Utah Utes at Oregon Ducks Spread Pick

December 6, 8:00 PM EST

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
UTAH -6.5

The Utah Utes take on the Oregon Ducks for the Pac-12 Championship on Friday at Levi’s Stadium. The 11-1 Utes did their part on Saturday, with a 45-15 win over Colorado for their eighth straight win and with some big things in their future if they can get through this. Standing in their way is an Oregon team looking to make amends for some late-season slippage that cost them a chance at national glory. On Saturday, however, they got back on the winning track with a 24-10 win over Oregon State. Can they make a run at this or is Utah the cream of the crop in the west this year?

How the Stakes Will Impact the Game

First, let's make it clear that Oregon is not playing for anything. QB Justin Herbert is in his last game, with his last chance to make a lasting impression. And seeing the light at the end of the tunnel can have an energizing effect on him and other seniors. And winning the Pac-12 title isn’t small-time, either, so a lot is on the line for Oregon. For Utah, however, a possible spot in the College Football Playoff is in the offing, the culmination of what could be a signature season for a program that went through a lot to get here.

Better Momentum for the Utes

With a 9-3 record ATS, you have a Utah team that has played more over their heads this season than Oregon, and that especially applies to the latter part of the season. This could have been a game to see who gets into the CFP, but Oregon didn't uphold their end of the deal, falling to an Arizona State team that had lost its last four games. They’ve missed covering the spread badly the last few weeks and just picked the wrong time to hit a wall. Tepid against Oregon State, they need to hit a higher gear this week if they want to stand a chance. Utah, conversely, has covered the spread every game since September 20 and even with some of these spreads getting pretty big, they’ve still been delivering for bettors.

How Utah can Cover

The balance of their offense could go a long way in this contest. Oregon has seen the consistency of their defense wane as the season got into the late stages. Maybe Utah can even make inroads against a tough Oregon run-defense with one of the best backs in the conference in Zack Moss, along with Devin Brumfield and QB Tyler Huntley, who is quite adept with his feet. But with 16 TD throws against just two picks, Huntley can also run an efficient aerial attack, with a large cabaret of ball-catchers. After giving up a ton of yardage through the air the last two weeks, Oregon’s secondary will be up against it, especially as their defense is trying to contain a robust Utah run-game.

This may also be a tough time to thrive for an Oregon offense that has been off-key of late. This season, Utah has allowed 28 to Washington and 30 to USC, and in all their other games, they are allowing an average of just over 8 points a game. They are lethal against the run, which would put a significant crimp into Oregon's offense, but their secondary is also a standout unit, allowing just 185 yards per game. They can get to the quarterback and make plays, and against an Oregon offense that hasn't looked that great with the stakes high, it's a bad matchup for them here in many ways.

Utah at Oregon Prediction 12/6/19

It'd be foolish to not acknowledge some apparent pitfalls with Utah as a pick this week. Oregon is a good team and reserves the right to come up with a good performance in this game. Against the more-dangerous offenses Utah has faced this season in the conference, their defense wasn't what we saw when smashing some of the more-suffering conference offenses. And urgency isn't always a reliable gauge on what we'll see on the field. Herbert could have a good game in this spot and make it hard on the Utes to cover the number. I just don't sense a bad match from Utah after what they had to go through to get here and with what's on the line. I see them finding away, as their character and wherewithal might be the best parts of their makeup. I like Utah this week.

Free Pick: 
Take the Utes -6.5
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