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Picking the Pac: Dawgs by a Million over Brigham Young East

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A short slate and a guaranteed 2-2 record

ASU v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

2021 Pac-12 Picks

Week ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L Season to date ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L
Week ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L Season to date ATS W ATS L ATS P SU W SU L
0 1 0 1 0 25 24 0 33 16
1 4 8 8 4
2 4 6 6 4
3 7 4 7 4
4 3 3 5 1
5 3 2 3 2
6 3 1 3 1
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Bowls

Friday Game

Stanford (+13) @ Arizona State

With the Cardinal coming off an upset win over then-#3 Oregon, the near two-TD spread came as a bit of a surprise. It would appear that Vegas and the betting public believe that Arizona’s misstep against BYU three weeks ago is firmly in the past. A pair of three-score wins over Colorado and UCLA support that position. Stanford’s defense continues to hemorrhage yards on the ground. Even in the win over Oregn, the Ducks rushed over 228 yards, but the Cardinal didn’t turn the ball over and stopped the Ducks twice on fourth down. Can the same recipe work against the Sun Devils? Stanford has kept its head above water by throwing and running at about an average efficiency and never turning the ball over. ASU has a borderline elite offense that runs to set up the deep pass. On paper, this game looks a lot like Oregon-Stanford. I’m picking against Stanford again, but if they can repeat their high-leverage wins, they could prove me wrong.

ASU 35 – Stanford 21

Saturday games

Oregon State (-3.5) @ Washington State

Oregon State v USC Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

I imagine this line would be much wider if the Cougar defense hadn’t come out of nowhere to stifle Cal’s offensive attack in last week’s 21-6 surprise. Washington saw up close how the Beavers are rolling right now. Even in a game where the passing match-ups favored UW, Oregon State ran the very well to pull out the win. Meanwhile, Jayden de Laura has not tapped into the Run-and-Gun magic that made WSU’s offense click a season ago. We have become so accustomed to a robust Cougar pass game that it’s hard to digest that the team is well below average in passing yards per play. Oregon State should be able to move the ball much more consistently. The hiccup could be turnovers since the Cougar defense forces over two per game. If OSU takes care of the ball, I don’t see WSU’s offense keeping up.

Oregon State 28 – WSU 23

Utah (+3) @ USC

At 2-2 (1-0), the Utes are in a similar position to where UW was a week ago; their resume includes two disappointing losses, but at 1-0 in conference, the season is far from over. Also like UW a week ago, the Utes are a FG underdog. This match-up might turn on Utah’s ability to throw the ball for big yardage against a USC secondary that has been vulnerable at times. Cam Rising has not shown aerial explosiveness since taking over for Charlie Brewer, but he has added another dimension to a dangerous ground game. Rising will have to maximize Utah’s experienced receiving corps this time. On the other side of the ball, it will be interesting to see if USC sticks with the balanced play-calling strategy that worked well against Colorado. The big difference is that Utah is a very good run defense whereas Colorado is poor. Utah has struggled on the road this year, though USC has been no great shakes in the Coliseum. Betting on Utah is expecting Rising to do something he hasn’t done yet. Either way, I see this as a very tight match-up.

Utah 28 – USC 27

UCLA (-16) @ Arizona

ASU v UCLA Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Bruins are a fairly straightforward team to handicap- they have a very good offense in which Zach Charbonnet’s running opens up deep passes to the outside, but their defense is vulnerable, especially against the pass. So far this year, Arizona has been good at pretty much nothing. Teams have generally run against them much more than they’ve passed, but that has mostly been due to a combination of the teams they’ve played and the fact that they’ve been behind most of the time. I hate to pick a three-score road favorite in a conference game, but it’s hard to see Gunnar Cruz exploiting UCLA’s pass defense enough to keep the game close. It’s just a little too easy to see the script playing out in which UCLA wears down the defense and dominates the second half.

UCLA 41 – Arizona 21