336
Pass Blocking**8659
Big Play5329
Finishing Drives1043
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Utah Offense vs. Oregon Defense
Rush Success1674
Line Yards846
Pass Success6866
Pass Blocking**6124
Big Play1516
Finishing Drives2660
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling10733
Middle 85256
SP+ Special Teams5123
Plays per Minute6569
Rush Rate59.2% (36)54.% (70)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Oregon vs. Utah Betting Pick

This will be the best game of the weekend from a punch-counterpunch perspective between the coordinators of each team.

Both teams are well-prepared for opponents, as Oregon and Utah average more than a +7 point differential in the first half.

The biggest gap in scoring with these two squads comes in the second half. While Oregon has the ninth-highest point differential in the third quarter, Utah has a negative net scoring number after halftime.

Whatever adjustments are made by opponents, Utah has been quick to resolve as the highest-scoring point differential team in the nation when it comes to fourth quarters.

Utah has been one of the best first-half teams in the nation in scoring differential, a stark contrast to Oregon's 2-7 against-the-spread mark in the first half. The Ducks trailed UCLA, 14-0, through the first quarter before making adjustments on both sides of the ball to dominate the second and third quarters by a score of 27-3.

Against lesser competition, Oregon was tied with Washington State at halftime and led Cal by just one. Pac-12 offenses that run multiple personnel and pre-snap motion have stifled the Ducks through the initial possessions.

Will Rising be able to deal with pressure in passing downs against a ferocious pass rush led by Thibodeaux? In 63 pressured dropbacks this season, Rising has no turnover-worthy plays but a large 28% drop in adjusted completion percentage.

The handicap comes down to offensive tackles Braeden Daniels and Bamidele Olaseni, who have allowed 21 pressures the entire season. Both players rank just within the top 150 of all FBS offensive tackles in pass-blocking grades, but more importantly, Daniels and Olaseni have not allowed a sack the entire season in 652 combined pass-block snaps.

There are other factors in this game that support the Utah side other than the home-field advantage of Rice-Eccles.

The Pac-12 referees have been a consistent issue for Oregon, ranking 112th in penalty yards this season. Utah has been the opposite, getting only 45 flags on the season to rank as one of the 15 least-penalized teams.

There's a large gap in ranks for kickoff return, punting and placekicking. Utah ranks 121st in Special Teams SP+ in comparison to Oregon's top-20 mark. The Ducks are capable of quick scores and excellent field position through kickoff return and punt

The Action Network projection in this game is Utah -2.5, signifying a bit of value on the Ducks for any spread at +3.5 or better.

The game will have plenty of swings and outstanding trench play, but the first-half records cannot be ignored. Oregon consistently gets behind opponents early in games before adjustments get the Ducks on the scoreboard.

With special teams, penalties, offensive tackle play and home-field advantage, this is a Utah first-half play.

The Utes have consistently been beaten in the third quarter, indicating a Ducks comeback and live play as the game plan after kickoff.

Both teams have advantages in Offensive Finishing Drives, but points come in spurts, and the market total of 58.5 is right in line with projections on this game.

Play on Utah early and look for Moorhead and DeRuyter to change up the plan for a Ducks comeback in a game that will come down to the wire.

Pick: Utah 1H ML -140 or Better

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