NCAA Football Predictions Against The Spread - Arizona vs Utah

Utah Utes Player

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 8:59 PM GMT

This is my third straight week previewing a Pac-12 game involving Utah, and I'm 2-0 against the spread on the first two. This Saturday, the Utes are 9.5-point favorites on college football odds against visiting Arizona.

Wildcats Are Devastated By Injuries

I'd like to tell you who will start at quarterback for Arizona (2-3, 0-2 Pac-12) this week, but even Coach Rich Rodriguez doesn't know as of now. The starter to open the season was Anu Solomon, but he hasn't played since Week 1 due to a leg injury. Brandon Dawkins had played very well in Solomon's place, perhaps taking the job, but Dawkins suffered a rib injury in the first half of last week's 45-24 loss at UCLA and didn't return.

So Rodriguez used walk-on Zach Werlinger with Dawkins out, but Werlinger struggled and he was quickly pulled for true freshman Khalil Tate. The Wildcats were hoping to redshirt Tate this season but that's not available now. Tate looked good, completing 5-for-9 for 72 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 79 yards on 15 carries. He's the QB of the future for sure and the future might be Saturday.

How bad are things right now for Arizona? Rodriguez said his first injury report this week listed 28 players from the UCLA loss, 18 of them starters. That includes top running back Nick Wilson, who has already missed one game and barely played vs. UCLA and Hawaii, and three offensive linemen. Converted receiver Tyrell Johnson may have to start at tailback vs. Utah. Arizona has won four straight against the Utes. Last year it was 37-30 in double OT in Tucson.

The Wildcats are 1-4 ATS this season on college football odds and 3-2 O/U.

Utes Inches Short Of Staying Unbeaten

Two weeks ago, I recommended Utah at -2.5 on college football odds at home against Southern Cal and the Utes won 31-27 on a touchdown pass from Troy Williams to Tim Patrick with just 18 seconds left. Last week, Utah was -2 at California and I recommended the Bears. Utah lost 28-23 when it couldn't score a touchdown on seven tries from inside the Cal 9-yard-line in the final two minutes.

On first-and-goal at the 9 with two minutes left, Zack Moss ran for 2 yards. On second down, Armand Shyne was stuffed for no gain. On third down, Williams was sacked four a loss of 4 yards. On fourth down, a Williams pass was incomplete but Cal was called for pass interference. On first-and-goal from the Cal 2 with eight seconds left, Moss ran for a yard. Timeout Utah. On second down, Williams threw incomplete. And on third down, Moss was stopped just inches shy of the goal line as time expired. What an ending!

Utah's excellent defense played quite well in holding high-powered Cal to 362 yards (it was averaging nearly 600) and 17 first downs. The Utes had 442 yards and 29 first downs and held the ball for 42 minutes. Williams threw for 266 yards and Shyne had 99 yards and two scores on 25 carries. Some questioned why he didn't get the ball over Moss on that final play. There was some bad news from that loss as Utah senior center and captain J.J. Dielman, a 2015 all-conference pick, was lost to a season-ending leg injury.

This is Homecoming for Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) and it's 1-4 in those games since joining the Pac-12. The Utes are 2-3 ATS on college football picks this season and 2-3 O/U.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham gets career win No. 100. Give the points, go 'under.' It has hit in nine of Utah's past 12 at home. Arizona is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 after a loss.

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Free College Football Pick: Utah -9.5
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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