Pac12 College Football: Madwed picks Washington vs (9) Utah, Oregon State vs Arizona, (7) Oregon vs USC, Colorado vs UCLA
WASHINGTON +3 over (9) Utah, 4 PM EDT
This is a game that seemed like it would hold a lot more importance at the beginning of the season. Washington’s season did not go as expected, with bad losses to Cal and Stanford mixed with a hard-fought loss to Oregon two weeks ago. Coming off a bye, the road does not get any easier for the Huskies. Utah’s defense is a force, giving up 10 total points in wins against Oregon State, Arizona State and Cal. None of those teams have the offensive firepower of Washington, but numbers like that are impressive nonetheless. The Huskies defense has taken a small step back after replacing 9 starters from 2018 and their offense has been too inconsistent to make up for it. This is a huge game for the Huskies to rescue some pride from this season, as they are out of conference title contention for the first time since 2015. The Huskies offense has been gaining steam of late. A big performance against Arizona led into putting up 31 on a very tough and experienced Oregon defense. I think this will be a very close game, with Washington either winning or losing by only a point or two.
Oregon State +6 over ARIZONA, 4:30 PM EDT
Arizona’s once promising season has completely fallen apart. The Wildcats fired their defensive coordinator this week after giving up 133 points in losses to Washington, USC and Stanford. Oregon State’s offense has cooled off after a relatively hot start, but that was in games against Cal and Utah. The Beavers have a lot to be proud of this season. Two conference victories this season is celebration worthy when you won only one in the last two years combined. Arizona has a matchup advantage on the ground, but I wouldn’t trust them to hold any team down right now. I believe that Arizona has a solid chance to win this game, but Oregon State is trending upwards and taking the points here is the smart move.
(7) Oregon -4.5 over USC, 8 PM EDT
Oregon has slowly brought themselves back into the College Football Playoff conversation after their opening week loss to Auburn. The concerning thing is that their defense has now given up more than 30 points two weeks in a row. The Washington schools do have two of the best offenses in the league when they are operating at their best, but a great defense shouldn’t bend so much. The Ducks run defense has continued to hold up, but their secondary has given up big performances to both Jacob Eason and Anthony Gordon. USC is coming off back-to-back wins after a pair of losses to Washington and Notre Dame. The Trojans might have the best set of offensive athletes in the conference, but they have not always played up to expectations. I see Oregon winning by a touchdown or more. The Trojans have not been able to stop good offenses and their offense won’t be able to keep up.
Colorado +6.5 over UCLA, 9 PM EDT
UCLA has improved to an unexpected extent this season. Viewed as a doormat at the beginning of the year, the Bruins would tie for the division lead with a win and losses by USC and Utah. That is a shockingly reasonable scenario. Wins against Stanford and Arizona State aren’t nationally impressive, but putting up 42 points on the Sun Devils is meaningful. Colorado is a tough team to figure out this year. They have won and lost a few shootouts mixed in with a pair of blowout losses at Oregon and Washington State. The Buffs, led by Steven Montez, have shown that their offense can shine despite the defensive issues. UCLA’s defense was still gashed by Arizona State and Oregon State in recent weeks and I don’t trust their defense to make this a convincing win. The Bruins may win, but this game will be a closer high scoring game.
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