MoQ PICK$ for Week 11 // @jdamis and @JonathanAdams
JA: First of all, congratulations on a terrific 5-1 week 10. I was 3-3 and the two games we disagreed on (OSU-Stanford and UCLA-Colorado) were clunkers made exciting because backdoor covers were in play down to the wire. Gambling makes things better! Anyway, we begin in the desert with Utah (-5.5) visiting Arizona State. I don’t understand how a team that lost by 19 to Oregon is only getting five-and-a-half vs. a ranked opponent. Two weeks ago we talked about Utah being undervalued a bit, and I think that trend is continuing here. Utah’s defense is by far the best unit on the field, and even though their offense can struggle at times, I just can’t see how they win this one by less than a touchdown. I’ll lay the points and take the Utes.
JD: This is a really weird line to me. 5.5 is a weird number. 5.5 also feels low. Given Arizona State’s injuries, I would think Utah would be more like a 9.5-point favorite. Since joining the Pac-12, Utah is only 1-4 against Arizona State, getting their first win against ASU last year. Taking Utah here feels way too easy. ASU is 4-1 at home this season, and 4-0 ATS, so I think I’ll take the home dog in this match-up.
JA: USC just switched the difficulty setting on Madden from “All-Pro” to “All-Madden”. After feasting on Arizona, Cal, and Oregon (sad face) the Trojans will be facing a team that is by far the best all-around squad in the Pac-12. On the road. At night. Yikes. I think the Huskies jump on them early and cruise to a 17+ point victory.
The worst game of the week is at the Rose Bowl, where 3-6 UCLA (-10) hosts 2-7 Oregon State. Both teams are riding four game losing streaks, but Oregon State has covered the spread in all four losses. I’m taking the Beavs here because they are 6-2-1 against the spread, while the Bruins are 1-7-1. Also, I don’t see any signs that OSU has stopped competing. They might be bad, but the effort is there, and I suspect UCLA will be severely lacking in motivation on Saturday night.
JD: This game is a tricky one, because it’s hard to imagine UCLA being two scores better than anyone in the conference right now. In its last home game against Utah, UCLA was able to score 45 points. Going further back, UCLA also put up 45 against Arizona. Oregon State’s defense is very similar to Utah’s, both giving up 5.8 Yards/Play, so I think UCLA will be able to score if they’re motivated to do so. Meanwhile, Oregon State will be playing a pretty solid defense that has held teams to 4.8 Yards/Play. Seeing how much Oregon State has struggled to score against even mediocre defenses like Stanford’s and Utah’s, I think UCLA might win this one something like 38-14, so I’m taking UCLA to cover the -10 at home.
JA: Colorado is 7-0-2 against the spread this season, while Arizona is 1-8. Over the last five games the Buffs have given up just 63 total points, while Arizona has scored 20+ points only twice during that span, and given up 30+ in all five games. Colorado’s offense has struggled a bit against good defenses, but Arizona is most definitely not a good defense. I think the Buffs get back on track offensively and score enough points to get the cover in this one, something like 34-16.
The late night show in the Pac-12 is up in Pullman, where WSU (-16.5) hosts fellow Air Raid practitioner Cal. The Cougs have a pretty solid defense, and they face the best version of Cal’s offense every day in practice. The Bears, meanwhile, continue to be terrible on defense, while Wazzu’s offense is humming right along. Cal is winless on the road, including losses to San Diego State, Oregon State, and Arizona State. In fact, they’ve allowed 40+ points in all four of their road games. With a win vs. Cal, WSU would be 7-0 in conference play for the first time ever and would have a single-season eight game winning streak for the first time since 1930 — in other words, the perfect time to Coug it. But 2016 is a bizarro year, so I’m taking WSU and I expect this one to be a blowout.
JD: I actually think the Cougs have a secretly bad passing defense (tied with Cal at 7.6 Yards/Attempt), and Cal will be able to put up some points. This should be a fun game, and I’m predicting a WSU win, but something more like the Cal/ASU game around 51-41. Taking the Golden Bears on the road here +16.5.
JA: Josh, thank you for reminding me that Baylor got curb stomped. It really is diamond amidst the turd that is this past week. Oklahoma gives up 31 points per game and almost 300 yards passing per game, so Baylor should be able to score enough to cover the spread. I’ll join you in taking OU to win but not cover.
Agree: Washington (-10) vs. USC; Baylor (+15.5) at Oklahoma; A dumpster full of old tires, used diapers, and roadkill skunks that is also on fire (-1) vs. Donald Trump.
Disagree: Damis takes ASU (+5.5) vs. Utah; UCLA (-10) vs. OSU; Arizona (+16.5) vs. Colorado; Cal (+16.5) at WSU.