Oregon State vs. Purdue Odds, Pick, Prediction: Total Has Value in Power 5 Matchup (Sept. 4)
Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: David Bell.
- Two Power Five programs meet as Purdue hosts Oregon State.
- The Boilermakes and Beavers both hope to improve off similar 2-4 seasons a year ago.
- Check out Roberto Arguello's full betting guide with odds, picks and predictions for the game.
Oregon State vs. Purdue Odds
The Oregon State Beavers visit the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette in each team’s season opener on Saturday night.
These teams had similar experiences in the shortened 2020 season. Each team went 2-4 and had five of its six games being decided by one score. Both teams also have competitive quarterback situations heading into the season.
With both teams’ season win totals set at five, this game will go a long way toward bowl eligibility for the winner.
After previously being the doormat of the Pac-12 North, the Beavers showed signs of life in 2019 in coach Jonathan Smith's second season as they finished 5-7.
The Beavers dropped their first two games of the season in 2020, but they bounced back with consecutive upsets over California and rival Oregon in the Civil War. Starting quarterback Tristan Gebbia suffered a hamstring injury at the end of the Oregon game, and the Beavers offense wasn't the same with backup Chance Nolan.
Star running back Jermar Jefferson has moved on to the NFL, and Gebbia's hamstring remains less than 100%, so Colorado transfer Sam Noyer will start on Saturday after beating out Nolan for the starting spot.
Noyer will lead an offense that will look to pound the ball on the ground. The Beavers offensive line ranked seventh in Line Yards last season. The Beavers finished with the top Rushing Success Rate in the entire FBS.
South Carolina RB transfer Deshaun Fenwick hopes to pick up where Jefferson left off in 2020. Fenwick is a physical, bruising back who stands at six-foot-one and 230 pounds. B.J. Baylor and Trey Lowe will also get some touches out of the backfield as all three running backs are listed as co-starters.
Noyer is also a threat to run, as he rushed 52 times in six games last season for 4.0 yards per carry and five touchdowns.
The key to Oregon State pulling the upset for the offense will be the receivers. Wideouts like Trevon Bradford and Tre’Shaun Harrison need to step up and consistently get separation so that Noyer can complete easier passes and get the ball out quickly. Noyer struggled throwing the ball last season as Colorado finished with the second-worst Successful Pass Play Rate in the Pac-12 in 2020.
The Beavers defense is led by one of the best off-ball linebackers in the PaC-12, Avery Roberts. Oregon State also added talented transfer cornerback Elijah Jones from Kansas. Jones is a press corner who ranked 17th in coverage grade in single coverage among 104 qualifying Power Five outside cornerbacks last season (per PFF).
Jones suffered a foot injury in the third week of camp and has been limited in practice this week in hopes of playing on Saturday.
Beyond these two, the rest of the defense lacks impact players, as there isn't a single other defender who has a positive Wins Above Average (WAA) rating. The defensive line is short on both talent and depth, and the secondary is thin besides Jones.
The Beavers ranked second-to-last in the Pac-12 in expected points added allowed per pass play last year and are now without their highest-graded defensive back from that group, Nahshon Wright. They must step up against the explosive Purdue passing attack to cover or have a chance to pull the upset on Saturday.
Like Oregon State, Purdue has to replace its X-factor on offense: receiver Rondale Moore. Purdue also entered the offseason with a quarterback competition between Aidan O'Connell and Jack Plummer.
O'Conell had the better 2019 season, but he regressed in 2020. On the other hand, Plummer struggled in 2019 but improved significantly in 2020. It was unclear if a starter would be named before kickoff, but coach Jeff Brohm elected to name Plummer, who was the higher-ranked recruit, the starter on Wednesday.
Plummer will lead a Boilermaker offense that likes to take aggressive shots down the field, which can lead to big plays for both teams at times.
Many Purdue fans were hoping Plummer would be the starter because of his bigger arm, better accuracy as a passer and improved play in 2020. While Moore is gone, he should still have plenty of help on the perimeter as the Boilermakers should have one of the best receiving groups in the Big Ten.
David Bell was the 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and he followed that up with an impressive sophomore campaign where he accumulated at least 100 receiving yards in four of six games in 2020 while earning first team All-Big Ten honors. Per Pro Football Focus, the six-foot-two receiver's 30 contested catches over the last two seasons are the most by any Power Five receiver (by seven catches).
Milton Wright is another talented receiver who chose the Boilermakers over Alabama and other schools and stands at six-foot-three. When Moore went down last season with an injury, Wright stepped up and looks to pick up where he left off in his first season as a full-time starter.
Running back Zander Horvath is a bruiser on the ground at six-foot-three and 230 pounds, but he is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. His yards after contact, broken tackles after the catch, and yards after the catch per reception metrics all ranked in the top five among Power Five backs.
The Purdue offensive line finished a woeful 116th in Line Yards last season, and it must show significant improvement for Horvath to make an impact on the ground. The line was more proficient in pass protection as the Boilermakers finished 26th in Sack Rate.
The Purdue defense is similar to its offense in that it likes to take chances to make big plays, but it is also susceptible to giving up big plays.
Defensive end George Karlaftis leads the Boilermakers defense as he is a powerful player with good length and heavy hands. He played in just three games last year due to injury, but he thrived as a freshman. Per PFF, the former top-100 recruit tallied 55 pressures and trailed only Oregon's Kayvon Thibodeaux in PFF grade among freshman edge defenders in 2019.
The rest of the defense, however, is a work in progress. Purdue lacks impact players elsewhere, and it finished 2020 with a ranking outside the top 100 in Passing Success Rate Allowed, Havoc, and Sack Rate. Karlaftis being healthy will certainly push them in the right direction, but who will step up around him?
Oregon State vs. Purdue Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Oregon State and Purdue match up statistically:
Oregon State Offense vs. Purdue Defense
Purdue Offense vs. Oregon State Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Oregon State vs. Purdue Betting Pick
As you can see in the matchup analysis above, both offenses should have the edge against the opposing defenses: Oregon State should have success on the ground while Purdue should have success through the air.
While Purdue's big-play tendency from both its offense and defense should promote scoring, the Oregon State offense should slow things down enough with their rushing attack to bleed the clock and keep the final score below the total.
Neither starting quarterback took all of the starting reps throughout training camp leading up to this game, and with it being the first game of the season, I love the value of fading both offenses with such a high total.
Both offenses could become one-dimensional, and I expect the defenses to be able to use this to their advantage to get enough stops in the red zone for the under to hit. I bet this under at 69 and like the value at the price of -110 down to 65.