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The No. 8 Oregon Ducks are making the trip north for a Pac-12 showdown with the No. 7 Washington Huskies, headlined by the Heisman race between QBs Michael Penix Jr. and Bo Nix.
The Huskies won last year’s meeting 37-34, but the Ducks have won 15 of the last 18. As we continue, we’ll react to the betting odds and share our favorite picks for one of the best college football matchups in 2023.
|No. 8 Oregon||+3 (-118)||+124||Over 67.5 (-110)|
|No. 7 Washington||+3 (-102)||-158||Under 67.5 (-110)|
Washington and Oregon are sixth and seventh in odds to make the College Football Playoff. Penix Jr. also leads the Heisman odds at +210, while Nix is third at +600. To say this matchup is anything short of a must-have for both teams would be greatly underselling it.
Oregon has won five straight games to start its season, including back-to-back 42-6 victories over No. 19 Colorado and Stanford. They’re 5-0 against the spread and have made significant improvements to their defense since last year (fifth in points and sixth in yards allowed per game).
The Ducks also rank second in the nation in scoring per game at 51.6 points per game, behind only USC’s 51.8.
Washington allows more than 150% as many points per game as Oregon does (18.4 to 11.8), but they have kept up in scoring (46 points per game). They’ve also gained more yards than any team in Division-I but are only 101st in rushing yards per game (123), while Oregon is eighth (225.2).
That means that as much pressure as there is on Nix to perform, there’s far more on Penix. To his credit, he’s aced every test and averaged 399.8 yards per game while throwing for 16 touchdowns and only two interceptions and producing the nation’s second-best QBR (91.6).
It’s very possible that the last team with the ball wins this game.
As strong as the defenses have been, this is a case in which a good offense wins out. It’s also worth noting that Washington has struggled in coverage and isn’t as sure-handed as the Ducks.
Penix and Nix have both been playing at elite levels and are yet to show any real glaring issues.
Although the Huskies’ defense allowed 56 points to California and Arizona in its last two games, we trust Penix to deliver them to glory. He’s somehow contended with the unreal Caleb Williams as the most impressive player in the country and has not batted an eye yet.
Washington also has great running backs at its disposal—it just has not needed to heavily involve them in its game plan yet. That could easily change against a stout Oregon defense that has been on point recently.
Both teams are undefeated and coming off bye weeks. Bettors should expect to get the best possible efforts from both schools, but we believe the team with the better QB (Washington) has the narrow edge.
Penix and Nix are two of the three best quarterbacks in the country at this point in time. Betting the under with those two in play is a serious risk, and one that we are unwilling to take.
Oregon surrendered 30 points on the road against an unranked Texas Tech squad in the second week of the season. They’ve shored up the gaps since then, but that’s still evidence that they can give up points if they are challenged.
Watch for the line play to also be a major determinant of not only which teams win, but the over/under as well. The Ducks brutalized teams like Colorado and Stanford in the trenches but will find that harder to accomplish against the Huskies.
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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.
In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.More info on Grant Mitchell
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