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September 22, 2017

There is one pick today. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see our early Saturday releases.
 

Take Utah -3.5 spread against Arizona risking 3% of the bankroll.

The new-look Utah Utes don’t seem to be getting a whole lot of respect from the oddsmakers as they hit the road to take on the Arizona Wildcats. Part of that could be due to the fact that the Utah offense has once again been re-tooled with the hiring of offensive coordinator Troy Taylor from Eastern Washington. Taylor is the eighth offensive coordinator in the 9 years that Kyle Whittingham has been at the helm. While there was some skepticism about the hiring of Taylor, through the first three games of the season, it looks like Utah may have found their guy due to the play of QB Tyler Huntley.

Huntley has been impressive and extremely efficient running the offense as he is 80 of 111 passing for 868 yards with a 5:2 TD / INT ratio. Huntley is also the team’s leading rusher with 212 yards on 51 carries this season. Zack Moss is a strong feature back with 4.4 yards per carry on his 44 tries. Oregon transfer Darren Carrington has given Utah a pass-catching element that they haven’t had in at least the last decade. The Utes have racked up 6.1 yards per play, with a good balance on the ground and through the air. Utah hasn’t averaged six yards per play since the 2010 season, so this is somewhat unfamiliar territory for those who haven't followed this Utah program and a reason why the market has failed to adjust on the Utes as of this moment.

Another reason Utah is only a short favorite is that the Arizona Wildcats have been extremely impressive offensively this season. Arizona is a team that has relied on the run and have been shredding teams on the ground to the tune of 6.5 yards per carry and have 13 rushing TDs on the season. The issue that we have with Arizona and their offense, however, is the fact that they have been rolling up these big numbers against sub-par competition (Northern Arizona and UTEP). This will be a huge step up in competition against a Utah defense that currently ranks 12th in the country and are holding opponents to just 1.6 yards per carry on the season. The Utes defense thrives on producing negative plays and are extremely opportunistic as they already have 9 takeaways on the season. On the other side, Arizona is a team that has struggled defensively over the years and this season is no different. Despite their weak schedule, the Wildcats have still allowed 5.4 yards per play and have gotten beaten badly through the air. Utah's new up-tempo offense should be able to confuse the Arizona defense and keep them on their heels all game long.

Arizona has owned the recent series meetings having won 4 out of the last 5. The Utes beat them a season ago and again this year we believe that, statistically, this is a bad matchup for the Wildcats. Utah should be able to prove some of their doubters wrong in this contest and even though playing on the road in Tucson is a tall order, the Utes should be up to the task and win this one by a touchdown.




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