Odds, Trends and Predictions for this Week's matchups.
Photo: Young Kwak / AP
Article by Kyle Kollman
In what will be a weekly column, we provide you with our weekly predictions, picks against the spread and situational trends for CFB programs in the West.
Cal at Oregon State (+3):
Cal is 9-3 against the spread on the road since 2018.
Since last season season the Beavers are 9-3 ATS as an underdog.
Oregon State has lost 13 of their last 14 games outright when an underdog at home dating back to 2016.
Prediction: Cal was in a tough spot last week with only two days to game plan for a 9:00 am kickoff at UCLA and their first game of the season. It showed as the Bears struggled mightily. With a full week to prepare, Cal should put up a better performance on both sides of the ball. Christopher Brown only had 8 carries last week as Cal was down big at Halftime. The Beavers will force feed work horse running back Jermar Jefferson. Tristan Gebbia won’t make the clutch plays in the 4th quarter when the Beavers need them most. Cal squeaks out a win in Corvallis 27-24.
UCLA at Oregon (-13.5):
Since 2005 the Ducks have won 81 of their last 90 games outright when they were favored at home. In fact, Oregon has won the last 19 games outright when they were favored at home.
The Bruins are just 4-20 straight up on the road since 2016.
UCLA has lost 6 straight games in Eugene and has not won at Autzen Stadium since 2004.
Prediction: The Bruins, after playing Sunday morning, have a short week to prepare for their road trip to Eugene. The Ducks have by far the highest 3rd down conversation rate in the conference at over 72%. UCLA will not be able to get the Ducks off the field and Oregon will convert their red-zone drives into touchdowns. Chip Kelly will be wishing he was still on the home sideline in the 4th quarter. This one could get ugly as the Ducks roll 41-21.
Arizona at Washington (-11.5):
Arizona is just 8-31 straight up as an underdog since 2015.
Arizona is just 5-15 ATS as a road underdog since 2015.
The Wildcats have lost 4 straight in Seattle and have not won at Husky Stadium since 2007.
Washington has won 24 of their last 26 games outright as a home favorite since 2016.
Prediction: Last week Arizona almost pulled off the early upset of the season in Pac-12 play against USC. In a press conference this week, Jimmy Lake wore a hat that stated, “Run The Damn Ball”. Look for more ground and pound from the Huskies who had three running backs get over 9 carries. Washington will try to control time of possession and grind the clock like they did last week against Oregon State. The Husky secondary is the key in this game and does enough to slow down Arizona’s wide receivers. Huskies beat Arizona 31-24.
USC at Utah (+3):
The Trojans are 10-19-1 against the spread as a favorite since 2017.
USC is 14-3 straight up as a road favorite since 2015.
The home team has won the 7 matchups in this series.
The Utes have not won as a home underdog since 2013. They have lost 6 straight such occurrences.
Prediction: It's hard to know what to expect from Utah who is the only team yet to play a game in the Pac-12. The Utes should have a strong front 7 as they always do, but they do not return a single starter in the secondary. Strong Safety, Nate Ritchie and Right Cornerback, Clark Phillips are both listed as starters on the depth chart Utah released this week. Both players are 4-star recruits, but true Freshman. The trio of Amon-Ra St. Brown, Drake London and Tyler Vaughns is the last receiving core you want an inexperienced secondary to go against. South Carolina graduate transfer Quarterback Jake Bentley will keep Utah in this game. Would anybody be shocked to see USC trailing in the 4th quarter and comeback to win for a third straight week? I would not be surprised to see Utah pull the upset, but I think USC wins another thriller 30-28.
Washington State at Stanford (-1.5):
The Cougars have won 4 straight games against Stanford.
WSU has also covered 5 straight against the Cardinal, 4 of those games as underdogs.
The Cougars are 18-7 against the spread as road underdogs since 2013.
Stanford is 20-7 straight up as a home favorite since 2016.
Prediction: WSU quarterback, Jayden De Laura, has been ruled out of this game for a positive COVID-19 test. Whether it is Gunner Cruz or Cammon Cooper filling in, expect Pac-12 after dark madness for this 8:00pm kickoff. Both teams have struggled on defense this season averaging over 35 points per game. Austin Jones has only averaged 3.8 yards per carry in two games and Stanford will need him to pop some explosive runs if they are going to win. Look for many fade and go routes, a Stanford staple, to Simi Fehoko and Michael Wilson. Cougar star running back, Max Borghi, has missed both games this season and is listed as “day to day” by head coach Nick Rolovich. In Borghi’s absence, Deon McIntosh has thrived with 239 yards rushing in his first two games of the season. Also, a revenge factor for Cougar safety, Ayden Hector, who returns to Palo Alto after Stanford dropped his scholarship due to a police investigation dating back to high school. Hector was a blue chip 4-star recruit, who force three turnovers last week against Oregon and he could be a game wrecker again. I think this game will have multiple lead changes and could come down to whoever has the ball last. Jet Toner kicks a game winning field goal as time expires for a 27-24 Stanford victory.
New Mexico at Air Force (-7):
The Lobos have lost 20 of their last 21 games straight up as an underdog dating back to 2018.
New Mexico has covered the spread in 7 of their last 8 matchups with Air Force.
The Over has hit in the last 7 games in this matchup. 55 ½ is the current over/under.
Prediction: New Mexico showed fight last week and actually had a halftime lead even though they were 17 ½ point underdogs. Air Force leads the country in rushing yards per game. Their triple option offense has accounted for 330 yards per game on the ground. New Mexico surprisingly has the stingiest rush defense in the Mountain West, despite having by far the worst pass defense. The Lobos have lost 18 consecutive conference games. They may keep it close, but I don’t think the losing streak stops this week. Air Force wins 31-24.
San Diego State at Nevada (+2):
Nevada is 6-2 against the spread as a home underdog since 2017. The Wolfpack won 4 of those games outright.
The Aztecs are an 8-3 ATS as an away favorite since 2017.
Prediction: I expect this to be back and forth all game as two of the best teams in the Mountain West face off. Strength against strength as Nevada’s #1 passing offense in the Mountain Wests squares off against the best passing defense in the Mountain West in San Diego State. Romeo Dubbs has been one of the best receivers in the country, let alone the conference. Don't be surprised if this game is decided in overtime. Wolfpack pull off the upset 24-23.
Boise State at Hawaii (+14):
The Broncos have beaten Hawaii in 14 of their last 15 matchups, This includes winning the last 8 games in this series all by at least 20 points.
Hawaii is just 9-18 against the spread as a home underdog dating back to 2011.
Prediction: Boise State should have success running the ball against Hawaii and the worst rush defense in the Mountain West. The Broncos will be able to exploit Todd Graham’s aggressive blitzing defense. Boise State has dominated Hawaii and I think that trend continues. Broncos blowout Hawaii 45-20.
North Alabama at BYU (-47.5):
BYU is 22-3 straight up as a home favorite dating back to 2015.
North Alabama has covered the spread as an underdog in all three of their games this season
Prediction: BYU and the Zach Wilson Heisman campaign roll on. This one is over before halftime as the Cougars boat race North Alabama 56-7.