Saturday features a Pac-12 battle of top-25 teams as the No. 4 Oregon Ducks (9-1) take on the No. 24 Utah Utes (7-3). The Utes will host this one at Rice-Eccles Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
Oregon comes into this one, having won five in a row as they try to solidify a bid for the College Football Playoffs. Last week, they beat Washington State 38-24 at home.
In the win, Anthony Brown threw for just 135 yards and a touchdown, but he also led the rushing attack with 123 yards and another score. Byron Cardwell added another 98 yards on the ground with two touchdowns.
Utah comes in having won three in a row, including a 38-29 win over Arizona on the road last week. Utah quarterback Cameron Rising threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns in the win. TJ Pledger added 119 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, too.
The Utes are the favorite in this one playing at home. They are -162 to win while the Ducks’ moneyline sits at +132. The spread features Oregon +3.5 (-124), and the over/under for total points is 59.5.
The Ducks are currently the favorites to win the Pac 12 Championship at -120; however, the Utes are right behind them at -110.
In terms of the National Championship, Oregon has the fourth-best odds of winning it all at +3000. The Utes are +30000 to win the championship.
By The Numbers
Utah has had the better statistical year offensively. They rank 15th in the nation in scoring averaging 35.2 points per game. Oregon ranks 22nd, averaging 33.9 points (29.8 on the road).
Defensively, it is Oregon with a slight edge. They rank 49th in scoring defense allowing opponents an average of 24.3 points per game. Utah ranks 52nd, allowing 24.6 points per game (19.3 at home).
Oregon Hopes Not To Let Playoff Opportunity Slip Away
Currently ranked fourth in the nation, this is a monumental game for the Ducks if they want to maintain a shot at the College Football Playoffs. A loss, and they are more certainly out of the equation, but a win puts them in the driver’s seat heading into the last week of the regular season next week.
Leading the way for Oregon is sophomore quarterback Anthony Brown. On the season, he has thrown for 2,030 yards, 12 touchdowns, and just four interceptions. Brown has also been deadly, with his feet rushing for 551 yards and another eight scores.
The Ducks’ go-to guy in the backfield, though, is running back Travis Dye. He has rushed for 908 yards and 12 touchdowns this season. He also has 302 yards receiving and another two touchdowns.
Through the air, the leading receivers are Devon Williams (349 yards, two touchdowns) and Johnny Johnson III (311 yards, one touchdown).
Utah Trying To Play Spoiler
While Oregon leads the PAC-12 North at 6-1, the Utes lead the PAC-12 South with the same conference record. With their sights set on a conference title, Utah will be out to spoil Oregon’s bid at a playoff berth.
Cameron Rising will be under center for Utah. He has thrown for 1,752 yards, 14 touchdowns, and just two interceptions this season. He has also rushed for 321 yards and two scores.
The leading rushers for Utah are the tandem of Tavion Thomas (742 yards, 14 touchdowns) and TJ Pledger (502 yards, five touchdowns). Tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid lead the Utes with five touchdowns apiece.
Take Oregon And The Points
On both sides of the ball, these teams are extremely similar. Add on top of that the fact both teams will have a lot of incentive to win, and this might be the matchup of the weekend.
With that in mind, expect this one to be close throughout. For that reason, taking the points feels like the smart bet.
Take Oregon and the 3.5 points.