The college football season arrives at the month of October, which also means the arrival of Week 5. The Pac-12 race is taking on new dimensions. Let’s see which games are at the forefront of the conference’s evolving story this Saturday. (Washington at UCLA is on Friday night. We’re only looking at Saturday games this week.)
Oregon State Beavers at Utah Utes
Odds: Utah -11.5
This is a big game for both teams. Oregon State just lost to USC, while Utah has not yet received a big test in Pac-12 play. The Utes’ only conference game to date was against Arizona State. Pounding the Sun Devils doesn’t really prove anything about how good Utah is. The Utes took care of business swiftly and straightforwardly, but Arizona State is in total disarray, given all the disruptions which have affected that program over the past few weeks. Oregon State should give us a much better understanding of how good Utah is, and how much the Utes have improved and developed since their Week 1 loss to Florida.
The problem for Utah is that tight end Brant Kuithe, who had a great Rose Bowl game versus Ohio State and who is a central piece of the Utes’ offense, is out for the rest of the season with an injury. Not having Kuithe could really matter against an Oregon State defense which limited USC’s Lincoln Riley-coached offense to only 17 points this past weekend.
Oregon State, however, might not have star tight end Luke Musgrave for this contest. He has been out each of the past two weeks with an injury. The Beavers’ offense is still noticeably limited.
Oregon State probably has enough defense to keep this game close, but not enough offense to actually win the game outright. Utah probably wins by a field goal or four points.
Pick: Oregon State +11.5
California Golden Bears at Washington State Cougars
Washington State led Oregon 34-22 with four minutes left in regulation this past weekend, but then allowed 22 points in the final four minutes to lose, 44-41. Washington State now has to get over that loss and refocus against a Cal team which scored 49 points against Arizona.
Cal has been a lot better than expected this season. Jaydn Ott is a freshman running back who has instantly improved the Cal offense. He rushed for 274 yards in the win over Arizona, making a big statement to the Wildcats and the rest of the Pac-12. What probably helps Washington State is that its run defense is a lot better than its pass defense. The Cougars should be able to contain Ott, and if they do, they will force Cal to throw the ball, which the Golden Bears don’t do nearly as well. Washington State should be able to win this game, but the Cougars need to prove they can take care of business against a beatable opponent.
Pick: Washington State -4
Colorado Buffaloes at Arizona Wildcats
Odds: Arizona -17.5
If you are looking for a good betting play, betting against Colorado has been very reliable this year. Colorado has lost each of its 2022 games by 25 or more points. That’s consistency a bettor can depend on. Arizona has a weak defense, but Colorado is not likely to exploit it. Arizona should be able to score at least 42 if not more points. The Wildcats will cover the spread, just as Colorado’s other opponents have all covered the spread this season.