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Oregon vs. Utah prediction and pick for Saturday's Pac-12 showdown between these two teams. Can the Ducks take down the Utes? Mike Spector has his pick
ANALYSIS

Oregon vs. Utah Prediction, Pick Against the Spread, and Latest Odds

Oregon Ducks vs. Utah Utes

Spread: Utah -3

Total: 58.5

Game time: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET

Where to Watch: ABC

Oregon vs. Utah odds

Oregon vs. Utah Prediction

The Oregon Ducks and Utah Utes meet in a colossal Pac-12 battle. However, with each team leading their respective divisions, this may not be the only meeting between these teams, as the two are on a collision course to meet in the Pac-12 Championship game. Will the Ducks emerge victoriously and further cement their status among the top four College Football Playoff teams? Or will the Utes earn another statement home win and move closer to their third conference championship appearance in the last four years?

Oregon’s chances to beat Washington State last week looked dicey at the half, as the Cougars had all the momentum after scoring 14 unanswered points. However, the Ducks outscored the Cougars 24-10 in the second half and assured themselves they would once again be in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings entering this week. Oregon is just 4-6 ATS this season but has covered the spread in three of their four road games. In addition, the Ducks have looked like a much-improved team since their surprising October 2nd loss at Stanford, which coincides with defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux looking healthy and wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks each week.

Utah has split their last six home meetings against Oregon, with five of those six games being decided by seven points or less. The Utes have the somewhat dubious distinction of being tied (with Oklahoma State) as spending the most weeks ranked in the AP poll (32) but never having made the College Football Playoff. This season, the Utes’ success has been heavily predicated on a high-powered offense that leads the conference with 35.7 PPG. Their defense also ranks third in the conference in yards allowed per game (346.9). Utah has won six of their last seven games after a 1-2 start.

While Utah has struggled on the road this season (3-3 SU), they have won their four home games by double digits. However, Oregon’s loss at Stanford notwithstanding, the Ducks have proven they can win in the most challenging environments. Their win at the Horseshoe against Ohio State still stands as the most significant non-conference victory of any team in the country. Oregon’s formula of running the football and playing solid defense is key to their road success.

The Utes look to make Oregon a one-dimensional football team, as Ducks quarterback Anthony Brown is not the most dangerous pocket passer. Brown has two interceptions or less than 200 yards passing in his last three road games. However, he has run for touchdowns in five of his previous six games and has 60 or more rushing yards in three of the last four.

However, the biggest key to the game will be how Utah fares against Ducks running back Travis Dye, as Oregon has relied on Dye a bunch on the road. Dye carried the ball a season-high 28 times for 211 yards in their last road game, and he has 11 total touchdowns over the previous five games. Utah allows 139.2 rushing yards per game (fifth in the conference) but was gashed by Oregon State’s conference-best rushing attack for 260 yards and 6.3 yards per carry in their lone conference loss.

Utah has played two top-five Pac-12 offenses at home this season (Arizona State, UCLA) and held them to an average of 22.5 points. Meanwhile, Oregon’s defense has looked outstanding ever since Kayvon Thibodeaux came back healthy. His ability to live in the opponents’ backfield allows the Ducks to leave their talented cornerbacks on islands. Mykael Wright and DJ James are outstanding in coverage, while Verone McKinley III is tied for the NCAA lead with five interceptions. Look for Oregon’s defense to make life miserable for Utah’s Cameron Rising.

While the over is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these teams, we think these two teams will play this game a little closer to the vest with another potential matchup looming. The under has cashed in six of Oregon’s last seven road games, and we like this game to also stay under the projected total.

Oregon vs. Utah Pick

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Mike Spector brings unmatched knowledge and insight into the game of football, and more importantly the process of betting on NFL football. Mike is the #2 ranked expert in FantasyPros' NFL betting contest

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