Fresno State vs. Oregon Point Spread Pick
Fresno State Bulldogs (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) vs. Oregon Ducks (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
When: Saturday, September 4, 2 p.m.
Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Ore.
TV: Pac-12 Network
Point Spread: FRES +20.5/ORE -20.5 (Intertops - Sign up through our special link and use bonus code ROOKIE200 to get a 200% bonus on your $25 deposit! - Free $50!)
Total: O/U 64
Oregon looks for a bounce-back year, but the Ducks might not have the right opponent to get started against. Fresno State has historically played pretty well against the Ducks, and the Bulldogs are a confident group after getting started with a win in week 0. Of course, the victory was over Connecticut, and everyone looks good against Connecticut, but the way the Bulldogs dominated the Huskies was a statement that Fresno could be pretty competitive in the Mountain West this season.
Oregon appears to be the second-best squad in the Pac-12 North, and if the Ducks want to make it three straight appearances in the Pac-12 title game, they’ll need to get more consistent play out of an offense that never seemed to find itself in 2020. The Ducks backed into the Pac-12 title game and made the most of the opportunity in beating USC, but their flaws were on full display against an outstanding Iowa State squad in the Fiesta Bowl. If the Ducks can’t get things cleaned up, it’s going to be tough to reach the heights this program is accustomed to seeing.
How the Public is Betting the Fresno State/Oregon Game
The public seems to be impressed with Fresno State, bumping the total up from 62 to 64 and dropping the Ducks’ spread from -22 to -20.5. The majority of tickets are on the Ducks, but most of the money has come in on the Bulldogs.
Fresno State reports no injuries.
Cornerback D.J. James and safety Jamal Hill are suspended. Tight end Patrick Herbert (knee), defensive tackle Jaylen Smith (undisclosed), running back Sean Dollars (knee), offensive lineman Bram Walden (leg), and linebacker Jackson LaDuke (leg) are questionable. Safety J.J. Greenfield is suspended indefinitely.
When Fresno State Has the Ball
The way Fresno State moved the ball probably had more to do with its opponent’s poor performance than how well it played. In truth, the Bulldogs were pedestrian on the ground, as Ronnie Rivers never got going for Fresno. Rivers finished with just 58 yards and no touchdowns, not exactly impressive considering the quality of the opponent.
On the positive side of the ledger, the Bulldogs moved the ball well through the air, although that also had more to do with the quality of the opposing defense than it did their own success. Jake Haener made good decisions with the football, but the thing that sums up the game best was the fact that Jalen Cropper finished with three catches for 87 yards, with one of those grabs going for 86 yards. When the big play didn’t hit against the Huskies, the Bulldogs didn’t really have a Plan B…and chances are, they’re going to need a Plan B against the Ducks.
When Oregon Has the Ball
Oregon had two big problems last season: the Ducks routinely shot themselves in the foot on offense and couldn’t get stops on defense. Oregon finished with a -9 in turnovers and gave up 406 yards per game on defense, both program-worsts since 2016, the year the Ducks went 4-8, and Mark Helfrich paid for it with his job. Things should be better this time around, as Oregon believes it has a quarterback it trusts in Anthony Brown. Tyler Shough was never comfortable in the Ducks’ offense last season, while Brown played pretty well in lifting the Ducks to an upset of USC in the Pac-12 title game.
The ground game, however, must improve if the Ducks want to get themselves back into the elite. Oregon only averaged 167 yards per game on the ground, a low that not even Helfrich reached. With five starters back on the line and CJ Verdell back as the main man in the backfield, this should be a much more powerful team on the ground. Fresno State had no problems stopping Connecticut’s rushing attack, but there’s a big difference between stopping UConn and stopping Oregon. The Ducks need their line to dominate if they plan to dominate this game.
The Ducks have won seven straight in this series, but only one meeting (2007) has been decided by more than 17 points, and only two have been decided by more than seven. Plus, Fresno State has tended to play tough against Pac-12 opponents, as the Bulldogs have covered in four straight against Pac-12 teams and beat two of them straight up, knocking off UCLA and Arizona State in 2018. Overall, Fresno is 5-1-1 ATS in its past seven against Power 5 schools and 5-0 ATS against Power 5 schools not named Minnesota.
At the same time, Oregon hasn’t been a team to trust when they’re giving points or playing outside the Pac-12. The Ducks are just 5-12-1 ATS in their past 18 nonconference games and 2-5 ATS in their past seven games as a favorite. When these teams have met, points haven’t exactly been hard to come by: the over has cashed in four of their past five matchups.
Pac-12 brunch will be played in some warm weather, with temperatures in the high 80s in the Pacific Northwest. However, there’s no worry of storms and just a seven MPH wind heading west-southwest.
Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread
I’m worried about Fresno State’s ability to move the ball in this one, as the Bulldogs really didn’t show much of anything that suggested that they can gain ground against the Ducks. Oregon has the more experienced line and should be able to open holes in the Bulldogs’ defense throughout this contest. Now that we’re under the three-touchdown hook, I feel a lot more comfortable backing the Ducks to get the cover in this one. Hey! Be sure to also check out our NFL picks! We cover EVERY game with analysis!