Trap Alert! Back Oregon vs Flashy Arizona

Rainman M.

Thursday, November 16, 2017 4:52 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 4:52 PM UTC

Oregon (5-5) hosts Arizona (7-3) Saturday at 7 PM. The even odds is luring loads of early money on Arizona, be beware, it could be a trap! Read on and get the expert opinion.

Arizona Wildcats vs Oregon Ducks

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3187867, "sportsbooksIds":[169,93,1096,19,1275], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1 }[/]

Free NCAAF Pick: Oregon PKBest Line Offered: at Heritage

Arizona is a huge public favorite because they have won 5 out of their last 6 behind Heisman Candidate Khalil Tate. But their performance against conference opponents on the road is alarming.

At Colorado, they allowed the Buffaloes, who rank 98th in yards per carry behind their anemic offensive line, to run for 300 yards. At California, they allowed the NCAA's third-worst rush offense to produce 172 yards. At USC, the Trojans ran for 331 yards. In each of those road games, they surrendered more than 40 points. In neither of those games did the opposing quarterback have to do much. 

Despite being relied on more frequently and garnering more of the defense's attention due to the injury of quarterback Justin Herbert, running back Royce Freeman's numbers are actually up from last year. He averages 5.9 yards per carry behind a solid offensive line and creative play-calling that utilizes his downhill running style.

Freeman is a workhorse who utilizes his vision to find open running lanes and anticipate oncoming defenders in order to prevent them from approaching him at a propitious angle. He's strong and excels at breaking through initial contact. He also has support from two running backs who average 5+ YPC after 50+ carries.

Behind their rushing attack, the Ducks have been reliable against unranked opponents at home, 2-1 ATS, the one non-cover a backdoor one, after Oregon had led 42-7. Without Herbert, the Ducks outscored Cal 28-17 in the second half at home and upset Utah 41-20. The Ducks enjoy home field advantage, especially on Saturday night.

Stopping the opposing rush attack is importantly Oregon's defensive strength. Arizona is 0-3 ATS this season when running for fewer than 250 yards. The Ducks rank 28th in allowing 3.8 yards per carry.

It is telling that Oregon allows only 2.6 YPC at home, which would rank them first in the nation. Because of Oregon's offensive success at home, they are able to rest their defense by controlling the ball more.

After the bye week, Oregon's defense is rested. Linebacker Troy Dye leads the team with 84 tackles and is second with 11.5 tackles for loss. Defensive end Jalen Jelks leads the defense with 13.5 tackles for loss. They lead a speedy and athletic defense that can wreak havoc in the backfield. Their sack percentage at home would rank them 7th overall and they rank 21st in tackles for loss per game.

The Ducks' defensive weakness is giving up the big pass play. But Tate is an inconsistent passer who has thrown 5 interceptions in his past 4 games. The Ducks match up well defensively against Arizona's Tate-led offense.

The bonus of backing Oregon is that Herbert may actually play. Herbert had completed almost 70% of his passes, achieved 10 yards per pass and produced a 9:2 interception ratio before breaking his collarbone on September 30th.

The timetable for his return was 4-6 weeks. This time period has ended. Oregon sources have been optimistic about his medical progress.  With Oregon only having two games remaining in order to clinch bowl eligibility with one more win, it is possible that Herbert returns, in which case bettors will no longer be able to back Oregon as a non-favorite.

The Verdict

The Ducks, behind their elite rushing attack, can light up the scoreboard. Expect a fun game where Oregon's well-rested, athletic defense limits Tate and secures the win on our NCAAF Picks.

comment here