Arizona vs. Washington State Odds & Picks: Can the Wildcats Cover?

Arizona vs. Washington State Odds & Picks: Can the Wildcats Cover? article feature image

Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Will Plummer.

  • Arizona takes on Washington State in a Friday night Pac-12 battle.
  • Updated odds make the Cougars -15 favorites, but there may be value in the underdog.
  • Roberto Arguello breaks down the game and shares his betting pick below.

Arizona vs. Washington State Odds

Friday, Nov. 19
9 p.m. ET
Pac-12 Network
Arizona Odds
-110o / -110u
Washington State Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

The Arizona Wildcats head north to the Palouse to take on the Washington State Cougars in the second-to-last regular-season game for both teams on Saturday.

After starting the season 0-8, the Wildcats have finally shown signs of life over the last two weeks. They picked up their only win of the season two weeks ago in an ugly 10-3 home win over a Cal team that was missing 24 players due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Wildcats followed up that performance by scoring 29 points against a Utah team that might be playing the best football in the Pac-12 with Cam Rising at quarterback.

The Wildcats gave the Utes a scare, as Utah led 31-29 with 10:47 to play, but the Utes went on to score seven more points to win, 38-29, while Arizona covered as 24.5-point underdogs.

After firing head coach Nick Rolovich, the Cougars are undefeated against the spread in their last three games. Wazzu hung tight in a 21-19 loss to BYU before stomping Arizona State, 34-21, two weeks ago.

Quarterback Jayden de Laura and the Cougars are coming off of a 38-24 loss against Oregon at Autzen Stadium last week.

Arizona Wildcats

When Arizona Has the Ball

If the Cougars cover or pull the unlikely upset, it will be because they take advantage of Washington State’s poor run defense.

The Wildcats don’t have any strengths offensively, as they have churned through quarterbacks due to injury. Will Plummer will be their starting signal-caller this week, and his improvement has been a big reason why they've been involved in four straight competitive games.

After recording a poor QBR of 26 or lower in each of his first five appearances this season, Plummer has had three straight games with a QBR over 50. He will need to continue the steady but unspectacular play of late while also continuing to run the ball.

In his first five appearances, Plummer ran for no more than 16 yards in a game, but he has run for 68 and 50 yards in the last two games for Arizona while adding another dimension to its stagnant offense.

If Plummer can keep it going and limit turnovers while the Wildcats get some kind of push on the ground against a Wazzu defense that ranks 125th in Rush Success Rate and 117th in Line Yards, they should shorten the game enough to stay within the 15-point spread.

Both the Arizona offense and Washington State defense are unspectacular, as they each rank 71st or lower in every single advanced statistic listed in our dropdowns below.

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Washington State Cougars

When Washington State Has the Ball

If Washington State wins and covers as home favorites, it will be because it creates explosive plays and de Laura doesn’t turn the ball over.

The Wazzu rushing offense is mediocre, as it ranks 76th in both Rush Success Rate and Line Yards. The Arizona run defense is the strength of its unit as it ranks 58th in Rush Success Rate and 63rd in Line Yards.

The edge for the Cougars offense lies through the air, as their pass blocking ranks 38th while Arizona’s pass rush sits at 85th. De Laura should have the time to make throws from the pocket or extend plays with his legs, but he needs to take care of the ball as he has nine turnovers this season, including four over the last three games.

Washington State ranks 38th in big plays, and it should have opportunities downfield against an Arizona defense that ranks 74th in big plays allowed, 79th in PFF Tackling, and a horrific 126th in PFF Coverage.

Arizona vs. Washington State Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Arizona and Washington State match up statistically:

Arizona Offense vs. Washington State Defense
Rush Success91125
Line Yards79117
Pass Success12795
Pass Blocking**7196
Big Play12599
Finishing Drives12780
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Washington State Offense vs. Arizona Defense
Rush Success7658
Line Yards7663
Pass Success7054
Pass Blocking**3885
Big Play3874
Finishing Drives52112
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling7926
Middle 810363
SP+ Special Teams4255
Plays per Minute2893
Rush Rate49.9% (96)45.7% (120)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Arizona vs. Washington State Betting Pick

While the Cougars are undefeated against the spread in their last three weeks (2-0-1 or 3-0 depending on the line against Oregon), the Wildcats have covered in four straight games, as Plummer’s development has helped them look competent offensively at times.

With the Cougars in a sandwich spot here before the Apple Cup against Washington next week and after an important matchup with Oregon last week, I like this spot for the Wildcats.

The spread has been pricing in a much more incompetent Plummer at quarterback, but he has shown over the last three weeks that he's being undervalued.

I like Arizona’s chances of mucking up and shortening this game by running the ball consistently against the poor Washington State run defense. I don’t trust de Laura to play a clean game, and I will be betting a half-unit on Arizona at +15 on DraftKings (with value down to +14.5).

Pick: Arizona +15 (Play to +14.5)

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