No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (10-2 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. No. 3 Oregon Ducks (11-1 SU, 8-4 ATS)
College Football Week 15
Date and Time: Friday December 5th, 2014. 9:00PM EST
Where: Levis Stadium Santa Clara, C.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: OU -13.5/ARIZ +13.5
Over/Under Total: TBA
Bet your Wildcats/Ducks pick at BetOnline Sportsbook and deposit at least $50 and get a 50% BONUS of up to $1000 FREE. Great In-Game betting and more check them out!
The Oregon Ducks overcame an early loss this season to finish the year at 11-1 SU to climb back into the national championship discussion. The Ducks only blunder was a rare home loss to Arizona back in the first week of October. It was the Wildcats 2nd straight upset victory over Oregon in the last two seasons. Now that same Arizona Wildcats team, currently ranked 8th in the country at 10-2 SU, stands in the way of Oregons hopes to make the inaugural college football playoffs. Therefore all eyes will be watching this Friday night when the 3rd ranked Oregon Ducks meet the no. 8 Arizona Wildcats inside Levis Stadium for the Pac-12 Championship Game.
Oregon will enter this Fridays matchup as 13.5 point favorites despite the fact the Wildcats have fared well against the Ducks in recent pairings. Not only has Arizona won the last two meetings, but they have covered the mark going 7-3 ATS in their last 10 meetings with Oregon. Obviously Oregon is playing great football at this point in the season which is the reason for the large spread. The Ducks have been red hot since the loss to Arizona earlier this year winning each of their last 7 games by a minimum of 12 points and an average of 24 points per game. Through that stretch, Oregon has handled teams like UCLA, Stanford, and Utah convincingly making them a realistic threat for a run at the National Championship.
However in order to keep those National Championship hopes alive, the Ducks must first take care of business this Friday against a team they have struggled against in recent matchups. In the last two meetings, Arizona has won the turnover battle and run the ball effectively which has kept the Ducks offense on the sidelines. The Wildcats have held the ball an average of 35 minutes in each of the last two meetings which has been vital towards limiting Oregons scoring opportunities. Both of those aspects will be important again this Friday. Arizonas offense has enough balance to keep the Oregon defense on their heels if they execute the xs and os.
The Wildcats have moved the ball most effectively through the air averaging 291 yards per game (18th in FBS). Quarterback Anu Soloman has done a good job behind center with 3,424 yards, 27 touchdowns, and just 7 interceptions on the season. Running back Nick Wilson has rushed for more than 1,200 yards on the ground this season to give the offense great balance. In years past, Arizonas offense has been more reliant on either the run or the pass solely. However this years offense may be the most balanced in terms of efficiency and production. The key for the offense this week will be the same recipe as the last two meetings by sustaining long drives to control the clock and cashing in on touchdown opportunities.
Still it appears that Arizona is going to have to play the perfect game to pull off another upset and that is because Oregon is playing extremely well perhaps unstoppable on offense. Quarterback Marcus Mariota will likely be on the Heisman Trophy Finalists stage in New York when the season is done. Mariota has thrown for 3,470 yards with 36 touchdowns and only two interceptions this season. The junior quarterback has also rushed for another 636 yards with 11 touchdowns on the ground. Mariota has led the Ducks offense to 45 points per game on the season which is the 4th best mark in the FBS while running back Royce Freeman has contributed on the ground with nearly 1,200 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.
The 2014 version of Oregons fast paced spread offense has been of the best groups in recent memory in Eugene which is impressive just in itself. The Ducks have scored 38 points or more in every victory this season. In their only loss to Arizona, they were held to 31 points which is still not exactly a low number. Perhaps at this point in the season, they are playing their best football which is another reason why Arizonas defense is going to have to play exceptionally well this Friday in order to have another chance at an upset.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I cannot stress enough how well Oregon is playing right now. If you add in the revenge factor and the Pac-12 Championship stage, then I just do not see anyway Arizona contends in this game for all 4 quarters. Oregon pulls away in the 2nd half and uses a big defensive effort to win this one convincingly. Take Oregon -13.5!