Oregon (10-2) and Utah (11-1) will square off in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday. As Oregon wants to claim they are the best team in the conference, Utah is still alive for a shot at a College Football Playoff spot if they can knock off the Ducks. Utah has been tearing through their conference schedule. They have won and covered the spread in eight straight games, and looking to prove to the nation that they deserve to get a playoff spot. As of writing this, 66 percent of the public is backing the Utes at 6.5-point favorites, and 56 percent of tickets are on under 47.5 points.
Date: Friday, December 6, 2019
Time: 8:00 PM ET
Location: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California
The Ducks came into the season with one of the best offenses in the country thanks to quarterback Justin Herbert. Oregon is averaging 35.9 points per game this season, which ranks 15th in the country. Also, they rank 17th in offensive success rate. When Herbert has command of the offense, they’re impossible to stop. However, they have struggled to move the football in recent weeks. Last week, their offense only scored 17 points against Oregon State, and failed to score one two drives that started in Oregon State territory. Also, Herbert turned the ball over twice in their loss to Arizona State, which knocked them out of college football playoff contention. The Ducks offense has played poorly of recent, and with not much to play for on Friday, they could struggle against an Utah defense that ranks 12th in the country in success rate.
After their defense got off to a hot start, they have slipped the success half of the season, but still rank 35th in success rate. Also, Oregon is one of the best teams at taking away explosive plays ranking seventh in the country. However, they have struggled against some of the better offenses in the Pac-12. Their worst performances were against Washington and Washington State who both rank in the top-30 in offensive success rate. Utah ranks eighth in the nation in success rate, so the Ducks defense will be up against a challenge on how to slow down Utah. Now, with Oregon being one of the best defenses to limit explosive plays, they should be able to find ways to slow down Utah throughout this game. Utah does have the advantage in running the ball, which could be the deciding factor on Friday.
Utah is one of the most complete teams in the country. Their offense ranks eighth in success rate, and are led by Tyler Huntley. Utah has the edge on Oregon in both rushing and passing success. Being able to move the ball down field should give the edge to Utah. However, Oregon can limit their explosive plays on offense where the Ducks rank 15th. They should still be able to move the ball downfield at a consistent pace. Oregon has struggled against the better offenses in the country. Also, Utah has a slight edge in the trenches. Oregon is better in power success rate, but the Utes rank better in stuff rate and line yards. Utah ranks 18th in third-down conversions, so if they can stay on the field in short yardage situations, then it could be a long night for the Oregon defense.
The Utes come in with one of the best defenses in college football. They rank 12th in success rate and 19th in havoc created. Also, since September 30th, Utah has allowed the least amount of points per game. This is the heart and soul of their team, and the reason they’re 11-1. Utah and Oregon matchup evenly in the trenches. Whoever can take hold of the line of scrimmage on this side of the ball could dictate how well Oregon’s offense runs. Also, the Utes are at a disadvantage in passing success rate. The Ducks should have the ability to move the ball down field a little bit, but Utah ranks number one in limiting explosive plays. With Oregon struggling to move the ball consistently over the last few weeks, Utah could have a big advantage in slowing down their offense.
Betting Pick: Under 50
As of writing this, the total sits at 47.5 points. I am playing the total at 50, but still believe this game should go under the number it’s at. Also, the forecast for Friday calls for rain all day, and winds close to 20 mph around kickoff. As good as both offenses are on paper, the weather gives both defenses a huge advantage. Levi’s Stadium does have a grass field, so with the rain will tear up the field, and slow down both teams. Also, Oregon’s offense has struggled to move the football in recent weeks. With all things considered, this makes it hard to see Oregon moving the football against Utah on Friday.