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Washington State

vs.

Oregon

College Football

Free Pick

10/7/17

Now that the party is over for Washington State, the winning has to continue or the win against USC won’t mean as much. Oregon isn’t an easy task by any means and that’s seen in the spread as the Ducks moved to a -2.5 point home favorite late on Monday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Despite having a new starting quarterback, Oregon is a favorite in this game, which is a big ask. Justin Herbert broke his collarbone so the new Oregon starter will be between Taylor Alie and Braxton Burmeister. Alie came in for Herbert against Cal, but also left with an injury. Whomever gets the start, neither will be as experienced as Herbert, and Burmeister was originally supposed to be redshirted.

Things were a bit different when these teams played last year as Washington State controlled most of the way and won 51-33. The Cougars ran for 280 yards and six touchdowns, while Luke Falk passed for 371 more yards. But again, this is a different team from a year ago as Oregon’s defense has been slightly better and that’s seen in the team’s four wins, most recently an easy 45-24 result against Cal. Of course, the loss to Arizona State can’t be overlooked.

The big thing for the Cougars will be to not have a letdown after such a huge win. Throw in this being their first true road game of the season and that’s part of the reason Oregon was a favorite. But it’s still hard to see this Oregon defense keeping this offense in check.

Luke Falk continues to rack up huge numbers and threw for 340 yards against a solid USC pass defense last week. For the season, he’s already at 16 touchdowns to go with a career-high 74.5 completion percentage. And if Wazzu can get the ground game going against this defense again, that’ll be more trouble for the Ducks. The Cougars have a trio of backs they use with Jamal Morrow (8.4 yards per carry) and James Williams the top options.

For the Ducks to win, their offense will need to score at least 30 points, if not 40. Already with a new quarterback, top running back Royce Freeman could also miss out as his status was questionable early in the week after he also left the Cal game due to injury. Freeman is a huge piece to this offense, but Kani Banoit should fill in just fine, already with 297 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. But if Oregon has to go with a new QB in Alie or Burmeister as well as a new running back, it’s hard to see many people taking the home team.

It seems that the main reason the line has moved to Oregon’s favor is that many are expecting a Wazzu letdown. From the numbers, it’s hard to see the Ducks having enough offense to win, as the loss of Herbert could be an immediate problem for them and could lead to what happened a year ago for them.

As a positive for Washington State backers, they are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 following an ATS win, although just 1-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. The Ducks don’t have any good trends at just 5-12 ATS in their last 17 home games and haven’t covered in their last five following an ATS win.

Our PIck - Washington State +3

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