College football’s championship week is here and it kicks off for football handicappers with my Arizona Vs. Oregon Pac-12 Championship pick!
The Pac-12 Championship (click here for NCAAF championship odds) is a rematch of an early October game that sent Oregon out of contention for the College Football Playoff. An unbelievable roll since the loss has gotten Oregon a number 2 ranking and knocking on the door to the CFP, but will Arizona repeat the upset and end Oregon’s dream season?
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 30, 2014
No. 11 Arizona Wildcats vs. No. 2 Oregon Ducks
When: Friday, Dec. 5 at 9:00 pm ET
Betting Line: Oregon -13.5
Analyzing The Arizona Vs Oregon PAC-12 Championship Odds
This Friday game figures to kick-off College Football Championship Weekend in fine style since Arizona is the only team to beat Oregon this season. Since the Arizona loss, where the Wildcats beat the Ducks 31 to 24, Oregon has racked up 7 straight victories. They’ve also gone 7-0 against the spread and are easily the hottest and best looking team in the nation right now.
QB Marcus Mariota should already be making room in his trophy case for the Heisman. He might be the best NFL prospect at the quarterback position since Andrew Luck entered the pro league out of Stanford about three years ago. Mariota’s stats are unbelievable. His TD to interception ratio this season is a mind-blowing 36 to 2. He’s completing close to 69% of his passes, he’s thrown for 3470 yards and he’s rushed for 636 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s a pocket-passer that can run if needed.
Marcus Mariota (126) broke the Pac-12 career TD responsibility record (122) in the Ducks' win against Oregon State. pic.twitter.com/Dimrkg3v5J
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 30, 2014
Arizona won’t be able to stop Mariota. That’s impossible, but what Arizona can do is contain Mariota. They held the likely Heisman Trophy winner to only 276 passing yards and 2 touchdown passes in the early season victory. Mariota rushed for only 1 yard on 9 attempts. Arizona has a knack for keeping Mariota in the pocket. If they can do that, the Wildcats’ chances of keeping this game close go up big time.
For Arizona to have a chance at the win, they’re going to have to be awesome on offense. Oregon’s defense allows 429.6 yards per game but it only gives up 23.2 points per game. What that means is that Oregon tightens up in the red zone. Arizona will have to score touchdowns and not settle for field goals if they expect to beat the Ducks two times in a single season.
One obvious trend for Jeff Casteel's defense: increasing sacks and TFLs since he arrived before the 2012 season. pic.twitter.com/4KNwiOIKtp
— Blair Willis (@BlairWillisUA) November 30, 2014
Based on the betting trends, it’s all Oregon. The Ducks are 7 and 0 ATS in their last 7 conference games, 14 and 3 against the spread in their last 17 games on grass and 4 and 1 ATS in their last 5 neutral site games while Arizona is 1 and 7 ATS in their last 8 games on grass and 1 and 5 ATS in their last 6 games following an against the spread victory.
But in the head to head, Arizona is a mind-blowing 7 and 3 against the spread in the last 10 meetings. Could it be that Arizona just has Oregon’s number? That could definitely be the case. Arizona also has something that most of Oregon’s opponents in the Pac-12 don’t, and that’s a fantastic rushing attack.
Arizona averages 189.8 yards per game on the ground. That’s not bad, but what’s really impressive is the play of freshman Nick Wilson. Wilson has rushed for 153 yards against Colorado, 104 yards versus Washington, 218 yards versus Utah and 178 yards versus ASU in the Wildcats’ last 4 games.
Wilson averaged over 7 yards per carry against Oregon’s defense in ‘Zona’s victory on Oct. 2. If Arizona plays this one smart and gets Wilson going early, Oregon could be in some trouble straight up and not just against the spread. Keeping Mariota and the Ducks’ offense on the sidelines is the way to beat them. Using Wilson is the way that Arizona can do that.
The Arizona Wildcats are the pick against the spread versus the Oregon Ducks in Friday’s Pac-12 Championship. Football handicappers might want to also consider a small wager on the ‘Cats on the money line.