Kent State vs. Washington Odds & Picks: Betting Value on Week 1 Over/Under
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- The Kent State Golden Flashes travel west to take on the Washington Huskies in Week 1 college football action.
- Washington enters as big favorites, but our expert sees betting value on the total.
- Check out Dan Keegan's full betting guide and pick for Kent State vs. Washington below.
Kent State vs. Washington Odds
Kent State heads to Husky Stadium in a game that features two teams entering 2022 in different situations.
The Golden Flashes are replacing Dustin Crum — a multi-year starter at quarterback — and three starters on the offensive line, but they have returning production at the skill positions and a strong offensive identity under head coach Sean Lewis.
The Huskies cratered under the short-lived Jimmy Lake era, and have brought in Kalen DeBoer from Fresno State for the rebuild. This could be a quick process, as the Huskies have recruited well in recent years and are not too far removed from perennial Pac-12 contention.
Kent State’s -6.5 TARP and coaching stability face off against Washington’s 4.5 TARP and schematic overhaul in an intriguing late-night matchup.
Crum — one of the heroes of MACtion — moves on after three years piloting the Lewis offense, which resides in the Josh Heupel/Baylor tree.
Replacing him is Collin Schlee, and the Flashes faithful have high hopes that the drop-off will be insignificant. Schlee has drawn rave reviews from his staff and teammates all offseason for his physical talents and grasp of the offense.
Lewis’ version of this scheme favors ball control and pinball rushing yards numbers. The Golden Flashes ranked only 92nd in explosive offense last year, but eighth in Success Rate.
Despite replacing the starting quarterback and three offensive line starters (including both tackles), this offense should still hum along. The returning skill-position talent is solid, with leading rusher Marquez Cooper and receiver Dante Cephas both back in the fold.
The Kent State offense will be fine — in MAC play, that is.
This is one of three “buy games” for the financially floundering Flashes. They also travel to Georgia and Oklahoma after trips last season to Texas A&M, Iowa and Maryland.
In their three buy games in 2021, they averaged 11 points. In their nine MAC games (including the conference title game), they averaged 37. Their gaudy season-long numbers are not representative of what they can manage when facing talented Power Five programs.
In all three of these contests last year, the home team covered barely, and the games went under the total by an average of 17 points. Those are small-sample size trends, but they do underscore the mindset of the two teams in these matchups.
Kent State will be looking to shorten the game and escape healthy and intact, especially considering it plays its two most important MAC games (at Toledo and at Miami) before October 15.
The opposing coaching staff is forgiving of the tough role the Kent State coaches and players are in each September, and are looking to win comfortably and quickly without dancing on their graves.
The Huskies fell off the cliff last year, as the passing of the torch from Chris Petersen to Lake did not go as smoothly as anticipated. Lake made few friends with outlandish statements in the press and a sideline altercation with a player.
On the field, his defense regressed horribly, and the offense was a disaster under coordinator John Donovan. The Huskies fell to a 4-8 record and finished 83rd overall in SP+ after finishing in the top 20 the previous two seasons in that metric.
In 2022, the talented two-deep returns key pieces, although both starting cornerbacks depart to the NFL. More importantly, schematic overhauls on both sides of the ball have Husky adherents hopeful.
This was one of the worst Power Five offenses last season under Donovan. DeBoer has had a successful run of high-octane outputs with his spread passing attack and should immediately breathe new life into the program.
Michael Penix Jr. transfers from Indiana — where DeBoer was his coordinator during a successful 2019 season — and will take the reins at quarterback.
Despite reasons for optimism in the long-term, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some glitches in the first game with an all-new scheme and a new signal caller.
The defense is also undergoing an overhaul away from 2-4-5 defense that was the calling card of the Pete Kwiatkowski and Lake era. The Huskies featured NFL-caliber defensive backs behind massive maulers like Vita Vea and Greg Gaines controlling multiple gaps.
Lacking those singular talents up front last season, the rush defense fell to 123rd in Success Rate.
In 2022, the Huskies will be remodeled into a more typical college football 4-2-5 scheme with a nickel/LB hybrid role. This system is more successful against modern attacks and will feature the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage.
A new coaching staff and a modernization of the scheme will have immediate dividends for a team that has plenty of talent remaining on both sides of the ball. The Huskies land 21st in 247’s recent Team Talent Composite rankings.
Kent State vs. Washington Betting Pick
You will see these Kent State Golden Flashes ring up high scores in conference play, and they are one of the can’t miss MACtion outfits.
But they will be outclassed on Saturday.
Both teams will be working out the kinks with new quarterbacks, and looking to escape this one for a quick and healthy handshake line. Far more important contests loom on the docket for both programs.
I’m calling for a comfortable Washington win, but will avoid the point spread. I’ll take the under at 60.5, and I would play it down to 58.