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Alamo Bowl

Pick

Texas

vs.

Oregon

12/30/13

Maybe the biggest news for media outlets in this game is that it's going to be Mack Brown's final game coaching Texas. Besides the possible fact that the players will want to send him out with a win, it doesn't have much effect on the betting aspect. Oregon is the better team and it shows in the line with the Ducks as large -14 point favorites for the Valero Alamo Bowl at 5 dimes sportdbook.

No surprise when we look at the betting trends at sportsbook.com as 67% of the action has come in on the Ducks while 83% has come in on the over.

Texas will also have a large fan contingent there as the campus is just over an hour away from San Antonio, where this game is being played. The Longhorns were 4-3 ATS at home this year, and two of their four losses came at home so that shouldn't be a huge factor. They finished the season with an 8-4 record after starting the year slow due to big losses against BYU and Ole Miss. Texas followed those games up with wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma, which happened to be their best wins of the year. When faced with the Big 12's best in recent games, they struggled against OK State and Baylor.

Oregon had a bit of a disappointing 10-2 season, letting Stanford win the Pac-12 North again. The Ducks had high hopes of reaching a fifth-straight BCS bowl, but starting with their loss at Stanford, kind of fell apart. They were demolished by a middle-of-the-pack Arizona team two weeks after the Stanford loss and had trouble disposing of Oregon State in the finale. Will the Ducks be motivated for the Alamo Bowl or will they play like they have in recent weeks? Oregon finished the season going 1-5 ATS in the last six games.

Against a similar spread offense in Baylor, Texas got handled in their last game. If Oregon can get out to an early lead, the Longhorns could be all but finished. They are a team that likes to run the ball, as quarterback Colt McCoy is as inconsistent as there is. He went a measly 12-for-34 for 54 yards in that last game against Baylor. The problem for Texas in recent weeks was that lead running back Johnathan Gray (780 yards) tore his Achilles and their dynamic duo was no more. Malcolm Brown (774 yards, nine TDs) now sees the majority of the carries, but that hasn't been enough. WRs Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley need to be ready in the passing game because there's no doubt McCoy will have to pass plenty in this game.

Stopping Oregon is a problem for any team, so there's no surprise that the Longhorns will have their hands full. This game could easily fall in line with the results from the OK State and Baylor games in which Texas lost a combined 68-23.

The only question about the Ducks is which team will show up. It starts with Marcus Mariota at quarterback. He didn't throw an interception through the first 10 games, but tossed four in his last two. We know the numbers, Mariota finished with 30 TDs, four INTs and 3,412 passing yards to go with 582 yards and nine TDs on the ground. Oregon is one of the best scoring teams in the nation and can move the ball however they want. Mariota has speedsters like Josh Huff (1,036 yards, 11 TDs) and Bralon Addison (842 yards, seven TDs) at the ready to pass to. The Ducks are dealing with injuries at running back, but that shouldn't be a problem for the bowl game with Byron Marshall (995 yards, 14 TDs), Thomas Tyner (689 yards, nine TDs) and De'Anthony Thomas (581 yards, eight TDs) all able to carry the load exclusively with Mariota.

We could go on and on about Oregon, but it's going to come down to which team shows up here. If the early season Ducks come out and put 20 points on the board in the first quarter, they will cover this game. If they start slow as they've done for the past month, Texas will be able to stay close due to its running game.

The Ducks have covered in four straight non-conference games and are 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games on grass. The Longhorns are 5-1 ATS in their last six games vs. the Pac-12, but 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 neutral site games.

Alamo Bowl Pick $20

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