College Football Odds & Picks For Stanford vs. Oregon: Betting Value Lies With Ducks
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Pickett.
- The Oregon Ducks will kick off their season on Saturday by hosting the Stanford Cardinal in Eugene.
- While the Ducks are making some changes, they return the majority of their impressive defense from the 2019 season.
- Darin Gardner explains whether or not that will be enough to make a statement in their first game of the season below.
Stanford at Oregon Odds
|Stanford Odds||+10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Oregon Odds||-10.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+310/-400 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||50.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
Oregon enters the 2020 season as co-favorites to win the Pac-12 and will kick off the season this Saturday with a home game against Stanford.
Last season, the Ducks won the Pac-12 and went on to beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Stanford, meanwhile, is coming off a 4-8 season and its first below-.500 finish since 2008.
Oregon loses several key contributors on offense, including the potential NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in quarterback Justin Herbert. However, the Ducks return several starters to a defense that ranked as one of the best in the country in almost every key metric in 2019. Stanford returns a solid amount of production on both sides of the ball and will hope to rebound after a very uncharacteristic performance in 2019.
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The Cardinal rank 45th in returning production heading into 2020 and return starting quarterback Davis Mills. Mills was inserted as the starter last season after preseason starter KJ Costello (now at Mississippi State) went down with an injury. The offense struggled as a whole, but Mills managed to finish 41st in Expected Points Added (EPA) per play among quarterbacks with at least 150 snaps.
Stanford also preferred to put the game in his hands, as the Cardinal ranked ninth in pass rate. However, Stanford’s offense as a whole ranked 87th in EPA, 106th in Touchdown Rate, and 107th in Explosive Drive Rate. Stanford was unable to prevent Havoc plays from opposing defenses (96th in Havoc allowed) and ranked 71st in Sack Rate. In terms of pace, Stanford was one of the slower teams in the country, ranking 95th in plays per game.
One positive sign for the defense is that it ranks 36th in returning production. However, those returning players are going to need to improve significantly in 2020 if Stanford wants to excel on that side of the ball.
The unit ranked 97th in EPA and 118th in Success Rate, and 95th in both Touchdown Rate and First Down Rate a season ago. Additionally, Stanford was unable to take the ball away in any capacity. It ranked 125th in Busted Drive Rate and 118th in Turnover Rate. The Cardinal will be hoping that the returning production can help improve this unit significantly.
No matter how you look at it, the Oregon offense is going to have a lot of turnover in 2020.
Quarterback Justin Herbert is now making highlight reels every week in the NFL, and the Ducks lost all five offensive linemen from 2019. Among that group is projected top-five draft pick Penei Sewell, who opted out of the season. There are two candidates that are vying to take over the starting quarterback job: redshirt sophomore Tyler Shough and Boston College transfer Anthony Brown. Shough has been in the program since 2018 and was the 15th highest-rated quarterback in his recruiting class, per the 247Sports composite ratings. Brown got injured while playing for Boston College last year, but he was actually quite effective. Although he only recorded 165 dropbacks last season, he ranked fourth in the nation in EPA per dropback. Brown trailed only Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, and Jalen Hurts in the category.
What may mitigate some of the offensive departures is Oregon’s switch at offensive coordinator. In my opinion, it was a significant upgrade. Joe Moorhead comes in after a stint as head coach at Mississippi State, and he replaces former coordinator Marcus Arroyo.
Arroyo, with an offense that featured the favorite for NFL Rookie of the Year, ranked 65th in pass rate and 84th in plays per game. He significantly handicapped the offense, and Herbert suffered greatly as a result. Moorhead, however, ran an offense that finished 49th in EPA, 45th in Success Rate, and eighth in Rushing EPA. While this may not sound overly impressive, keep in mind he did this with a true freshman quarterback with a very questionable arm while facing a daunting SEC West schedule.
Oregon’s defense could be one of the nation’s most dominant units on either side of the ball this season. The defense was incredible in 2019 and returns several key contributors. However, the unit did take a few hits when slot cornerback Jevon Holland and cornerback Thomas Graham opted out. However, true sophomore Mykael Wright is an incredibly talented replacement for Graham and will be lining up on the other side of veteran Deommodore Lenoir. Those two should be one of the best cornerback duos in the country.
Keep an eye on true sophomore Kayvon Thibodeaux at defensive end as well. He led the team with nine sacks as a true freshman a season ago and was one of the top recruits in the country in 2019. Overall, the defense ranked ninth in EPA, seventh in Touchdown Rate, ninth in Explosive Drive Rate, and fourth in Finishing Drives (points per trip past the 40-yard line).
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Betting Analysis & Pick
If Oregon gets out to a lead, I believe Stanford will have a very hard time coming back on one of the best pass defenses in the country.
Oregon is the more talented team on both sides of the ball, even with all of the offensive departures. I’m a big believer in Moorhead, and I think he will find ways to maximize the talent on his offense in a way that Arroyo never could. My numbers show an edge on Oregon, as I make them a favorite of a little over 12 points. It can be uncomfortable to lay points with a team breaking in a new QB, but give me the Ducks here.
Pick: Oregon -7.5