Last Call: Oregon Has Massive QB Advantage Over Arizona

Thursday, October 25, 2018 10:55 AM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 10:55 AM UTC

It's Last Call again and our NCAAF handicapper, Mark Lathrop, looks to get us a winner as we close out the weekend of college football action.

Mark's 2018 NCAAF Record: 22-14, +12.34u

*Note: Record includes official Twitter selections (@mlathrop3)

Oregon Ducks (5-2 SU) @ Arizona Wildcats (3-5 SU)Saturday, 10:30 p.m. EST, ESPNFree NCAAF Pick: Oregon -9.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3448662, "sportsbooksIds":[19,1096,169,238,999996], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

The Arizona Wildcats will be looking for some home cooking to right the ship on Saturday night, as they host the 5-2 Oregon Ducks for their homecoming game after getting swept on the road over the last two weeks versus Utah and UCLA. Arizona was heavy underdogs in both games and finds themselves as a 9.5-point underdog at home here.

The line is a bit surprising to me given that the Wildcats should be without the services of quarterback Khalil Tate, who is out with an ankle injury. This gives Oregon a huge advantage in quarterback play with Justin Herbert under center, who is a consensus NFL draft pick if he declares early. Herbert is coming off of his worst game of the season by QBRating at 115.9 against Washington State, but will be going against a very soft Arizona passing defense here. The Wildcats allow a robust 66.9 percent completion percentage to opponents at home this year and 440.6 yards per game overall. Tate’s replacement would be sophomore, Rhett Rodriguez (son of former Wildcat coach, Rich), who doesn’t appear ready for primetime just yet, but is showing the football IQ expected of a coach’s kid. He completed just 44.1% of his passes against UCLA with two interceptions.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

No one throws in like Herb. Congrats to 1️⃣0️⃣ on making the first cut for the @GoldenArmAward. #GoDucks pic.twitter.com/XmELpbaK09

— Oregon Football (@oregonfootball) October 25, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

The fact that Oregon almost got run out of the building at Washington State helps mitigate the theory of a letdown game here against a lesser opponent. The Ducks were down 27-0 before making a game of it in the second half. They will be wary of Arizona coming out hot in their homecoming effort, but also won’t face anything close to the proficiency of Washington State’s offense in Arizona. And if Arizona can’t get the passing game going while playing from behind they won’t find much reprieve in their running game either, as Oregon allows just 3.23 yards per rushing attempt – good for 14th in the country.

The main line movement in this game has been the total, which opened at 62 and has climbed to 65 very quickly. This line movement makes sense given that Arizona averages 32.2 points per game at home and Oregon 31.0 points per game on the road. However, Arizona’s season averages are skewed by a 62-point outburst against Southern Utah in week 3. I don’t trust any offensive numbers for Arizona, especially with their quarterback situation the way it is. The safe play here is to lay the chalk with Oregon, a team that still has aspirations to win the Pac-12 North.

comment here