Dan Lanning and the Oregon Ducks made headlines last week when they derailed the hype train that was Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes.
Fast forward to Week 5 and the Ducks will put their perfect record to the test yet again as they head to Palo Alto to face Troy Taylor’s Stanford Cardinal.
Although this one is expected to be squash mash for Oregon judging by the college football odds board, weird things have tended to happen on the Farm for this team in recent history.
That being said, the Ducks are vastly superior on both sides of the ball and are a four-score favorite on the road for a reason. I expand on that in my best bet below and give my college football picks for Oregon vs. Stanford on Saturday.
Oregon vs Stanford best odds
Oregon vs Stanford picks and predictions
There’s a reason the Stanford Cardinal are such a big underdog in this matchup — they should be pretty badly outmatched on both sides of the ball.
The Oregon Ducks are a juggernaut offensively, averaging 54 points per game(second nationally) led by Heisman Trophy odds contender Bo Nix. All the quarterback has done this season is complete 79.4% of his passes for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns to just one interception while chipping in 69 rushing yards and another score on the ground.
The Ducks are simply a wagon offensively, ranking fifth in EPA per play and third in success rate. It’s the second straight year in which they’ve put up elite numbers and they’re well-rounded yet again, possessing the ability to beat you both on the ground and through the air.
The ground game has led the way so far, averaging 232 rushing yards per game on a ludicrous 7.0 yards per rush while ranking first in EPA per rush, seventh in rushing success rate, and fifth in rushing explosiveness. The passing attack is averaging 338.8 yards per game through the air while checking in at ninth in passing success rate.
It’s safe to say that Stanford has a few holes defensively after losing a lot of its two-deep via the transfer portal this past offseason. The Cardinal check in at 121st in EPA per play, 128th in success rate defensively, and have shown a proclivity for getting gashed on the ground for the second straight year, ranking 119th in EPA per rush and 132nd in rushing success rate.
When Stanford has the ball, it’ll still be looking for answers at the quarterback position after rotating Ashton Daniels and Justin Lamson to start the year. The two have combined to complete just 54.7% of their passes while throwing as many touchdowns (three) as interceptions, so it’s safe to say the aerial assault hasn’t been very encouraging regardless of who’s throwing the ball.
Oregon looks like an improved team defensively this season, surrendering just 13.2 ppg while ranking seventh in EPA per play. The secondary has taken a big step up, leading the nation in EPA per pass while Alabama transfer Khyree Jackson has emerged as another huge portal addition at corner a la Christian Gonzalez a season ago.
The Ducks just completely shut down a Colorado offense that had been finding great success before last week's matchup but didn’t find the end zone until garbage time in Week 4 and scored just six points on 199 total yards and 3.4 yards per play in Eugene.
Anyone calling this a letdown spot for the Ducks is probably overrating Colorado and underrating just how much of a cakewalk that was for Lanning’s team. The Ducks have a bye week before facing Washington on the road in Week 7, so I wouldn’t qualify this as a look-ahead spot either with an off week on deck.
There was a lot of media attention last week, sure, and that won’t be the case this week. Still, if anything, the added attention resulted in the Ducks notching a blowout victory in the most-watched game in program history, so expect them to be brimming with confidence entering Week 5.
Stanford is one of the worst Power Five teams in the country and won’t keep many games close as it did in last week’s single-point loss to Arizona. The Cardinal are 0-2 at home including a loss to an FCS school (Sacramento State) and don’t have much of a home-field advantage anyway.
The Farm has been a weird place for Oregon to play lately — its have lost three of its last five visits, with many of those games turning into weird messes. The Ducks are too talented on both sides of the ball and are too well-coached under Lanning to suffer a huge setback here, however, so I’ll be playing the Ducks against the spread.
My best bet: Oregon -27 (-110 at bet365)
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Oregon vs Stanford same-game parlay
I’ll take my best bet on Oregon against the spread and add a play on the Over to create this two-leg SGP. The total is set at 61.5 in this matchup, which I consider a bit low as Oregon should be expected to score at least 40 points with the opportunity for more.
The last time this Stanford defense faced an elite offense, it surrendered 49 points in the first half against USC. The Cardinal proceeded to allow 6.5 yards per play the next week to Sacramento State, so I think I’m justified in questioning the effectiveness of this unit. The Ducks should find the end zone early and often in a pillow-soft matchup.
For this Over to hit, we’ll likely need Stanford to chip in a few points. The offense looked better last week by averaging 5.4 yards per play against Arizona and Taylor is a bright offensive mind that I hold in very high regard for his prowess in cooking up potent attacks.
While the offensive line will be outmatched, it’s not unreasonable to expect the Cardinal to get on the scoreboard at home considering it has averaged at least 5.3 yards per play in every game this season.
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Oregon vs Stanford spread and Over/Under analysis
This line opened at Oregon -26 and has moved a point to -27 at current. Some books are already beginning to show -27.5 and I wouldn’t be surprised if it hovers around — and maybe crosses — the four-touchdown barrier at -28. The total opened at 62.5 but has since been bet down to 61.
The Ducks truly have an impressive offense. Nix is a Heisman contender for a reason and the rushing attack has been dominant. Bucky Irving has amassed 419 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns while averaging a robust 8.2 yards per carry.
Backup Noah Whittington will miss a few weeks with injury, but Jordan James is ready to assume a bigger workload considering he’s found the end zone six times already this season while averaging 7.5 yards per carry. Once touchdown scorer props drop, James is a player I’ll be looking at as the books listed him at plus money to find the end zone last week in a number that I thought was off, and he did score against the Buffaloes.
Troy Franklin is on pace to break school receiving records after posting 418 yards and five touchdowns through the first four games of the year. Tez Johnson, Gary Gryant Jr., and Traeshon Holden have all found the end zone multiple times and combine to give Oregon its best group of wide receivers in quite some time.
Stanford’s defense is allowing 430 total yards per game and 6.4 yards per play, so it’ll need some more voodoo at home against Oregon if it hopes to keep the Ducks out of the end zone.
Offensively, Taylor has managed to keep this team moving the chains despite poor quarterback play, a totally new group of receivers, a banged-up running back room, and a terrible offensive line. He’s an offensive wizard and the Cardinal will likely find a way to score some points at home, which has me favoring the Over.
Oregon vs Stanford betting trend to know
Stanford is 4-16 ATS in its last 20 games. Find more college football betting trends for Oregon vs Stanford.
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Oregon vs Stanford game info
|Location:||Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA|
|Date:||Saturday, September 30, 2023|
|Kickoff:||6:30 p.m. ET|
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