img CFB

Oregon at Auburn

January 10, 2011
img8:30 PM Eastern
Premium Pick
2 units on Game Total UNDER 72.5 -110 (risk 2 to return 2)

If you are like me, you have had trouble waiting for this game. We get an undefeated SEC powerhouse with the Heisman trophy winner vs. an undefeated Oregon team that won their games this season by an average of 31 points per game. The Tigers have been shrouded by a cloud of uncertainty regarding Cam Newton. The NCAA certainly wanted him in this game so at least for now, his possible off-field discretions are under the carpet. His presence in this game will help to motivate the Ducks who want to show that they can take down the best player in the nation. With this spread being close to even, you have to ask yourself - which is the better team taking the field tonight? I say it's the Oregon Ducks. The Ducks put together a 6-0 record vs. Bowl teams this season, going 4-1-1 ATS in the process. The Ducks' offense is laden with playmakers, and they can strike faster than any team in the country. Amongst the bevy of huge offensive stats for both sides in this game, lies one that seems to stand head over heels above them all. Oregon has scored a touchdown 25 times with drives that took less than 1 minute! They are scary good and simply wear down their opponents with their quick-strike offense as opponents have real trouble catching their breath and making substitutions. In the second half, opposing defenses have hands on hips and get run over. Granted, Auburn is battled tested and will be well-prepared. But, I do believe this Ducks offense will still catch the Auburn defense off guard at times and they will have success. I also think the Ducks have a clear special teams advantage here as they are ranked No. 3 in the country. Explosive CB Cliff Harris has been good returning punts, averaging 19.5 yards per return with four TDs. And, most importantly, the Ducks also have the better defense. I really like the adjustments this Oregon defense has made during games this season. It may have even greater impact vs. Auburn, a team that has started slow and fallen behind in several games, needing comebacks to get the win. Oregon has allowed just 77 second half points the entire season. When you get to the 4th quarter, they have really bowed their backs allowing just 2 points the entire year! That could become very challenging for an Auburn team that has needed big second-half efforts to come back this year vs. elite teams like Oregon. They rank No. 14 in points allowed per game, while Auburn ranks No. 54. There have been 12 BCS Bowl Champions crowned, and not one has ranked under the top 20 in defensive points allowed per game. So if Auburn wins this game, it will be the first to do so without a top 20 defense. Auburn allows 24.5 ppg while Oregon gives up just 18.4 ppg which is a differential of 6.1 ppg. Teams that have come into the BCS Championship game with a 6+ point differential in points allowed per game are 6-1 straight-up. Granted, Auburn has played better competition as a whole, but the fact remains that Oregon's defense has performed better this season and that usually equates to the hoisting of the trophy in college football title games. While everyone is ready for a shootout here, including the oddsmakers that have set this one in the 70s, that may not materialize. Bowl games with totals of 70 or more have gone decidedly UNDER over the years. There is a reason. Both teams realize the explosiveness of the other and want to keep their defense off the field as much as possible, and the energy level of these good teams usually inspires the defense to play "up.” The defenses have had weeks to watch tape and prepare. Let's look at a few notable high-octane offenses in BCS games and turned in bad performances. Oklahoma recently came into their BCS game averaging 562.1 yards a game and scored 14 points. Florida State came in averaging 549 and didn't score a point (2 points credited for recording a safety). I respect the Auburn Tigers. They have had a great year on the field. But Oregon has an edge in my opinion in all aspects including offense, defense, and special teams. As a dog, they will be a live one. This total is also in a range where everything has to go perfect to top it, and usually it doesn't. I like the UNDER and your BCS National Champion to be the Oregon Ducks.

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