The Oregon Ducks had a very large lead over the Oregon State Beavers in their annual rivalry game last November. Oregon State did not have a very good passing game in the 2022 season, so Oregon had to feel extremely confident that it could preserve its cushion and advance to the Pac-12 Championship Game to face USC. However, Oregon’s defense then imploded, allowing 28 quick points to Oregon State even though the Beavers did not complete a forward pass in the process of making their comeback. Losing a rivalry game is painful enough, but Oregon’s loss to its in-state neighbor cost the Ducks a chance at a conference championship and a New Year’s Six bowl game.
Oregon will carry the memory of that stinging defeat into this season. They know their defense has to be markedly better if it is going to achieve their goals. Let’s take a closer look at the Ducks and their best bets for 2023.
Oregon Ducks 2023 Futures
Odds To Win Pac-12: +320 at BetOnline Sportsbook
Odds To Win National Championship: +4000 at BetOnline Sportsbook
Best Bet To Win Heisman
Bo Nix is priced at +1800 to win the Heisman Trophy. The former Auburn quarterback transferred to Oregon last season and performed brilliantly. Nix struggled at Auburn but clearly benefited from a change of scenery. Whether it was the talent which surrounded him at Oregon, or the fact that he escaped the SEC, or received uniquely good coaching in Eugene, Nix did have a better set of circumstances in 2022 than in his previous years at Auburn.
One thing which worked in Nix’s favor, however, is that in 2022, he worked with Oregon offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, who was an Auburn assistant when Nix played for the Tigers a few years prior. The continuity of that relationship was important in giving Nix stability and comfort within the Oregon offensive system. Now that Dillingham has moved to Arizona State to become the new head coach of the Sun Devils, Nix won’t have Dillingham in his corner. That could slightly affect him and his evolution in 2023, but Nix did so many good things for Oregon last season that it’s hard to think he won’t be really good this season.
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning should be able to make sure Nix doesn’t suffer a significant drop-off from his 2022 levels of production. If Nix can moderately exceed his 2022 stat line and can get the Ducks to the Pac-12 Championship Game, he will get a look as a Heisman finalist. If he wins the Pac-12 title, he will probably be a Heisman finalist. And if he wins the Pac-12 and leads Oregon to the College Football Playoff, he could win the Heisman outright.
Pick: Bo Nix
Best Player Prop To Bet
Gary Bryant Receiving Yards
Gary Bryant is a receiver who played at USC last season but had a hard time getting on the field for extended snaps, given how many talented performers the Trojans had in their wide receiver room. Jordan Addison, Mario Williams, Tahj Washington, Brenden Rice, and others were all making significant contributions to the Trojans. Bryant could do the math and see that he simply wasn’t going to get extended playing time at USC. He transferred to Oregon and should get many more opportunities to shine with the Ducks.
Oregon receiver Troy Franklin is the star of the Oregon wide receiver room. He should be in for a big year. However, defenses are going to devote so much attention to Franklin that someone else will need to step up at the other wide receiver slot. Bryant could be the guy who fills the void and becomes the unexpected breakout player for the Ducks. If you see a receiving yards proposition for Bryant, the number probably won’t be that high, given the other competition he will face from Oregon’s other wide receivers. Bryant could offer surprisingly good odds. If you do see a receiving yards number, lean to the over with Gary Bryant.
Pick: Gary Bryant over receiving yards
Regular Season Win Total
Oregon has to visit the Washington Huskies and Utah Utes this season. Those will be very difficult assignments. Oregon lost at home to Washington last season and barely beat Utah at home in 2022. With the Ducks having to visit those two opponents in 2023, the odds of winning both of those games will be low. The odds of splitting those games will be less than great. The odds of losing both games will be higher than just a fringe chance. There’s a serious possibility the Ducks could drop both contests.
Let’s assume Oregon does fail those two road tests this year. The Ducks would then have to win all 10 of their other games in order to go over the 9.5 win total. That will be a heavy lift. However, it’s possible – more possible than a lot of experts might first think.
Examining The Schedule
The Ducks should be able to handle a road trip to Texas Tech early in the season. Texas Tech has talent but might not be ready to deal with Oregon’s offense in September. Texas Tech is probably hurt by not having the ability to play several games and establish continuity before facing Oregon.
Oregon hosts Oregon State. The game is going to be close, but Oregon gets it at home this year, and the Ducks will be eager to gain revenge on the Beavers after their capitulation in 2022. Oregon should win that game.
The other game we have to talk about is Oregon versus USC in Eugene on November 11. Oregon gets the game at home, but USC is predicted by most as the likely favorite in the Pac-12. The Trojans do have the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams. They have Lincoln Riley calling offensive plays, have a strong offensive line and a deep running back group with top-class wide receivers and they are going to be a load to handle, so it’s logical to pick USC over Oregon. However, USC plays games on nine consecutive weekends this season without a week off. The Trojans are going to be exhausted when they go to Oregon. USC will not be in position to play its best game. Oregon will beat the Trojans, giving the Ducks the crucial win they need to go over the 9.5 total.