After both teams dropped their games last year, the Washington State Cougars will head down to Eugene to face the #9 Oregon Ducks this Saturday (10/21/23), who now have no margin for error in their pursuit of a National Championship. Get Washington State vs. Oregon odds, predictions, and picks below as our best bet is Washington State team total under 20.5.
Washington State Vs. Oregon Prediction
Oregon’s undefeated season is no more, as the Ducks came up just short in their road clash with the Washington Huskies. They lost by just three points in an absolute thriller that fully lived up to the billing, as the game really was decided on the margins; some fourth down failures by the Ducks will be rightfully remembered as the key moments in the contest. Still, Oregon will be looking forward to getting another crack at their fellow soon-to-be Big Ten conference member, as the current Pac-12 format would see the two teams square off in the Conference Championship Game if both win out.
First, Oregon has five more games to win, and some of them are very tough. A trip to Utah looms large, as do home dates with USC and rivals Oregon State, but for those games to matter, the Ducks will need to take care of business against Washington State, who took already down the Beavers in thrilling fashion back in late September, but have had a couple of really tough weeks.
Rising star quarterback Cam Ward was eaten alive by a very strong UCLA defense, and in their most recent game against Arizona, the Cougars were eviscerated at home in every facet by a very mediocre squad as they lost 44-6. Washington State is approximately an average team defensively, so there’s not too much shame in giving up points to an Arizona team that hung right in there with USC and Washington and ranks 14th in PFF’s grades, but scoring six on a defense that is sitting outside of the top-100 by the same metric is essentially unforgivable.
It’s hard to imagine Ward and his offense having a good day against an Oregon defense that ranks top-40 in EPA per play even after that shootout against Washington, one of the very best offenses in the entire country. As for the other side of the football, the WSU defense is not equipped to slow down an Oregon offense that ranks second in the country in EPA per play and first in success rate, but we’re not going to invest in a unit that could very well already be preparing for Utah’s stout and seasoned defense next week.
As Oregon could be somewhere between an emotional letdown from the Washington loss and a lookahead to the Utah game, it would be far from surprising for their offense to have an uncharacteristically sluggish day. Conversely, there is almost no chance for the Cougars’ offense to have a nice bounce back against an Oregon defense that should more or less be on autopilot in this one. Let’s bet the Cougars to score under 20.5 points; there’s good precedent here, even beyond the WSU meltdown against Arizona, as Oregon allowed 6 points apiece to other Pac-12 foes, Stanford and Colorado, who both possibly have better offenses than the Cougars.
Washington State Vs. Oregon Prediction: WSU Team Total Under 20.5 (-104)
Washington State Vs. Oregon Best Odds
Oregon is favored by 18.5, or a moneyline of -1400 compared to +800 for WSU. The total is set at 62.5, with -110 odds on both sides.
Washington State Vs. Oregon Key Matchups
Washington State will look to compete through the air, while Oregon will be planning on exploiting a terrible Cougars run defense- let’s take a look at how each of those battles might play out.
Washington State Air Attack vs. Oregon Pass Defense
The WSU passing game based around Ward is still grading pretty well, 33rd in the country as per EPA per play even after the Arizona debacle. That being said, PFF thinks Ward has gotten pretty lucky; he’s tossed 14 touchdowns and three interceptions, but the website only gives him eight big time throws and credits him with 13 turnover worthy plays already. The Cougars’ receiving corps has been good, with Lincoln Victor, Kyle Williams, and Josh Kelly all contributing just about equally, making it hard to fully shut down the group.
They’ll be going up against an Oregon pass defense that EPA per play ranks just outside of the top 25. The secondary play has been generally strong, despite several key losses from last year including NFL star cornerback Christian Gonzalez. Khyree Jackson has been a good top corner, while Steve Stephens IV has anchored a solid safety group. They don’t generate a ton of edge pressure, but interior linemen Brandon Dorlus and Casey Rogers have done well in that area.
Oregon Ground Game vs. Washington State Run Defense
While Bo Nix and the Oregon passing game grab most of the highlights, it’s actually their rushing offense that ranks first in the nation by EPA. Lead back Bucky Irving as well as supporting players Jordan James and Noah Whittington have each averaged 7.2 or more yards per carry, with James leading the way at 8.0, with a team-high eight touchdowns to boot. They’ve done this behind an o-line that ranks 38th in PFF’s run blocking rankings, solid but not as high-achieving as the runners themselves, who rank first in the same system.
They’ll be going up against a Washington State defense that is exactly the 100th-best in the country against the run, as per EPA per play. Edges Brennan Jackson and Ron Stone Jr. have been decent in this arena, as has linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah, but the rest of the defense has been pretty unhelpful in terms of stopping the run.