No. 10 Utah heads to No. 19 Oregon State as an underdog

Will QB Cameron Rising be on the field for Utah at Oregon State on Friday night?

That’s the big question as the No. 10 Utes enter the game as 4-point underdogs against the No. 19 Beavers (9 p.m. ET, FS1). Rising hasn’t played a down so far this season after suffering a torn ACL during the Rose Bowl in January. Utah has been coy on his progress — there was a belief Rising might have returned against UCLA in Week 4 — and it’s still an unknown in the hours leading up to the game if Rising will start at QB.

The defending Pac-12 champions have started 4-0 without Rising as freshman Nate Johnson has taken over as the starter in his absence. Bryson Barnes started the season opener but Johnson took over during the Week 2 win over Baylor and has been the primary QB since.

The Utah offense hasn’t been great, however. And that’s why Rising’s impending return is so pivotal. Johnson and Barnes have combined to throw for just 628 yards through the first four games while the team has rushed for just 662 yards. This is a team that’s relying a lot on a great defense to power it until Rising gets back. Just look at Utah’s 14-7 win over the Bruins.

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - SEPTEMBER 23: Cameron Rising #7 of the Utah Utes warms up before their game against the UCLA Bruins at Rice-Eccles Stadium September 23, 2023 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

QB Cameron Rising was in uniform but didn’t play against UCLA in Week 4. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) (Chris Gardner via Getty Images)

Oregon State enters Friday night on the heels of its first loss of the season. The Beavers lost just 38-35 to Washington State but that game looks closer than it was. Oregon State trailed for the entirety and was down 21 points early in the fourth quarter.

Former Clemson QB DJ Uiagalelei has thrown for 828 yards so far and is completing 58% of his passes. He’s also thrown three interceptions and has shown that he can still be prone to a bizarre throw or two per game. Avoiding mistakes against the Utah defense will be critical.

Oregon State will look to get the pass game going on the heels of a two-pronged rushing attack featuring Damien Martinez and Deshaun Fenwick. Martinez has 57 carries for 432 yards and Fenwick has rushed 37 times for 253 yards. Utah, meanwhile, is giving up just 51 rushing yards per game.

Rising’s uncertain status is a big reason why the total for this one is at just 44.5. We’d advise you to stay away until kickoff or until you know for sure if Rising is going to play. Live betting this one looks to be the way to go.

Louisville a road favorite at NC State

Louisville is a 3.5-point favorite as it looks to move to 5-0 in its toughest test of the season against NC State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). The Cardinals have scored wins over Georgia Tech, Indiana and Boston College so far this season, though those three schools combined to go 12-24 in 2022.

NC State is 3-1 after a loss to Notre Dame earlier this year. Former Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong has yet to be able to capture his 2021 magic with the Cavaliers and current offensive coordinator Robert Anae. Armstrong is completing 60% of his passes and has thrown for 859 yards and five touchdowns and four interceptions through four games.

Louisville QB Jack Plummer, meanwhile, has thrown for 1,120 yards and 10 TDs while completing 67% of his passes. Plummer has been the better quarterback so far this season, but the NC State defense is capable of forcing him into an interception or two. We’re eyeing under 55.5 here.

BYU’s first Big 12 home game

Cincinnati is now a 1.5-point favorite at BYU on Friday night (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) in a game that has featured significant line movement. The line has moved in Cincinnati’s favor after the Bearcats lost to Oklahoma at home in Week 4 and BYU lost on the road to Kansas.

It’s the first home game against a Big 12 opponent for BYU (3-1) in its Big 12 era as the Cougars look to get something going on the ground. LJ Martin is the team’s leading rusher through four games with 223 yards. No other player has rushed for more than 29 yards.

Cincinnati is 2-2 after losing to Miami (Ohio) and the Sooners in back-to-back weeks. Former Florida and Arizona State QB Emory Jones has thrown for 970 yards and seven TDs with five interceptions and has rushed for 186 yards and three scores. Do you trust Jones and the Cincinnati offense on the road following consecutive losses? We don’t. We’d take the Cougars and the points.

Who cashed bets Thursday?

The Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers 34-20 to establish themselves as the best team in the NFC North. The Baltimore Orioles got to win No. 100 with a 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox and the Seattle Mariners scored a 3-2 win over the Texas Rangers to pull within a game of the Houston Astros for the final Wild Card spot in the American League.

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