This Friday the Utah Utes (3-2) will host the Arizona Wildcats (3-3) in a Pac-12 South showdown under the lights. Kickoff is set for 10:00 EST at Rice-Eccles Stadium and will be televised on ESPN.
Oddsmakers opened this thing up with the Utes as a 14-point home favorite, but that number has come down a little, as Utah is currently at -13.5. The total for this matchup is 52.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 7 odds, plus more links to our game previews.
Utah vs Arizona Vegas Game Predictions & Betting Preview
The Wildcats come into this one off a 24-17 home win over Cal as a 1.5-point underdog. Arizona jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but the Golden Bears led 14-10 at the half. The difference in the game was the Wildcats defense being able to force 4 Cal turnovers, including two 2nd half interceptions that they returned for touchdowns.
Utah went on the road and upset Stanford 40-21 as a 4-point underdog. It was a much needed win for the Utes, who had lost their previous two games. The cover was the first for Utah since Week 1, as they had dropped 3 straight against the spread. Utah’s defense forced 4 Cardinal turnovers, including a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown that really swung the momentum in the Utes favor early.
Utah won and covered in last year’s meeting at Arizona, defeating the Wildcats 30-24 as a 4.5-point favorite. The Utes also won and covered the last time they hosted the Wildcats, as they won 36-23 as a 9.5-point home favorite.
Free NCAAF Pick Against the Betting Spread: Utah -13.5
I would have to lean towards laying the points with the Utes at home. I think a lot of people are going to be tempted to take Arizona at this price, as they have are coming off that big upset of Cal at home and the week before lost by just 4 at home to USC. The thing is, those are two very misleading results.
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Let’s start with the game against the Trojans. The final score makes it appear like Arizona was competitive, but in reality USC just let their foot off the gas. The Trojans were in complete control with a 24-0 lead in the 2nd half and outgained the Wildcats 450 to 330. As for the Cal game, the Golden Bears gave that game away. Cal had a 476 to 265 edge in total yards, but turned it over 4 times, leading to 17 of Arizona’s 24 points, with 14 points coming via interception returns for touchdowns.
This is why it’s so important to check the box scores and not just look at the final score. I’m willing to take my chances here that Arizona isn’t as fortunate against the Utes. Utah is a team that I think is well deserving of being this big of a favorite. Their only two losses are a 21-7 defeat at home to Washington and a 24-28 loss at Washington State, where the Cougars only score in the 2nd half was a 89-yard TD strike late to give them the lead.
Having already lost two conference games, there’s no room for for Utah if they want a chance to win the Pac-12 South, so there will be no looking past the Wildcats. On top of that, Rice-Eccles Stadium is one of the more difficult places for opposing teams to play, especially when it’s a prime time game.
I also love the matchup for Utah. Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate is a much bigger threat running than he is passing and teams have really figured him out this season. For the Wildcats offense to be successful, they need to be able to run the football. That’s where this becomes a problem for Arizona, as Utah comes in ranked 3rd in the country against the run, giving up just 75.4 ypg. They are holding teams to just 2.4 yards/carry and if they can take away the run, Tate is going to make mistakes in the passing game.
I also think this Utah offense is a lot better than people realize, as their offensive numbers are a bit skewed with all the strong defenses they have played. Arizona is 106th in the nation against the run (197.3 ypg) and 76th against the pass (231 ypg).
This Wildcats team is also not one you want anything to do with on the road. Arizona is a mere 3-13 ATS in their last 16 road games and 1-9 ATS in their last 10 on the road after the first month of the season. They are also just 2-8ATS in their last 10 after covering the spread in their previous game and 5-14 ATS in their last 19 as an underdog. Give me the Utes -13.5.