Over/Under 8.5 Wins () vs Oregon Ducks ()Date : 09/01/2018
Time : First Game: Bowling Green Eagles @ Oregon Ducks 8:00 PM
Location : Autzen Stadium
Pick, Prediction, & Preview:
Over/Under 8.5 Wins vs Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Ducks football program has been establishing themselves as a powerhouse over this century as they have found themselves in national championships but the last 2 years have not been kind for the Ducks as they have gone 11-13 with a bowl loss against Bosie State. Willie Taggart was supposed to be the answer for this program and after leading the Ducks to a 7-5 season last year he bolted for the opening at Florida State which leaves Oregon with their 3rd coach in 3 years. Oregon elected to hire within the coaching staff as they promoted Mario Cristobal from OL coach to head coach but he is no stranger to the big stage as he was formerly the assistant head coach under Nick Saban at Alabama from 2013-2016. Oregon in the past has been known for its high scoring offense especially in the Chip Kelly era and although they should be strong on that side of the ball with a Heisman trophy candidate leading the offense their strong suit may reside on the defensive side of the ball. The biggest win of the offseason for this program wasn’t their top recruiting class but rather one of the best defensive coordinator in the nation staying with Oregon as Jim Leavitt is on board for Cristobal. The Oregon Ducks have one of the biggest advantages in college football in terms of recruiting as they are Nike’s #1 school which leads to countless uniforms and equipment, something that the top recruits like. Oregon had the 3rd ranked Pac-12 recruiting class as they secured ten 4-star recruits with the biggest one being the #7 QB in the nation Tyler Shough who chose the Ducks over Alabama and Florida State late in the process.
Over/Under 8.5 Wins 's Latest Performance :
The Oregon Ducks made a 3 win leap from 2016 to 2017 as they went from 4-8 to 7-5 but that is still not where this program expects to be as they want to be a national championship contender every year. The Oregon Ducks will be led by a new head coach but he does come within so the chemistry won’t be ruined and given the fact that Oregon has a potential Heisman Trophy finalist quarterbacking the offense and a strong defensive unit oddsmakers have set the over/under at 8.5 wins.
The Oregon Ducks want to return to the top of the Pac-12 North but that side of the conference has now become stronger as Stanford is a consistent contender and Washington is as good as the conference provides. Oregon will have the opportunity to open their season with some blow-out wins especially in their non-conference schedule as the Ducks will host San Jose State and Bowling Green who went a combined 4-21 last season as well as their yearly beat up against an FCS foe with this year the victim being Portland State. Oregon’s Pac-12 kickoff game could potentially be one of the most important ones as they will welcome in Stanford on 9/29 in what could potentially be a battle for the #1 spot in the North division. The schedule won’t get much easier after Stanford either as after they travel to Cal in week 5 they will have to return back home to play the Washington Huskies in what is another important game in terms of position in the division, Oregon may need to win 1 of the 2 games for any shot of receiving a chance at a division title. The Pac-12 road schedule shouldn’t put too much stress on Cristobal and company as they will have matchups against Cal, Utah, Washington State, and Oregon State which should all end up as wins for the Ducks.
Oregon Ducks's Latest Performance :
The Oregon Ducks have not had a Heisman trophy winner since Marcus Mariotta in 2014 but that could change this year as junior QB Justin Herbert is a strong candidate to win the prestigious award. Herbert only played in 7 games last season but we saw the potential the 6’6 QB has as he led the Ducks to a 6-1 record behind 1,983 yards and 15 TDs through the air and an additional 183 yards and 5 TDs on the ground. Herbert lost his top running back from 2017 in Royce Freeman who had 1,475 yards and 16 TDs but he will still return talent as they will bring back redshirt senior RB Tony Brooks-James. The Florida native was solid in a reserve role for the Ducks as he rushed for 498 yards where he averaged 5.4 YPC and not to mention he did win a track national championship which shows his acceleration and speed. The wide receiver group will be the weakest of the playmakers as they lack a superstar but there is still some depth at the position as they return 2017 top receiver Dillon Mitchell (517 yards & 4 TDs) as well as hand full of 4-star recruits. WRs Jalen Hall and Isaah Crocker come to Oregon from the state of California and they have potential to see the field early on in their career due to their skill set and don’t forget 4-star TE Spencer Webb who gives the Ducks another blocker and pass catcher to work with. Jim Leavitt defense usually consists of guys flying around and making plays at every level and they should take a step forward in 2018 especially since he returns 2x defensive MVP in LB Troy Dye. The California native has been a force ever since he stepped foot on campus 2 seasons ago and he showed that last year as he had a team-high 107 tackles with an additional 14 TFL, he has gradually improved his stats every year and the junior could do that once again this season with another season under Leavitt. The pass rush should be where the Ducks make their money this season especially after Jalen Jelks returned to Eugene rather than departing for the NFL draft. Jelks is one of the best defensive ends in the conference as the junior was able to record a team-high in TFL (15.5) and sacks (7) from the edge last season. Jelks will have some solid pass rushers lining up opposite of him as well as the Ducks will return OLBs Justin Hollins and La’Mar Winston who combined for 19 TFL and 6.5 sacks in 2017. The secondary should also be a well-off unit as they return their interception leader in Ugochukwu Amandi who compiled 4 last season from the corner spot but the senior will take on a new role this season as he moved to safety.
Player To Watch
Tabari Hines, WR, Grad Transfer
The Oregon Ducks are known for their uptempo high powered offense which prompts a team to stack up on depth especially at the playmaker positions and Cristobal was able to do just that as he landed former Wake Forest WR Tabari Hines in the grad transfer market. Hines was one of the best targets for the Deamon Deacons last season as the 5’11 WR compiled over 683 yards and 7 TDs in a similar offense. The WR unit is inexperienced but talented and Hines adds a much-needed veteran presence to the WR corp and I expect the speedy transfer to take off in his new environment.
How Over/Under 8.5 Wins & Oregon Ducks Matchup.
Vegas Odds, Offshore Odds, & Odds ATS:
Over 8.5 Wins -120
Under 8.5 Wins -Even
In-Depth Analysis of each team:
9/1- Bowling Green- W
9/8- Portland State- W
9/15- San Jose State- W
9/22- Stanford- W
9/29- @ Cal- W
10/13- Washington- L
10/20- @ Washington State- W
10/27- @ Arizona- W
11/3- UCLA- W
11/10- @ Utah- L
11/17- Arizona State- W
11/23- @ Oregon State- W
Overall Record: 10-2
Against The Spread Selection: Over 8.5 Wins -120
My reason for the pick :
The Oregon Ducks are back and they should be as strong as ever as they will find themselves in a New Years Six Bowl for the first time since 2014 where they played in the first CFB playoff. The Oregon Ducks return a ton of talent on the offensive side of the ball whether it is at the QB position or at RB and given their defensive success the last few seasons there is no reason this team can’t compete for a top spot in the conference. The schedule is favorable for the Ducks as they will get to host the top 2 teams in the Pac-12 North at home and I do see the Ducks coming out on top of Stanford in week 4. The one game that will essentially prevent the Ducks from being the top team in the Pac-12 is their road loss against Utah as that will be a tough outing for the Ducks considering the fact that Utah should be strong this season. The over 8.5 wins is easily one of the biggest locks of the college football preseason and I would also consider taking Justin Hebert at +1800 to win the Heisman trophy award.