No. 23 Utah Utes vs. No. 3 Oregon Ducks
Line: Utah -3
Where: Rice-Eccles Stadium
When: Saturday, 11/20 at 7:30 p.m. ET
No. 3 Oregon might be the team in the mix for the College Football Playoff, but it is three-loss Utah that is favored in Saturday evening’s showdown.
The Ducks can clinch the Pac-12 North with a win this week or an Oregon State loss, while the Utes can clinch the South with a win or an Arizona State loss. Oregon picked up a 37-15 win over Utah as a 6.5-point underdog in the most recent meeting, which came in the Pac-12 championship game in 2019.
Utah opened as a 1-point favorite, but the line has been steamed to -3 (-115) as of Thursday afternoon. The total opened at 60.5 and has been bet down to 59.
There is likely going to be a rematch of this game in the Pac-12 championship several weeks from now. Oregon is priced as a -125 favorite to win the conference, while Utah is listed at +115. Oregon State (35/1) and Arizona State (60/1) need some help to even make an appearance.
As for the game at hand, Oregon will be looking to keep its CFP hopes alive. The Ducks are going to need to win out to make the four-team field, which would mean two wins over Utah and a win over Colorado. DraftKings has Oregon at +250/-320 to make the playoffs.
The Ducks’ biggest win came at No. 3 Ohio State in Week 2, where they snuck past the Buckeyes in a 35-28 final. Their lone loss came at Stanford in early October, as the Cardinal pulled off an upset as 8.5-point underdogs. Oregon has bounced back with five straight wins, covering the spread in three of them.
These teams are almost identically as far as the numbers go. Oregon is No. 32 in offensive yards per game (441.3), while Utah is No. 37 (438.1). There is a little more separation on the defensive side, as Utah is No. 34 in yards allowed per game (344.1) and Oregon is No. 58 (369.4).
The Ducks rely on a rushing attack that has scored the second-most touchdowns of any team in the country. Running back Travis Dye needs just 92 more rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his career. Oregon has also been excellent on third down, converting 51.6 percent of its attempts.
This is not going to be an easy task, though, as they are facing a Utah team that has won 17 of its last 18 home games. The Utes have been strong on the ground as well, scoring 16 rushing touchdowns in their last four games. They have scored at least 34 points in each of their last six games, going ‘over’ in all six of those contests.
Oregon has gone just 1-5 against the spread in its six home games this season, but the Ducks are 3-1 ATS on the road. They have only covered in five of their last 15 games overall, though.
Utah is 4-2 ATS in its last six games and is 6-2 ATS in its last eight games in the month of November, dating back to last season. The total has gone ‘over’ in seven of the last eight head-to-head meetings.
The pick: Utah -3
This line feels about as sharp as you are going to get with a college football game, but I would rather avoid what I know is the square side. The public is going to be taking the No. 3 team in the country until this game kicks off on Saturday night. However, backing Utah at home under Kyle Whittingham has been one of the best wagers to make over the last few seasons. The Utes are going to be playing in front of a raucous crowd in this game and their style of play is going to make it a frustrating evening for the visitors. I don’t know how much value is left at the current number, though.