Oregon State experienced major change over the off-season, and enters 2015 in rebuilding mode. For a long time the Beavers were good bets, as Coach Riley crafted some good teams that played under the radar. For this season, though, bettors should probably be wary.
Oregon State Beavers 2015 Betting Preview
Mike Riley coached the Beavers for 14 seasons, but in a surprising move bolted Corvallis for the cornier pastures of Nebraska, following last year's 5-7 campaign. Oregon State then got a little lucky and poached Gary Andersen from Wisconsin. So the Beavers enter this season with a new coach, new systems and a new quarterback, probably a freshman, playing in a tough conference. Combinations like that often result in long seasons.
2014 in Review
Oregon State started off well enough last season, winning its first three games, then split its first two Pac-12 contests to get to 4-1. But the Beavers then lost a tough game at home to Utah, fell at Stanford, then lost home games to Cal and Washington State, two of the conference's weaker sisters, both as betting favorites. OSU then pulled a minor upset at home of Arizona State, but at 5-5, needing to win their last two games to become bowl-eligible, the Beavers lost at Washington and badly at home to Oregon in the Civil War.
So OSU finished 5-7 overall, and just 2-10 against the spreads. Riley's teams had been decent bets over the years, with six winning ATS seasons in the last eight, but the law of averages, or whatever you want to call it, caught up to the Beavers last season.
Oregon State also went 5-6 on the totals last year, as Beavers games averaged 58 points, which is about average out in the Pac-12.
2015 Beavers Personnel
OSU returns just 10 starters this season, second-fewest in the conference and among the fewest in the country. Eight starters are back on an offense that averaged 394 yards per game last season, including leading rusher Storm Woods, last year's top two receivers and four along the offensive line. But the Beavers will have to replace QB Sean Mannion, a four-year starter and third-round draft college football pick of the St. Louis Rams back in May. And the top three candidates on the QB depth chart at the moment are all freshmen.
While Woods and the offensive line might help ease some of the pain this team might go through this season, the defense, with just two starters back, might cause just as much. OSU lost last year's top six tacklers, from a unit that wasn't too good to begin with.
The Beavers averaged 26 points per game last year, while allowing 32 PPG; our guess is both those figures might get worse this season.
As if 2015 won't be challenging enough for the Beavers, they'll have to play five Pac-12 road games, and might be underdogs in three of their conference home games.
OSU opens this season with Weber State, and with its recent record of iffy performances against FCS opponents it better be prepared. The Beavers then pay a visit to the Big House in Ann Arbor to take on Michigan and its new head coach, former Stanford general Jim Harbaugh, before hosting San Jose State.
Oregon State then begins Pac-12 play with a Friday night home game against Stanford, then plays at Arizona and at Washington State. From there the Beavs alternate home and road, hosting Colorado, visiting Utah, hosting UCLA, visiting Cal, hosting Washington and finishing with a Friday nighter against the Ducks in Eugene.
Betting the Beavers in 2015
Andersen did a great job of building a program at Utah State a few years ago, and he could pull a similar trick for Oregon State. But this project is going to take some time. We don't expect much out of the Beavers this season, and don't expect them to cover many spreads. But next season, and beyond? This program might be a sneaky-good bet in about three years.
As of this writing the college football odds were listing a wins OVER/UNDER on Oregon State of four, and was offering +20000 (200/1) on the Beavers winning the Pac-12 championship. We only see about four winnable games on OSU's slate, and only maybe a chance or two of pulling upsets.