The Utah Utes are searching for their first-ever Pac-12 championship, but to earn it, they will have to go through the team that has dominated the conference for over a decade. The Oregon Ducks beat Utah in the 2019 Pac-12 Championship Game and have won six conference titles since 2009. So will the Ducks three-peat or will Utah signal a changing of the guard with a win this week? Read on for our picks.
Oregon went 10-2 straight up this season with both losses coming on the road at Stanford and Utah. The Ducks finished the regular season with six wins in their last seven games. They went 5-7 against the spread this season and had an Over/Under record of 6-6.
Utah won five consecutive games to end the regular season, including an emphatic 38-7 home win over Oregon two weeks ago. Utah’s last five wins have come by an average of 24 points. The Utes were 5-7 ATS this season. In addition, they were tied for the fourth-most profitable team in the country to the Over, as the Over cashed in eight of their 12 games.
Here are my picks and predictions for the Pac-12 Championship Game matchup between Oregon and Utah. (Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5 star scale).
Oregon vs. Utah Game Info
Date/Time: Friday, Dec. 3, 8 p.m. ET
Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Oregon vs. Utah Odds Analysis
One can find Utah at either -2.5 or -3, depending on the sportsbook. Since the half-point difference in the spread lands on the key number of three at many places, it is vital to shop for the best number depending on which side you prefer when making Oregon versus Utah picks.
The O/U has slightly more volatility, with a one-point difference across the various sportsbooks. The total can be found as low as 59.5 points and as high as 60.5. By comparison, the largest total for a Utah game all season was a 60-point O/U on Oct. 30 against UCLA, which Utah won 44-24.
Oregon vs. Utah Picks
Utah -2.5 (-110) ★★★★
Over 59.5 (-110) ★★
SEE ALSO: College Football Week 14 Parlay Picks
Oregon vs. Utah Predictions
Utah -2.5 (-110)
Utah is playing its best football of the season after struggling to a 1-2 start. If the Utes can calm their nerves and manage their emotions on this big stage, it is clear they are a terrible matchup for Oregon.
The Utes are coming off a dominant defensive performance against Colorado, allowing just 148 total yards to the Buffaloes. That marks the second time Utah's defense has allowed less than 170 total yards in the last four weeks. In addition, Utah dominated the line of scrimmage in its 38-7 win against the Ducks, holding the explosive Oregon rushing attack to just 63 yards on the ground and 2.7 yards per carry. Conversely, the Utes ran for 208 yards and 4.2 yards per carry, which helped them win the time of possession battle by close to 11 minutes.
While the first meeting between these teams was in Salt Lake City, a change in venue does not change the fact that Utah is the much more physical team on both lines of scrimmage. In addition, the motivation factor is hard to ignore. A win over Oregon would be Kyle Whittingham's most significant of his career and one of the biggest in Utah's school history. The Utes lost back-to-back Pac-12 Championship games in 2018 and 2019, but this is the year they secure their first.
Over 59.5 (-110)
At first glance, this total looks high considering the two teams combined for just 45 points two weeks ago. However, Utah's offense was able to take its foot off the gas for most of the second half after building a 28-0 halftime cushion. Also, there was likely some element of gamesmanship with not showing all of its playbook, knowing that this second meeting was inevitable. Oregon did not do itself any favors with shoddy special teams play in the first matchup, with two missed field goals and a punt return allowed for a touchdown.
Oregon will need to call a much more aggressive game, as it cannot expect to consistently move the chains with a power running game against this Utah front. As long as we get a closer game throughout, we should expect more points in this matchup, with neither team able to merely grind the clock.
We're backing the Over in our Oregon versus Utah picks.
Oregon-Utah picks made 11/29/2021 at 1:34 p.m. ET