The top game in the PAC-12 for week 11 of the 2012 College Football season this Saturday afternoon (3:00pm ET) features the 11th ranked Oregon State Beavers (7-1) traveling to Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA to take on the 14th ranked Stanford Cardinal (7-2). Oregon State is 6-2 ATS this season, and have covered three of their last 4 games, with the lone exception being a 20-17 loss at Washington two weeks ago as a 3 point favorite. The Cardinal are 5-4 ATS this year, and have covered in three of their last four games as well, also failing to cover two weeks ago in a 24-17 win over Washington State as a 25 point favorite. Stanford has won three of the last four games against the Beavers, and handily defeated their conference rivals to the north on the road last year 38-13 as a 20.5 point favorite.
The Oregon State offense ranks 77th in the nation in scoring with an average of 26.2 point per contest and 50th in nationally in total offense with 420.6 yards per game. Defensively the Beavers have been a strong unit ranking 19th among FBS teams in scoring defense with 18.1 PPG allowed and 30th in total defense with 339 YPG allowed.
Stanford has struggled offensively this season to fill the shoes of departed QB Andrew Luck, and Josh Nunes (1,643 yards passing 10 TDs, 7 INTs) has not been a consistent threat that defenses have to respect, and that has allowed them to load up to stop the running game and back Stepfon Taylor (947 yards rushing, 9 TDs). The Cardinal offense ranks smack in the middle of all FBS teams in scoring offense at 60th with 29.3 PPG, and a dismal 86th in total offense with 373.4 YPG. The Stanford defense ranks 12th with 16.6 PPG and 20th in total defense with 321.7 YPG allowed.
Oregon State vs. Stanford Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Oregon State Beavers +4.5
@ Stanford Cardinal -4.5
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Oregon State vs. Stanford Pick:
Oregon State has a 6-0-1 record ATS in their last 7 games against teams with a winning record; they are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass and 18-7-1 ATS in their last 26 road games. Stanford is 14-5-1 ATS in their last 20 PAC-12 games, 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against winning teams and 22-10 ATS in their last 32 home games. The over is 5-2 in the Beavers’ last 7 games against winning teams and the under is 7-3 in their last 10 November games. The under is 4-0 in Stanford’s last 4 games, 5-1 in their last 6 conference games and 4-0 in their last 4 games on grass. In head-to-head play, the under is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings between the two teams and 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Palo Alto.
The trend in this series favors the under and both teams have struggled to produce offensively this season while also fielding defenses that rank in the top 20 nationally in points allowed. The combination off poor offense and tough defense is unusual in the PAC-12, and provides the ideal mix necessary to take the under in this game with there being no obvious choice to pick against the spread. Oregon State rates as a slightly better bet than Stanford is against the spread as a road underdog, but that pick is too close to make for me. The call here is to take the under in what should be a tight game between two outstanding defenses.
PICK = Under 44.5