Championship week has arrived in college football. Utah still has an outside chance at making the College Football Playoff if they can take care of business on Friday night in the Pac-12 Championship Game against Oregon. The Ducks were eliminated from CFP contention after they were upset by Arizona State two weeks ago. The Utes enter the game red hot having won eight straight since a 31-23 loss to USC way back on September 21.
Utah will be making a second straight trip to the Pac 12 title game. The Utes fell 10-3 to Washington last season. This will be Oregon’s third title game appearance and first since they won it in 2014 with a 51-13 defeat over Arizona. The Ducks were also victorious in the inaugural Pac-12 Championship Game back in 2011 with a 49-31 win over UCLA.
The smart money has already begun hammering this game which has caused some sharp line movement in the total. With the weather forecast in Santa Clara looking unfavorable on Friday night, the total has been bet down from 51 all the way to 45.5 at some books as field conditions could also play a factor on the shoddy turf at Levi’s Stadium. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 50’s with an 80% chance of rain and wind gusts up to 22 mph.
We break down the action and offer our analysis on the line movement as the Utes and Ducks prepare for a showdown in Santa Clara.
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Oregon vs. Utah Game Details
*All odds are courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook
This line opened at Utah -4.5 and has been bet up to Utah -6.5 at most books, according to VegasInsider.com. The action favors the Utes who are receiving the majority of the bets and of the money, according to The Action Network.
The total opened at 50 and has been bet down all the way to 46.5 at most books with the majority of the bets and a larger majority of the money on the under.
The stingy Utes defense could be getting some help from Mother Nature. According to Weather.com, there is a 100% chance of rain in Santa Clara on Friday night with 20 mph winds in the forecast. If you also take into consideration the historically poor field conditions at Levi’s Stadium, the wet and windy weather could make for difficult scoring conditions. So, it’s no surprise the sharp money has come in hard on the under early in the week, pushing this total down nearly four points from 50 to 46.5. If you wanted to bet the under in this game, you most likely missed your chance to grab value with the number. Utah boasts the third-best scoring defense in the FBS allowing just 11.3 points per game. Oregon is just seven slots behind giving up 15.8 points per game. Both teams have been exceptional in the trenches this season, especially Utah. The Utes have allowed the fewest rushing yards per game in the country (56.3) with Oregon ranking 10th in that category (106.1). Whichever team controls the line of scrimmage will most likely emerge as the Pac-12 Champion.
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith