Pac-12 Week 12 Picks
Season to date (45-21) Straight Up (37-25)* Against the Spread
Friday November, 8th
1:30pm PT, Pac-12 Network
Line: WSU -11.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: WSU 72%
Beta_Rank Line: WSU -8.69 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: The big question in this game is what the heck to make of Stanford's offense after last week? The Cardinal were awful against a pretty bad Colorado defense. They come into this game at #80 and with #92/#51 run/pass split. The only real number that stands out for them is their Negative Drives number, #50, which is more about minimizing bad things than creating good ones. They should be better with Costello back and they get another very bad defense in WSU this week. The Cougs come in at #103, but #17 in Drive Efficiency. If they were not so bad at everything else they would have a shot to be a decent defense, but the gist of their numbers is that they do find ways to put offenses in holes that get them off the field; even when they struggle to prevent big plays, yards per play, and force three and outs and turnovers. They have an #83/#112 run/pass split. The other side of the ball you feel like you have confidence in Gordon and Co, to put up points on Stanford's defense and rebound from last week. The Cougs come in at #16 and have a #129/#2 run/pass split. The Cougs are still all explosion and low efficiency; #5 in Explosive Drives and #100 in Drive Efficiency. Stanford's defense isn't very good. The Cardinal come in at #64, but like the Cougs they grade out well at Drive Efficiency on defense; #19. Their #86 Explosive Drives number is a concern in this game. They have a #67/#68 run/pass split. They need a big game from Duane Akina's secondary. The Cougs have been the most unlucky team in the country judging by post game expected points and should have 3 more wins. I like them to win here, but 11 is a lot.
WSU 41 Stanford 34
4:30pm PT, FS1
Line: ASU -2.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: ASU/OSU Pick 'Em
Beta_Rank Line: OSU -0.41 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: This feels like a must win for both teams. They both still have Oregon on their schedule. For the Beavs its a must win to potentially get to bowl eligibilty. For the Sun Devils its about perception. There is far less shame to losing to Oregon State than fans perceive, but fans are about a season (or more) behind usually, and as Arizona's coaching staff can tell you; losing to the Beavs will tick off your fan base; who had that game chalked up as a W all year. After the start the Sun Devils had it will be hard to escape some general feelings of malaise if they finish the season 1-5 with only a win versus Arizona to cheer them up. 1-5 inclusing a loss to the Beavs gives you a good sense of where you really sit in conference. The Sun Devils offense comes in limping along at #78, but they do expect to have Daniels back. They have a #90/#50 run/pass split. They get a Beavers defense at #100 with a #96/#96 split. It is all about containing Hamilcar Rashed in this game though. If the Sun Devils limit him and TFL's they should be able to put up points. The Beavs are hoping to carry forward their best defensive performance in years from last week. The Beavers have to pick it up again on the other side of the ball though. They stunk against Washington. They come in at #24 on offense with a #41/#28 split. It feels like they ran into too big of a talent/scheme gap last week against the Huskies. That should not be the case this week against the #58 Sun Devils; who have a #32/#84 run/pass split. Hodgins and company should be able to put up some points. The model likes the Beavs by a hair at home and I'll go with that too.
OSU 42 ASU 41
5:00pm PT, Fox
Line: Utah -21.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Utah 93%
Beta_Rank Line: Utah -22.24 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: The under the radar story for this game is UCLA's defense, which while not objectively good, has snuck up to #58. The Bruins are stout up the middle against the run with a #30/#92 run/pass split. The trouble is that the Utes are likely to attack the bruins on the edges and through the air as much as they slam it up the middle with Moss. The Utes come in at #15 with an #18/#44 run/pass split. Some UCLA fans are taking this that they can stop the run and force Huntley to beat them and I have to tell you; that will happen. Ludwig is a smart playcaller and he'll adjust to what works against the Bruins. The other side of the ball is likely to be tough. The Bruins come in at #57 with a #51/#60 run/pass split. For all the talk of Thompson-Robinson and Co. putting it together they have not faced a defense anywhere near as talented and well coached as this Utah unit. The Bruins SOS for the defense's they have faced is #85. The Utes are #7 and have #7/#13 run/pass split. They are #1 in Explosive Drives. UCLA is going to have to be able to execute when the Utes take away what they want to do. I don't think it goes that way.
Utah 41 UCLA 13
7:30pm PT, ESPN
Line: Oregon -27.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Oregon 99%
Beta_Rank Line: Oregon -28.24 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: This is not going to be a good game, I'll be at it, but there are some intriguing subplots; mostly on the Arizona side. Arizona's offense is decent, sitting at #40, but who starts at QB and gets most of the snaps? If sanity prevails it will be Gunnell; who is just playing better than Tate and is the QB of the future in need of snaps. It's tough to just turn your back on Tate though; who retains a small chunk of fan support. The Wildcats will also likely be starting true freshman Jordan Morgan on the OL to develop him further. They have a #65/#23 run/pass split. If Gunnell mostly plays they'll have a shot at the #27 Ducks biggest weakness, Drive Efficiency, where they rank #104. You don't want Tate back there waiting for big plays against a unit ranked #12 on Explosive Drives. The Ducks have a #40/#25 run pass split on defense. The other side of the ball could be wildly ugly if Chuck Cecil hasn't been able to clean things up over the bye week. The Ducks are #8 on offense with a #36/#16 run/pass split. Arizona is #102 with a #110/#83 split. The Wildcats have to be better than their last two outings to keep Oregon from winning by 40. The Ducks also have a huge special teams advantage in this game #24 vs. #118. I like the Ducks by a lot.
Oregon 52 Arizona 20
8:00pm PT, FS1
Line: USC -6.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: USC 66%
Beta_Rank Line: USC -3.2 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: Chase Garbers could be back baby! I think the line here is just high even with the Garbers news. Now Garbers could be rusty, but the matchup that you should be worried about is on the other side of the ball if you are a USC fan. Cal's excellent secondary gets USC after handling WSU the week before. The Pac-12 schedule has done the Trojans and Cougs no favors a few times this season have having them back to back for teams. The teams are usually even better against the Air Raid the following week. USC's offense comes in at #31 with a #104/#9 run/pass split. The Bears come in at #20 with a #65/#8 split. It's going to be a big challenge for Slovis and these USC WR's. The other side of the ball is a question. The Bears come in at #101 and they looked good against a bad WSU defense last week with Modster at the helm, but Garbers might open things up again. They have a #62/#84 run/pass split. The Trojans are at #45 with a #59/#43 split. The Trojans are #77 on special teams and a lot of that positive is from the placekicking game. Field position could be a big decided on how the Bears do offensively here and I think they make it closer than Vegas.
USC 20 Cal 17