Oregon got a scare against Cal last week, but it did what good teams are supposed to do, it won. While the spread against Colorado is similar to that game, this matchup favors the Ducks a bit more and they were early -20.5 point home favorites for Friday night.
It hasn’t been an easy start for either team, but Oregon is the one with title aspirations. The Ducks are at least getting wins even if they haven’t been pretty in their last two against Stanford and Cal.
That could change in this game because Colorado’s defense may be one of the worst in the conference, allowing 31.6 points per contest. That should be a big boost to the Oregon offense which has struggled to get going in recent games.
It’s hard to keep one of the best quarterbacks in the country down for long and that’s what Colorado could find out. Justin Herbert may have padded his numbers against two bad defenses, but it’s hard to ignore his 71.6% completion rate for 15 touchdowns and one interception.
Most of those have gone to top targets Jacob Breeland, Johnny Johnson and Jaylon Redd, all of whom could be busy in this one. Of course, they can also run the ball with CJ Verdell and Travis Dye leading a group that averages 4.5 yards per carry.
These names are relevant because it’s possible all of them could find their way into the end zone. Colorado has allowed at least 30 points in every game and it’d be surprising if Oregon didn’t hit that number and a few more.
Deciding this game will be the other side of the ball because Colorado has been able to stay in every matchup no matter the opponent. Even against a solid Arizona State defense, the Buffaloes managed to score 34 points in a road win.
That’s because quarterback Steven Montez is one of the lesser talked about quarterbacks in the nation unless you’re a Pac-12 fan. Montez is in his third year as the full-time starter and could be headed for his best season, averaging 8.3 yards per attempt for 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Even though top wideout Laviska Shenault has battled injury, he’s found new receivers to trust in Tony Brown and K.D. Nixon. The return of Shenault would be nice, but as seen against Arizona, Brown and Nixon can fill the role as top receivers. The Buffs also have a solid ground game between Alex Fontenot and Jaren Mangham, both averaging at least four yards per carry.
This game will likely be on Montez because Oregon’s defensive line has been a force early, limiting opponents to less than 100 rushing yards per game. Overall, there may be questions about Oregon’s defense because keeping Stanford and Cal contained isn’t the most difficult thing in the Pac-12, though Washington wouldn’t agree.
There are reasons to take the Buffs in this spot because if they could move the ball on ASU, then they could probably do the same against Oregon. If Shenault can play, that would help even more for Montez, who will likely be asked to do most of the heavy lifting.
These teams haven’t played since 2016 and things were a bit different back then for both. Colorado is 1-6 ATS in its last seven conference games and the under is 4-0 in Oregon’s last four at home against a team with a winning road record. The Ducks/the favorites are 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – Oregon -20.5