Oregon vs. Utah Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our Top Bets for Friday’s Pac-12 Championship
Ezra Shaw and Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured from left: Anthony Brown (13) of the Oregon Ducks and Devaughn Vele (17) of the Utah Utes.
- Championship weekend is here, and the Power Five action kicks off with Oregon vs. Utah in the Pac-12 Championship.
- These two teams went to battle two weeks ago with Utah winning in impressive fashion.
- Read on for our staff's bets for Friday night's game.
Oregon vs. Utah Odds
-105o / -115u
-105o / -115u
Oregon vs. Utah
The Oregon Ducks face the Utah Utes for the second time this season on Friday night, but this time, it’s for the Pac-12 Championship.
The Utes dominated the Ducks just two weeks ago, 38-7, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City as Utah took a 28-0 lead into halftime. The Ducks came into the game seemingly controlling their own destiny for a College Football Playoff berth, but the loss effectively eliminated the Conference of Champions from CFP contention.
The Ducks still needed to win last week to avoid a three-way tie for the Pac-12 North crown that would have sent Washington State to the Pac-12 Championship. The Ducks prevailed in the Civil War with a 38-29 win that wasn’t as close as the final score would suggest.
The Utes had already clinched the Pac-12 South before last Saturday, but they finished the season with a 28-13 win over Colorado, although they failed to cover as 24-point favorites.
The Ducks will be playing for revenge instead of playing for the Playoff. However, so will the Utes, as they were ranked fifth heading into the Pac-12 Championship in 2019 before the Ducks dominated them, 37-15, to end their CFP hopes.
With both teams looking for revenge and a Rose Bowl berth, who will come out on top in the first Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas?
Oregon vs. Utah Spread
If the Ducks cover or win outright, it will be because they do a better job of running the football and stopping the run than they did in Salt Lake City a fortnight ago. Oregon rushed for just 63 yards (on 2.7 yards per carry and no touchdowns), while it allowed Utah to rush for 208 yards (on 4.2 yards per carry with four rushing touchdowns).
Both offenses have nearly identical advanced statistical profiles. The Oregon and Utah rushing offenses rank seventh and ninth nationally in Line Yards and 13th and 14th in Rush Success Rate, respectively. Both offenses rank among the top 27 offenses in big plays, Havoc Allowed, and Finishing Drives.
These offenses are built off of the run game being used to set up the pass, as they rank in the 60s in Pass Success Rate, while Oregon Ranks 70th in pass blocking and Utah ranks 92nd in pass blocking.
However, the big difference between these teams comes on the defensive side of the ball, where the Utes are considerably healthier. The Utes rank among the top 50 nationally in all of the defensive advanced stats except Line Yards, where they rank 67th.
Meanwhile, the Ducks rank among the top 50 in Line Yards and Pass Rush thanks to Kayvon Thibodeaux and the defensive line, but they are outside the top 80 in both Passing and Rushing Success Rates, big plays, Havoc, and Finishing Drives.
The Oregon defense has been beaten up for the majority of the season. Athletic middle linebacker Noah Sewell and cornerback Mykael Wright are expected to play while Keith Brown will be a game-time decision. Defensive lineman Keyon Ware-Hudson and nickel safety Bennett Williams will remain out.
The pressure is on the Ducks to come up with answers for the Utah rushing attack and force Utah quarterback Cam Rising to make more plays, as he passed just 18 times in the win two weeks ago. Rising is a capable passer, however (with 15 big-time throws to six turnover-worthy plays this season), and the Utes have seen their season turn around as they have gone 8-1 with him as their starter.
While I expect the Ducks to play better than they did in the first matchup, the Utes have the better (and healthier) defense and the better quarterback in a battle between similar teams.
With the Utes having dominated this matchup so thoroughly and being a team that doesn’t beat themselves, I have a hard time seeing the Ducks keeping this game within a field goal. I expect Utah to win with its ground game again.
Take the Utes at -2.5 to win a well-deserved first Pac-12 Championship for head coach Kyle Whittingham on Friday night.
Staff Pick: Utah -2.5
Oregon vs. Utah Over/Under
Friday night’s game will be the second time the Ducks and the Utes meet to decide the Pac-12 champion in the past three seasons. But even more recently, Utah ruined the Ducks’ playoff hopes with a 38-7 beatdown just two weeks ago.
In that game, the Utes dominated the line of scrimmage, holding Oregon to just 63 yards rushing while racking up 208 of their own. And while Oregon scored only seven points in the contest, the teams combined to be just 14 points short of the over.
Will Oregon learn from its mistakes two weeks ago and put more than one touchdown on the board this week? The total for this game is set at 58, right in line with The Action Network’s projected line.
In the first meeting, Oregon’s Anthony Brown struggled against Utah, completing just 48.6% of his passes and recording only eight yards on nine carries. The game was far from the standard for Brown, who leads the Pac-12 in total offense, totaling 3,178 yards over 12 games.
Brown completed 64.4% of his passes for 2,536 yards with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions on the year while tacking on 642 yards and nine scores with his legs.
On the season, Utah quarterback Cameron Rising is completing 62.8% of his passes for 2,109 yards with 17 touchdowns and just three interceptions. Against the Ducks two weeks ago, Rising managed the game, completing 10 of his 18 pass attempts for 178 yards in the win.
But the Utes’ rush attack proved to be the primary source of offense. As a team, Utah rushed 50 times for 208 yards with four touchdowns, and Tavion Thomas picked up 94 yards and three touchdowns.
Our Action Network staff is split on this total with six picks on the over and seven on the under. Still, I expect Oregon to make the necessary adjustments in its second meeting with Utah, and at the very least, contribute more than a single touchdown to the final score.
Utah should still find success against a Ducks defense it dominated, while Oregon takes a more aggressive route on offense. And because of that, I’ll be taking the over in this Pac-12 Championship.