Oregon poised to trounce Tennessee in Eugene
Published on Friday, 9/13/13, at 11:42 a.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
After hooking up its betting supporters for the ninth straight time as a road favorite in last week’s 59-10 win at Virginia, Oregon returns home Saturday to take on Tennessee at 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
As of early Friday, most books had the Ducks installed as 28-point favorites with the total as low as 71 and as high as 72.5. The line on Oregon opened at 24.5 but has steadily climbed throughout the week.
Gamblers can take the Volunteers on the money line for a +1610 payout at CRIS (risk $100 to win $1,610). For first-half wagers, Oregon is favored by 16 or 17 with a total of 37.
These schools met at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville during Week 2 of the 2010 campaign. On that night, Oregon rolled to a 48-13 win as an 11.5-point road ‘chalk.’ The 61 combined points jumped ‘over’ the 52.5-point total.
Mark Helfrich’s team has looked dynamite to date, cruising to a 2-0 record both straight up and against the spread, including a 66-3 win over Nicholls St. as a 59-point home ‘chalk’ in the season opener. The ‘over’ has cashed in both contests and is 8-3 for the Ducks in their last 11 games going back to last year.
Marcus Mariota has produced 433 passing yards and 235 rushing yards. The sophomore quarterback has three touchdown passes without an interception and has also rushed for three scores. De’Anthony Thomas has rushed for 252 yards and five TDs while averaging 8.7 yards per carry.
The Butch Jones Era is off to a solid start following wins over Austin Peay (45-0) and Western Kentucky (52-20). Tennessee dealt out woodshed treatment to the Hilltoppers as a 13-point home favorite.
Jones has a pair of talented running backs that he’d like to utilize to keep Oregon’s high-octane offense off of the field. Senior Rajion Neal has rushed for 215 yards and four TDs while averaging 6.9 YPC through two games. Also, junior Marlin Lane has 135 rushing yards and three TDs on just 22 totes.
Junior QB Justin Worley has completed 22-of-32 passes (68.8%) for 246 yards with a 4/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
UT’s defense produced five turnovers in a six-play stretch during the first half of last week’s win over Western Ky. Brian Randolph had a pair of interceptions against the Hilltoppers, while Justin Coleman and Cameron Sutton both had interception returns for TDs.
A Yahoo! report earlier this week named UT starting senior DT Mo Couch as one of five SEC players to receive extra benefits from agents. While the school investigates this matter, Couch has been ruled ineligible. He didn’t travel with the Vols to Eugene.
Also, starting cornerback Riyahd Jones is ‘doubtful’ for the Vols with a calf injury, while WR Alton ‘Pig’ Howard is ‘questionable’ with a sprained ankle. For Oregon, WR Josh Huff has been upgraded to ‘probable’ and will start despite a leg injury.
Since 2005, Oregon owns a 30-16-2 spread record in 48 games as a home favorite. Meanwhile, Tennessee is 2-5 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog.
Although Tennessee is off to a nice start under Butch Jones, it doesn’t have the horses to keep pace with a stacked Oregon squad. On the surface, this might appear to be a huge number but the Ducks routinely cash tickets when heavily favored like this. I don’t expect the Vols to be able to produce turnovers against Oregon like it did last week against Sun Belt competition. With explosive plays coming from its offense, the Ducks will get ahead of the number late in the third quarter and win by a 52-16 score.
Click here to check out my seven picks for Saturday after I cashed a winner with Texas Tech on Thursday in its outright win over TCU as a three-point home underdog.