College Basketball Betting – Utah Meets (16) Oregon in Eugene
Sascha P.No comments
Not many “experts” gave the no. 16 Oregon Ducks (19-4, 8-2 Pac-12) much of a chance to take the Pac-12 title this season. Pegged as the fourth or fifth best team in the conference at the start of the year, the Ducks have surged to the top of the conference thanks to a five-game win streak. They’ll look to make it six today when the Utah Utes (17-6, 6-4 Pac-12) visit Matthew Knight Arena (1:00 PM Eastern).
The Ducks are dominant in any particular area of the game, but have excellent depth with four guys averaging over 25 minutes and 12 points per game. Sophomore forward Dillon Brooks has made nice strides in his second year, upping his average from 11 to 16 PPG. Though just 6’6, the Canadian hits the glass hard, too, pulling down six boards per game. He’s joined in the post by fellow countryman Chris Boucher (12.6 PPG, 8.0 RPG) to make up one of the conference’s best front-courts.
Brooks and Boucher have had the Oregon offense rolling lately. The team has put up 80-plus points in five of the last six, including a massive 83-75 road win at then-no. 18 Arizona last week.
Brooks had 24 points in the win to lead the team. He also torched the Utes for 21 points and eight boards when Oregon beat Utah in Salt Lake City earlier this season (77-59).
Boucher will have to be on his game at the defensive end today. Utah isn’t a deep team, but they do boast soon-to-be lottery pick Jakob Poeltl upfront. The seven-foot Austrian has become an absolute force in the post, averaging over 17 points and nearly nine rebounds per game.
That said, he was basically shut-down in the first matchup with the Ducks, scoring just nine points on one of four shooting in 25 minutes of action.
Fellow forward Kyle Kuzma has also made nice strides in his second year, averaging just over 11 per game (up from three as a freshman). But Utah’s guard play and outside shooting leaves a little to be desired. The team averages just 15 assists per game and shoots 35-percent from beyond the arc. Neither number is disastrous, but it’s not good enough to keep up in a surging Pac-12.
Utah comes into today’s game on the heels of a narrow 71-69 loss at Oregon State. They had been rolling before that, winning five straight. Up one point with 2.2 on the clock, they looked poised to make it six against the Beavers. But a last-second foul on an Oregon State desperation half-court shot led to a heartbreaking setback.
Poeltl did all he could for the team in a losing effort, putting up 20 points and nine boards, while Kuzma added 17 and five.
Both teams are playing pretty strong ball at the moment, but the Ducks should come in with confidence given that they already downed the Utes in Utah.
Oregon has been a great bet this year, which is understandable given the preseason projections. They’re 13-7 ATS overall and 8-3 against the number at home. Utah has not. They’re just 9-11-1 ATS. But they’re a game over .500 on the road (5-4 ATS).
The Ducks covered as six-point road dogs at Utah in their first matchup. They’re laying points today, but have proven they have what it takes to contain Poeltl. Take Oregon to win and cover again.