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Oregon Ducks Odds - Offense won't be enough for Ducks

Posted by Blake Frazier on 4/18/2012 12:26:33 PM
College footballThis year’s Oregon Ducks odds have the Pac-10 team in a familiar position: chasing USC. With a new (but old) coach on board and 10 returning starters, the Ducks will be fun to watch, but they will fall agonizingly short of a Rose Bowl bid - although NCAA football betting odds say they should reach a bowl game for the fifth straight year.

Oregon Ducks Odds – High-flying Ducks need defense to step up

  • Main weapons back from No.2 rushing attack
  • Holes on defense could leave the Ducks wet
  • Halloween matchup with USC will be game of the year

Five starters are back from the seventh-ranked offense in the NCAA, led by quarterback Jeremiah Masoli and back LeGarrette Blount, who will make up for the graduated Jeremiah Johnson. Masoli was accurate enough when he had to pass, but four of his five top receivers from 2008 are gone, and there are only two returning starters up front, which puts more pressure on the running game to get it done. New coach Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator of a Ducks’ offense that has led the Pac-10 in offense for the last two seasons, so he’s familiar with the players, which is a boost to Oregon’s offshore sportsbook odds.

The defense also has five starters back, but last year’s group was 82nd in the nation, including a miserable 111th in pass defense. That type of performance isn’t going to fly in a conference with USC, Oregon State and Arizona. Linebackers Spencer Paysinger and Casey Matthews (of the famed Matthews football family) will be the keys, while Will Tukuafu will step into the void left by the graduation of Nick Reed and his 13 sacks. Three of the four secondary starters are back, including safety T.J. Ward, who led the team in tackles.

The Ducks don’t have an easy start to the year, as they head to Boise State in the first week, followed by home games against another BCS buster, Utah, and California. The Halloween home game against USC will decide Oregon’s fate in the Pac-10 race, and the Ducks have lost four of their last five against the Trojans by an average of 25.5 points, including last year’s 44-10 mauling at USC. The Ducks then end the season at Arizona before hosting the 113th edition of the “Civil War” against Oregon State, who will be out for revenge after the Ducks embarrassed them 65-38 at Oregon State. The football betting lines for the posted total of this game will be off the charts: the last seven meetings have gone over the total.

The Ducks are rated at +300, along with California, to win the Pac-10, and they’re a +3000 longshot to take the BCS crown for their first national title. Oregon’s offense should be fine with Kelly still calling the plays and Masoli under center, and they never threw all that much to begin with, so the lack of receivers should be a problem. If Oregon has any issues, it’s on defense, especially in the secondary, which was awful even with a second-round NFL pick (Jairus Byrd) at corner. The onus will be on the secondary to prove they can at least contain the other high-flying teams of the Pac-10, and we’ll find this out by the time Oregon hosts California on September 26th. The Ducks will have a solid season and reach another bowl game, but I wouldn’t make them a sports betting pick in the Pac-10.

For more NCAA football picks and tips ahead of the season opener on September 3rd, bookmark Blake’s column in the Betting Edge at

Blake walked onto his college football team and had a brief stint as an assistant coach after he graduated. He brings a sharp mind to the world of sports handicapping. Blake understands the nuances of the game that only someone who has played would understand. Thoughts or questions?



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