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NCAAF Free Pick From Linebacker: Utah vs Oregon

NCAAF Free Pick From Linebacker: Utah vs Oregon

Utah Utes vs Oregon Ducks (ORE +6.5, O/U 46)

Oregon will look for its first Pac-12 championship since 2014 in Friday’s matchup with Utah. The Utes will look to take home their first Pac-12 championship in school history, and claim just the second title for the South Division since the Pac-10 expanded to the Pac-12 in 2011. Utah enters with the higher AP ranking in this matchup and has earned the right to be the betting favorite. The Utes are currently listed as 6.5-point favorites over the Ducks, with Utah’s lone blemish coming all the way back in September against USC. 

The Linebacker’s model predicts it’ll be a closer game than Vegas indicates, projecting a final score of 24.8 - 23.5 in favor of Utah. This projected outcome gives us a sizable edge on the Ducks when it comes to the spread. Our model suggests a $102 wager on OREGON +6.5 for an average $100 bettor.

The Linebacker’s NCAAF picks are 323-279 ATS (53.6%) and 320-245 on OVER/UNDERs (56.6%) during the regular season, profiting +55.29 units, or $5,529 for an average $100 bettor. Head over to thelinebacker.com to sign up for a free trial and get access to EVERY conference championship matchup.

Why Will Oregon Cover the Spread?

  • Both teams enter with similar numbers offensively and defensively, indicating this should be a tight back-and-forth affair. Utah enters averaging 453.6 yards and 35.6 points per game, while Oregon averages 452.3 yards and 35.8 points per game. Both teams are also at the top of the Pac-12 in scoring defense and total defense. Utah enters allowing a minuscule 241.6 yards and 11.3 points per game, while Oregon sits slightly behind the Utes at 331.3 yards and 15.8 points per game.
  • Justin Herbert has had success facing Utah’s perennially stout defense. He’s completed 65.8 percent of his passes and thrown for six touchdowns without an interception. Herbert also excelled this year in two games against other top-20 pass defenses in terms of yards per pass attempt (Auburn and Washington). He completed 52 of 75 attempts (69.3%) for 522 yards and five passing touchdowns in those two matchups.
  • Oregon’s defense should be able to limit Utah’s success through the air. The Utes enter with 10.5 yards per pass attempt (fourth-best) and a 74.07 percent completion rate (second). The Ducks have surrendered the 11th-fewest yards per pass attempt this season at 6.2, and have allowed opposing QBs to complete 58.40 percent of their passes (42nd). Oregon should also be able to put Tyler Huntley on his back, as they’ve averaged 2.8 sacks per game (22nd) and a 7.21 percent sack rate (35th). Utah’s weakness in the passing game has been protecting Huntley, who has been sacked on 6.54 percent of his drop-backs (75th).
  • Both teams enter with a top-10 turnover margin. Oregon is +11 in the turnover department, with Utah right on their heels at +10. This game shapes up to be extremely tight throughout, so it would be a surprise if the final score wasn’t a one-score margin for either team, setting up well for Oregon to cover at +6.5.

Utah @ Oregon: How to Bet the Total

This matchup currently features an OVER/UNDER of 46. The Linebacker’s projected score totals 48.3 points (24.8 - 23.5), giving us a slight edge on the OVER in this one. Our model suggests a $57 wager on OVER 46 for an average $100 bettor.