Pac-12 Week 8 Picks
Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Season to date (31-16) Straight Up (29-16)* Against the Spread
Thursday October, 17th
6:00pm PT, ESPN
Line: Stanford -4.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Stanford 79%
Beta_Rank Line: Stanford -10.36 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: I am not sure who is going to be playing QB for the Cardinal, but I am even less sure where the faith in a very bad UCLA defense and middling offense comes from. Stanford has surprised in it's last two games against Oregon and Washington; in particular the defense backfield has been a little better and the pass rush and run defense looks far more effective. Meanwhile the Bruins were even worse on offense in their last outing than they have been over the rest of the season. Both teams are coming off byes so they should have a chance to get healthy, but with everything the Cardinal has going for them, including special teams, I like the Cardinal.
Stanford 34 UCLA 23
Saturday October, 19th
11:30pm PT, Pac-12 Network
Line: Cal -10.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Cal 86%
Beta_Rank Line: Cal -15.41 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: So the model might not have quite caught up with the Bears offensive struggles with Garbers out, but Oregon State's defense is usually the cure for what ails any offense. The Beavers offense could be trouble for the Bears, who have struggled mightily stopping the run this season compared to last season. I do like the Bears with some extra time to prepare and put pressure on the Beavers offense. At home they should be able to put up enough points to cover.
Cal 34 Oregon State 20
12:30pm PT, ABC
Line: Oregon -3.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Oregon 82%
Beta_Rank Line: Oregon -7.26 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: The only consistent unit we have seen all season for this game is the Ducks defense; which has been nothing short of excellent. The Ducks offense has been pretty middling and some of that is self inflicted. Despite grading out at #27 in Effective Pass and #61 in Effective Rush the Ducks seem far more committed to running the football. Washington grades out at #20 on defense, which is pretty good, but they do have a little split grading out at #33/#16 Run/Pass. When Oregon's offense works it mostly works with big plays as they grade out at #26 in Explosive Drives. They'll need to put up big plays and take advantage of field position.
The other side of the football is interesting. The Ducks grade out at #1 in Beta_Rank on defense and get the #34 Washington offense. The Ducks have a #10/#2 run/pass split, so if you consider #10 an advantage there is that. The Huskies are #41/#34 in their split, but I think they have some optimism that Nacua could provide a spark in the passing game. The Ducks have given up some long drives, grading out at #54 on Drive Efficiency, but they make up for it everywhere else with a grade no lower than #4 on the other three factors of Beta_Rank. The Huskies have been more explosive than efficient so the Ducks are going to be a stiff challenge.
Oregon 21 Washington 16
3:00pm PT, Pac-12 Network
Line: Utah -14.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Utah 82%
Beta_Rank Line: Utah -12.36 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: Vegas likes the Utes in this game, I like the Utes in this game, Beta_Rank likes the Utes in this game, but not quite by two touchdowns. The Utes seem to have been awakened from their early season slumber by their loss to USC and they have waxed two straight opponents. The defense has really rebounded and now grades out at #7 and #1/#25 in their run/pass split. They make their money preventing Explosive Drives; grading out at #3 there. The Sun Devils are still figuring out the run, #72/#24 in their run/pass, and they have put up points through big plays in the passing game. If they can keep Daniels upright to get the ball to the talented WR corp then they could hang in the game.
The Utes offense is a big improvement on previous seasons. Ludwig has found ways to generate big plays on the ground by incorporating more players beyond just the RB's and getting really dangerous runs going outside of the tackles. The Utes are #16 in Effective Rush and #44 in Effective Pass, The Sun Devils have a pretty good defense at #30 and they are better at stopping the run than the pass with a #28/#44 split. This will be a bit of a step up for the Utes from their previous opponents where they feasted on WSU and Oregon State's awful defenses.
Utah 31 ASU 20
4:00pm PT, ESPNU
Line: Washington State -12.5
Beta_Rank Win Prob: Washington State 72%
Beta_Rank Line: Washington State -8.74 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: Do you love gunslinging QB's against terrible terrible defenses? Then I have something for you. Washington State's #3 Effective Pass offense against Colorado's defense that grades out at #122 against the pass. Colorado's #17 Effective Pass offense aggainst the Cougar defense that grades out at #124 against the pass. I think the line on this is a little high with some overreaction to Colorado getting the brakes beat off them in Eugene.
Washington State 48 Colorado 41
6:30pm PT, Pac-12
Line: USC -10.0
Beta_Rank Win Prob: USC 82%
Beta_Rank Line: USC -11.86 (DO NOT GAMBLE)
Rob: USC's defense is banged up and that gives me pause in this game. The Trojans grade out at #40 overall and get an Arizona unit that only grades out at #52 and is shuffling a bit behind a line that hasn't gelled. The Trojans have a #60/#31 run/pass split vs. #56/#43 for Arizona. If JJ Taylor can go for Arizona they might have an advantage here that the model isn't catching with him playing somewhat sparingly of late. USC's #19 offense versus Arizona's #53 defense is the real driver here though. The Trojans have a #69/#7 run/pass split and that goes against an Arizona #48/#59 split. Arizona has virtually no pass rush and that could spell trouble with USC's talented receivers. If Slovis has all the time in the world then this could turn sour on Arizona as field position dooms their offense.
USC 31 Arizona 20