The undefeated Cougars easily handled Colorado State in Week 3, defeating the Rams 38-7. The Ducks have rebounded nicely since their Week 1 loss to Georgia. Oregon looked especially unstoppable as they rolled over BYU last week 41-20.
Will the Ducks improve to three wins on the season? Or will the Cougars remain undefeated after they face off with their Pac-12 foes?
Here’s everything you need from a betting perspective on the game between Oregon and Washington State from the point spread, moneyline, total over/under and expert pick (odds via FOX Bet).
Point spread: Oregon -7 (Oregon favored to win by more than 7 points, otherwise Washington State covers)
Moneyline: Oregon -255 favorite to win (bet $10 to win $13.92 total); Washington State +205 underdog to win (bet $10 to win $30.50 total)
Total scoring over/under: 57.5points scored by both teams combined
Pick via FOX Sports Analyst Geoff Schwartz:
A surprisingly good 3-0 Washington State Cougar squad hosts the Oregon Ducks this weekend. The Ducks are fresh off a dominating upset win over BYU last weekend. As any Oregon fan knows, a trip to Pullman is never easy. The Cougars have only lost six home games since 2015 because weird things happen on the football field in the Palouse.
Despite all of this, I’m going with my Ducks to cover the game.
Oregon has a new coaching staff, and what we saw in the win over BYU on Saturday is something our fans — including me — have waited to see for years. Oregon’s recruiting has skyrocketed to the moon, so now it is expected that a more talented football team should dominate a team with less speed and size. But that was rarely the case in Eugene over the last four seasons.
Last season, Oregon needed a late touchdown to beat Fresno. The one-win Arizona Wildcats were down five points entering the fourth quarter. The five-win Cal Bears were driving for a game-tying touchdown before getting denied.
This trend of barely beating the teams they’re supposed to beat seems to have stopped under new coach Dan Lanning. Oregon scored nine-straight touchdowns against Eastern Washington in Week 2. And then last weekend, once the Ducks got up 38-7 over BYU, they were able to pull some starters. Oregon is a more talented team than BYU. The Ducks are bigger, stronger, faster and quicker. And they played to their talent. They dominated. Oregon is also a more talented team than Washington State.
Although, I have been impressed with Washington State head coach Jake Dickert. After almost leading the Cougars to a share of the Pac-12 North title last season as an interim coach, he was given the permanent gig shortly after the season. Dickert’s Cougars play way above their talent level, especially on defense. They are an attacking unit that plays with relentless energy. Led by Ron Stone Jr, Brennan Jackson and Daiyan Henley, this Cougar pass rush ranks 7th in havoc rate. However, they are playing an Oregon offensive line that has not allowed a sack this season, including a game against Georgia.
The Oregon rushing attack is 6th in rushing success, and they will absolutely rely on this to win Saturday. They will attempt to dominate in the trenches, and I have no evidence that makes me believe they won’t.
Oregon’s quarterback Bo Nix has mostly played efficient football, but there’s always a chance Bad Bo Nix shows up. Oregon has not generated explosive pass plays at a high rate, and if Washington State can get pressure and keep Oregon’s talented receivers in front of them, they can try forcing Nix into errors. That is the path to stopping Oregon’s offense.
Where Washington State can cover and win this game is with its offense. Incarnate Word transfer quarterback Cam Ward has steadily improved throughout the season, but the offense still has issues putting points on the board. They are 80th in points per drive, including two games against Idaho and Colorado State. However, Oregon’s lack of pass rush could give Ward plenty of time to pick apart the bad part of that secondary. Washington State pushed the ball downfield more last weekend against Colorado State, but Ward is still 123rd in air yards per attempt. Oregon struggled with tackling in Week 1, but since then, the Ducks have been outstanding. If the Cougars try to pickleball their passing game on Saturday, Oregon will shut it down.
The Ducks have the better team. They have better players. They are playing confidently and should use their size and speed to overwhelm the Cougars on Saturday eventually.
I’ll say it again. I’ll take the Ducks to cover.
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