The Arizona Wildcats will look to beat the Oregon Ducks for the third straight time when they play in the Pac-12 Championship Game on Friday at Levi’s Stadium, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
The North Division champion Ducks were stunned by the South Division champion Wildcats 31-24 on October 2 in Eugene as 21.5-point home favorites and have not lost since, winning their past seven games both straight up and against the spread.
Point spread: The Ducks opened as 14-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
College football pick, via Odds Shark computer: 43.4-28.6 Ducks
Why the Arizona Wildcats can cover the spread
Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez seems to have created the secret formula needed to defeat Oregon. Whether he ends up parlaying that success into a better job opportunity after the season, such as the opening with the Florida Gators, remains to be seen, but he can at least help end the national championship dreams of the Ducks with one more win here.
In the meeting earlier this season, the Wildcats were able to run the ball effectively with 208 yards on 55 carries and three rushing touchdowns against Oregon, controlling the clock and keeping the opposition’s offense off the field. If they can do that again, there’s no reason to believe they can’t make it three wins in a row.
Why the Oregon Ducks can cover the spread
The Ducks have much more on the line here than Arizona does, as a berth in the first-ever College Football Playoff field is within reach with a victory. They figure to finish among the top four teams in the country if they can avenge their lone loss of the season and win the Pac-12 title.
Oregon has proved itself more than any other team since suffering that setback at home against the Wildcats, rewarding backers who have continued to believe in them down the stretch.
Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota has all but locked up the Heisman Trophy, based on the latest odds, and he can put the finishing touches on his campaign by winning a conference championship.
They have won seven in a row ATS versus conference foes since last losing against the Wildcats.
Mariota did not play like a Heisman favorite in the last two meetings with Arizona, but he can certainly make up for those past performances with one victory.
He didn’t play poorly in either game, but he rushed for only one yard on nine carries in the loss this year and threw two interceptions in last season’s 42-16 road loss, in which the Ducks were 18.5-point favorites.
Last year was much different, though, as Oregon went 1-4 ATS down the stretch and had already lost on the road to the Stanford Cardinal after starting the season 8-0.
The Ducks are peaking and might just be the team to beat for the national championship this year. They will serve notice in Santa Clara with their eighth straight dominant victory and cover against the number.
Arizona is 4-12 SU in its last 16 games when playing Oregon.
Oregon is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games when playing Arizona.