Some would call Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas spouting off about hanging 40 points on Stanford “bulletin board material”. But if you looked at the Ducks’ offensive output this season, it seems more like a complement to the Stanford defense.
"I feel like, this team, we should at least put up 40,” Thomas said on Oregon's website, throwing gas on the fire of what is already a heated Pac-12 battle between teams ranked No. 3 and No. 5 in the country this Thursday.
A forty-point effort from Oregon would be more than two touchdowns less than its season scoring average (55.6 points per game). Stanford’s defense is giving up just 19.4 points per game but hasn’t faced many teams with the fire power of the Ducks. The Cardinal did limit Arizona State, which ranks sixth in the country in scoring (46.6 points per game), to 28 points in a win over the Sun Devils in Week 4.
Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club suggested a total of 67 points for Thursday’s marquee matchup, which would be Oregon’s second lowest total of the season and shortest number since the Ducks rolled Virginia 59-10 and topped the 60-point total in Week 2. However, most books are opening this over/under around 62 points.
The 62-point total is also Stanford’s highest over/under of the year, with Cardinal bettors sizing up an average total of 51.5 over their eight games. Stanford is 4-4 O/U on the year, and averaging 32.6 points per game.
If Thomas’ prediction is right, and the Ducks score 40 in Palo Alto, the Cardinal would have to do some heavy lifting on the other side of the scoreboard, versus an Oregon defense allowing an average of only 16.9 points, to threaten that 62-point total.
We were in this same spot last week with Missouri, thinking that 11-point spread at home to Tennessee was a touch too thin. And, as it would happen, the Tigers stomped the Volunteers 31-3.
Books are still selling Mizzou short, having posted the Tigers as two-TD chalk in Lexington this Saturday. Kentucky isn’t as bad as past seasons, but the Wildcats have yet to pick up an SEC win and are coming off a cupcake blowout over FCS Alabama State.
Missouri is sticking with Maty Mauk under center this weekend, even though No. 1 QB James Franklin could be ready to play for the first time since suffering a shoulder injury in mid October. That’s not a bad thing considering Mauk passed for three touchdowns and tacked on 114 yards rushing in the win over Tennessee.
Earlier this week, we talked with Nevada-based oddsmaker Peter Korner of The Sports Club about the total for Sunday’s showdown between the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.
Korner’s stable of oddsmakers sent out a suggested total as high as 50, but offshore books opened with the number as low as 41.5. That total has since crept to 42.5 points but still has over/under bettors scratching their heads.
San Francisco and Carolina are solid on defense so far this season, but both are leaning more on their offense to win games in recent outings.
The Niners have topped the total in four of their last five contests, scoring an average of 34.8 points during that stretch – winning all five games SU and ATS. The Panthers are on a winning streak of their own, scoring 32.5 points during its four-game running and topping the total in all but one of those games.
Neither team has played stiff competition during its respected winning streak, so getting a grasp on this over/under could be as hard as getting a grip on Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick.