Liberty vs Oregon Prediction: Fiesta Bowl Odds and Picks

If you want low-scoring, defense-first football, this bowl game is not for you. Liberty vs Oregon features two teams with high-octane offense and our college football betting picks expect the Ducks to keep racking up the points on Monday.

Jan 1, 2024 • 11:17 ET • 4 min read
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Let’s gear up for the Fiesta Bowl as the undefeated Liberty Flames represent the Group of 5 against the powerful Oregon Ducks. 

Jamey Chadwell turned a lot of heads with a CUSA Championship in Year One with Liberty, and he’ll look to make one more statement as a major underdog. Looking at college football odds, the Ducks are massive 16.5-point favorites while the total resides at 67.5. 

This will be the second-to-last game in the Pac-12’s history and the Ducks will look to end on a high note before their nemesis, the Washington Huskies, player later in the day in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

Both of these offenses have been elite this season, but I have my eyes set on one in particular for my best bet on their team total. Read on for my best bet and full college football picks and predictions for the Fiesta Bowl between the Oregon Ducks and Liberty Flames on Monday, January 1.

For more Fiesta Bowl bets, check out our Liberty vs. Oregon prop picks.

Liberty vs Oregon best odds

Liberty vs Oregon picks and predictions

Jamey Chadwell has done nothing but impress as a head coach at the FBS level. Over his last three seasons as the head coach of Coastal Carolina, Chadwell’s Chanticleers won 31 games while losing just six times. That earned him a promotion as the head coach of the Liberty Flames, and he still hasn’t lost at his new job after racking up a 13-0 record and CUSA Championship in his first year in charge. In all, his teams have won 44 of their last 50 games. 

The Flames earned the Group of 5’s nomination in the New Year’s Six in impressive fashion, running over opponents while scoring 40.8 PPG and allowing just 22.7 PPG. While the schedule certainly wasn’t difficult, they beat everyone put in front of them and did so in a dominant fashion. What more can you expect? They played six times against teams that went to a bowl game (Bowling Green, New Mexico State twice, Jacksonville State, Western Kentucky, Old Dominion) and won all six by double digits. 

Former Mississippi transfer Kaidon Salter took off this season, establishing Chadwell’s reputation as a quarterback whisperer by throwing for 2,750 yards on an outstanding 10.3 yards per attempt while notching 31 touchdowns with just five interceptions. He was also a superb rushing threat, notching 1,064 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. Wake Forest transfer Quinton Cooley joined him as a 1,000-yard rusher with 1,322 yards and 16 scores on the ground. Wideout CJ Daniels narrowly missed the 1,000-yard milestone with 988 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. 

It should come as no surprise, given those numbers, that the Flames have an elite analytical profile on offense. They check in at third overall in both EPA per play and success rate. They’ve been extremely balanced, ranking third in EPA per rush and first in EPA per pass. It’s not often that you see a team ranked in the top three nationally in both facets of offense. 

It’s therefore amazing that the Flames’ Fiest Bowl dance partner, the Oregon Ducks, also earned that illustrious distinction. Led by Heisman finalist Bo Nix (4,145 passing yards and 40 passing touchdowns, 228 rushing yards, and six rushing touchdowns), the Ducks rank second in EPA per rush and third in EPA per pass. 

Dan Lanning impressed in his first season in Eugene with a 10-3 record, and he took things up a notch this year with an 11-2 finish. A 12th victory is expected as Vegas has established the Ducks as a three-score favorite. 

Oregon should be expected to score with ease in this contest. Bo Nix is leading an offense that is likely to be close to full strength minus two opt-outs — leading receiver Troy Franklin and starting center Jackson Powers-Johnson. The Ducks have scored at least 31 points in every game this season and should have little trouble torching a Flames defense that ranks 73rd in success rate and 84th in explosiveness. Bucky Irving and Jordan James (combined 2,277 scrimmage yards and 24 touchdowns) should run wild against a beatable Flames defensive front (95th in EPA per rush, 114th in rushing success rate, 91st in front seven havoc). 

There aren’t as many players in the portal for this game as many other bowls, but the ones that generally happen to be on the defensive side of the ball. The Flames’ highest-graded defender, Preston Hodge (88.2 defensive grade per PFF), is in the portal along with several other rotational players. The Ducks will be shorthanded in the secondary sans corners Khyree Jackson and Trikweze Bridges, so they’ll likely play several true freshmen. Corner Jahlil Florence and edge Jordan Burch will be game-time decisions. Nose tackle Popo Aumavae and safety Bryan Addison are other notable absences. 

I expect there to be a ton of offense, but that’s reflected in such a high total. I’m not sure how Liberty’s offense will translate — it should do fine and move the ball against a depleted Oregon defense, but there’s no way to have a high level of confidence given the poor strength of schedule. Therefore I’ll narrow my sight to the Ducks and take their elite offense to run wild one more time this season. 

My best bet: Oregon team total Over 41.5 (-125 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

Liberty vs Oregon same-game parlay

Oregon team total Over 41.5 points

Liberty Over 3.5 touchdowns

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Here’s a two-leg SGP that is similar to playing the full game Over but results in much better odds. The first leg will be my best bet on Oregon’s team total Over while the second will be Liberty to score more than 3.5 touchdowns at +135 odds. 

Simply put, I like those odds on Liberty and am more willing to pay to find out if the elite offense will translate to this level if I’m being offered plus money. Salter has been superb and is a high-level athlete, Cooley is a Power 5 level back, and the offensive line has elite enough statistics (second in line yards, first in front seven havoc, second in power success rate) that I would be surprising if the Flames are completely overwhelmed. 

It’d be one thing if we had two pretty good offenses squaring off. It’s another when you have arguably the two most impressive offenses in the country going face to face. Both teams are elite on the ground and through the air, so it’s difficult for defenses to load up and stop one thing. Stop the run, you’ll get burned over the top. Don’t send extra bodies in the box, surrender 250 or more rushing yards. 

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Liberty vs Oregon spread and Over/Under analysis

It’s evident when looking at college football odds that there’s some love for both Oregon and the Over in the market. The Ducks have moved from -14 to -16.5 since open while the total has jumped from 64 to 67.5. 

When Oregon’s offense works, it really works. Will Stein’s group hung 81 points on overmatched Portland State, 55 points on futile Hawaii, and 63 points on a defeated Cal. Liberty’s defense hasn’t been tested much this year by fearsome offenses and yet its defensive metrics still leave a little bit to be desired. This isn’t quite the squash match as some of those teams listed at the start of this paragraph, but it also isn’t too far off. 

The handicap then boils down to, in my opinion, whether or not Liberty’s offense will be game-enough to keep things close and make this one a high-scoring thriller. 

Tosh Lupoi’s defense shut down inferior offenses like Hawaii (10 points), Colorado (six points), and Utah (six points). Here’s the thing — Liberty has a much better offense than all three of those teams. 

Salter ranked third nationally in big-time throw rate (8.2% per PFF), one spot behind Heisman winner Jayden Daniels. Cooley posted the eight-best rushing grade (92.2) in the country behind an offensive line that ranks  top-20 in run-blocking. 

My handicap leads me to believe that Liberty will be able to keep pace offensively, which has me siding with the Over and leaning toward taking the points with the underdog if playing a side. 

Liberty vs Oregon betting trend to know

Liberty has hit the full game total Over in six of its last seven games. Find more college football betting trends for Liberty vs. Oregon.

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Liberty vs Oregon game info

Location: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Date: Monday, January 1, 2024
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET

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Liberty vs Oregon weather

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