Stanford vs Oregon Picks & Predictions: Back Nix, Ducks to Keep on Rolling
Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images. Pictured: Bo Nix (Oregon)
Stanford vs. Oregon Odds
The Oregon Ducks host the Stanford Cardinal in a Pac-12 After Dark matchup at Autzen Stadium on Saturday night.
The Ducks are chomping at the bit for revenge after being upset in overtime last year by the Cardinal 31-24 at Stanford Stadium.
It’s been all down hill for the Cardinal since that upset victory last season. The Cardinal won that game to move to 3-2, then lost their last seven games to end the season. They have now lost their first two games against FBS programs this year.
The Ducks haven’t lost outright as a favorite since that loss at Stanford last season, and they will look to make a statement in Eugene as they ride the momentum of last week’s 12-point fourth quarter comeback in Pullman.
If the Cardinal cover or pull the unlikely upset again, they need their offensive tackles to get healthy so that quarterback Tanner McKee has time to get the ball to his big targets at receiver and tight end.
The Cardinal also need their defense to step up and create some Havoc while bad Bo Nix helps them out.
The Cardinal offense has had success moving the ball in conference play against USC and Washington, but allowing Havoc has consistently spoiled their momentum — they rank 129th (out of 131 FBS teams) in Havoc Allowed.
Pair that with a defense that doesn’t have a strength right now — as the Cardinal rank outside of the top 85 in nearly all metrics — and it has been a struggle on The Farm.
The Cardinal have both of their starting offensive tackles — left tackle Walter Rouse and right tackle Myles Hinton — listed as questionable. It is imperative that the Cardinal get at least Rouse back to guard McKee’s blind side because he is a statue in the pocket without great quickness.
Furthermore, one of the Cardinal’s backup tackles and better starting interior linemen, Branson Bragg, recently retired from football. That means the Cardinal could be forced to start their fifth option at tackle if both Rouse and Hinton are out.
This at times was the case last week, and it was ugly, as the Washington pass rush teed off on McKee for eight total sacks.
The Stanford defense, which ranks 127th in Line Yards, 119th in Havoc created and 87th in Pass Rush, needs to show signs of life at Autzen for the Cardinal to remain competitive.
The defensive line is undersized — especially at defensive tackle — and will need to step up against an Oregon offensive line that leads the country in PFF Pass Blocking Grade and has not allowed a sack this season.
If the Ducks win and cover, it will be because Nix makes quality decisions while the defense solves the Stanford slow mesh — and gets after McKee.
The Ducks should have no trouble moving the ball against this Stanford defense. They will overpower the Cardinal in the run game, and their elite pass protection should give Nix enough time to find playmakers down the field or scramble for first downs.
The Ducks' offense ranks among the top 50 in all metrics and can be elite when Nix is at his best.
The Ducks also have an incredibly deep running back room that will be relentless all season long.
Defensively, the Ducks' pass rush needs to step up, as the defense currently ranks outside of the top 100 in Pass Success Rate Allowed, PFF Pass Rush Grade, Havoc created and Finishing Drives.
If the Cardinal are without both starting tackles, their backups won’t have the speed to handle Oregon’s athletes on the edge. Miscommunications because of a lack of experience together could make it open season for Ducks' pass rushers on McKee.
Stanford has started to utilize the slow mesh, run-pass-option — which Wake Forest is known for — but without its tackles holding off edge defenders, this play is doomed from the start (as it was last week in Seattle).
Shutting down this play for the Cardinal rushing attack will be key for the Ducks.
Stanford starting running back E.J. Smith was ruled out for the season this week, but backup Casey Filkins is a quick and versatile player who is also dangerous in space.
Stanford vs. Oregon Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Stanford and Oregon match up statistically:
Stanford Offense vs. Oregon Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Oregon Offense vs. Stanford Defense
|** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)|
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||56||68|
|Seconds per Play||25.2 (33)||26.0 (54)|
|Rush Rate||54.5% (59)||52.0% (79)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.
Stanford vs. Oregon Betting Pick
The Ducks circled this game on their calendars long ago and are looking for revenge against the Cardinal after a disappointing and controversial loss at Stanford Stadium last year.
Their offense should have no trouble against a poor Cardinal defense, as they will run all over them while Nix makes big plays in the passing game and on scrambles.
The only question is if McKee and Stanford can keep up on the other side.
If the Cardinal have both of their tackles — or at least Rouse — available, I’m optimistic that they can at least keep the game competitive. But if Rouse is out, the Cardinal offensive line won’t have the athleticism to protect McKee’s blind side.
This is a late kickoff at 11 p.m. ET, and I like that these first-quarter or first-half bets might be more ideal for some than a full-game play (and I don’t like the idea of leaving the back door open for the Stanford offense in the fourth quarter).
If Rouse and or Hinton play, this will mean Oregon will need to continue scoring to keep the game out of reach. I love the value of parlaying either Oregon on the first-half or first-quarter spread in a same game parlay in this scenario with the Ducks to score over 39.5 points (with value up to 41.5).
If you can’t do a same game parlay, I still like the play on Oregon Over 39.5 Points if Rouse plays.