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Liberty vs. Oregon: Picks, best bets for Fiesta Bowl in Glendale on Monday

The Flames and the Ducks meet in Glendale on New Year’s Day.

2023 Pac-12 Championship - Oregon v Washington Photo by Ric Tapia/Getty Images

The No. 18 Liberty Flames meet the No. 8 Oregon Ducks in the Fiesta Bowl on Monday, January 1. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Liberty (13-0, 8-0 CUSA) won Conference-USA after an undefeated regular season. The Flames defeated Jacksonville State, Western Kentucky, and New Mexico State in the regular season. They grabbed a second win over NM State to take the conference title, 49-35. Liberty quarterback Kaidon Salter finished the season with over 2,700 passing yards, 31 passing touchdowns, and five interceptions. He added another 12 scores on the ground. The Flames ranked fifth in the nation in points per game, averaging 40.8 — just behind Oregon, their Fiesta Bowl opponent.

Oregon (11-2, 8-1 Pac-12) dominated the Pac-12, but could not get past Washington in both the regular-season matchup and the Pac-12 championship. The Ducks boasted a Heisman finalist in QB Bo Nix, but fell to the Huskies 36-33 in October and 34-31 in December in the conference title game. Nix is expected to play in the Fiesta Bowl before declaring for the 2024 NFL Draft, but top WR Troy Franklin has entered the transfer portal and will not join the Ducks for the bowl game.

Here’s everything you need to know and a pick for the bowl.

SP+ Rankings

Liberty: 21 overall, 9 offense, 51 defense
Oregon: 5 overall, 1 offense, 19 defense

List of injuries and players opting out of game

Liberty

QB Johnathan Bennett - Out (transfer portal)

Oregon

WR Troy Franklin - Out (draft)
WR Gary Bryant Jr - Probable (leg)
WR Ashton Cozart - Out (transfer portal)
RB Dante Dowdel - Out (transfer portal)
WR Von Reames - Out (transfer portal)
QB Ty Thompson - Out (transfer portal)

ATS/Total

Against The Spread in 2023

Liberty: 9-4 ATS
Oregon: 9-3-1 ATS

Total in 2023

Liberty: Over 8-5
Oregon: Over 5-8

Team Pace

Liberty: 28.3 seconds per play
Oregon: 27.2 seconds per play

Odds at DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Oregon -18
Total: 68
Moneyline: Oregon -950, Liberty +625

Weather

60°F, Cloudy, 0% chance of rain, 4 MPH winds

Our Best Bet for the Fiesta Bowl

Liberty +18

Liberty is retaining most of their starters, and their offense ranked just behind Oregon’s in points per game this season. The Ducks bring a much stronger defense to the field, but Kaidon Salter and the Liberty offense should be able to keep up with the Ducks within two touchdowns and a field goal.