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FOX Sports Betting Analyst
College football Week 10 is upon us, and as we prepare for this weekend’s action, I have some early thoughts on two games.
These two early bets feature teams from the state of Oregon, so teams I know pretty well.
The Oregon Ducks have rebounded nicely since their Week 1 loss to Georgia, and 6-2 Oregon State is holding its own, too.
Keep reading to find out how I think Ducks can cover and if Oregon State stands a chance at Washington (odds via FOX Bet).
No. 8 Oregon at Colorado (3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, ESPN)
This line is absurdly high. Since 2003, we’ve only seen a Power Five team as a favorite of 30 points or more on the road against another Power Five team 34 times. The favorites have only covered 15 of those 34 times. I would not wager on Oregon to cover the spread in this game. When the Ducks have been ahead by three or more touchdowns this season, they take the starters out of the game and allow the backups to get valuable playing time. When given the chance, Oregon’s second-team offense can’t score, and Oregon’s second-team defense has given up a ton of points. Multiple teams have scored 10 points or more on Oregon in the fourth quarter of blowouts this season.
So you’re welcome to wager on Colorado if you’d like, but I have a better option for you.
The Ducks’ offense this season has been excellent. They rank third in overall efficiency and sixth in points per drive. Oregon continues to be the best rushing team in the country, and the offensive line has not allowed a sack this year. Ducks score the bulk of their offensive points in the second quarter, which makes them an outstanding first-half scoring team. Colorado’s defense ranks 119th overall and 130th in points per drive. When they’ve played similar defenses — like Arizona’s or Stanford’s — they’ve scored 28 and 31 points in those first halves. Even last weekend, Oregon scored 21 against Cal’s 41st-ranked defense but easily could have scored more. Two drives stalled inside the Cal 14, another stalled on fourth down, and another drive ended with a dropped pass that resulted in a turnover.
I do think it could be reasonable to expect Oregon not to show up in this one since the point spread is so large, and rival Washington comes to town next weekend. However, Ducks played a poor first quarter against Cal, and I think that will get them fired up to start fast against Colorado.
Oregon might be into the 40s by halftime.
PICK: Oregon 1st half team total Over 24 points
No. 24 Oregon State at Washington (10:30 p.m. ET Friday, ESPN2)
Oregon State’s team is defined by its defense — something no one expected to say about the bowl-bound Beavers.
Oregon State has a veteran secondary that has routinely shut down opposing teams’ passing attacks. USC only scored 17 points against the Beavers, and although Utah scored 42 points and had 361 yards against them, only 199 of those were through the air. The Beavers defense ranks 31st in overall passing success rate, and they force teams to throw underneath. As a result, they have a 5.7 adjusted air yards number, which is good for 18th in college football.
This secondary will be important because they are playing a high-powered Washington passing attack. Washington’s passing attack ranks seventh in success rate. Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has completed 68% of passes for almost 3,000 yards this season, with a 22-to-4 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
However, Washington has played two defenses that ranked in the top 50 (UCLA 46, Cal 41), and its offensive production was hampered in those games. Washington scored 32 points against UCLA, but 14 of those came in garbage time when the Huskies were down 24 points. I fear that Washington’s passing concepts will be too simple against this Beavers defense. The Huskies attempt too many throws outside the numbers, and better defenses like UCLA and Cal were prepared for this.
Off a bye, Oregon State will also be ready.
However, there is some caution. Washington’s struggles this season have occurred on the road, where they have lost two of three. This game is in Seattle at night and there’s an expected forecast of rain and wind. The weather benefits the Beavers, but the crowd benefits the Huskies. Oregon State has struggled on the road this season, losing to Utah and needing the game’s final plays to beat Fresno and Stanford.
Nonetheless, I will take the Beavers to cover.
PICK: Oregon State (+4 at FOX Bet) to lose by fewer than 4 points (or win outright)
Geoff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL for five different teams. He started at right tackle for the University of Oregon for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.
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