College Football Odds & Picks for Stanford vs. Washington: Saturday’s Betting Value on a Cardinal Teaser
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington Huskies Linebacker Travis Feeney #41.
- Undefeated Washington hosts 1-2 Stanford on Saturday for a Pac-12 showdown.
- The Huskies are up to 11.5-point favorites, but Roberto Arguello isn’t sold on the home team covering in this matchup.
- Check out Arguello’s full preview and betting analysis for Stanford vs. Washington below.
Stanford vs. Washington Odds
|Stanford Odds||+12 [BET NOW]|
|Washington Odds||-12 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+350 / -480 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||59 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
The Stanford Cardinal (1-2) visit the Washington Huskies (3-0) Saturday afternoon as the Huskies host their fourth consecutive game to start the season.
While the Huskies have made themselves comfortable at home after their opener at California was canceled, the Cardinal relocated to Seattle earlier this week after COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County forbade them from practicing and hosting football games through the rest of the regular season.
Washington opened as 9.5-point favorites, but it has increased to 11.5-point favorites as of Thursday evening. Last year, the Huskies finished the season 8-5, but four of their five losses came in one-score games. The only Washington loss by more than one score came at Stanford, 23-13, as 13.5-point favorites.
The Cardinal look to shock the experts in the desert once again this week. For that reason, a teaser on Stanford and the under may be worth the risk.
If the Cardinal hope to cover or win outright, they will need to be more efficient in stopping the run. Stanford ranks 121st nationally (11th in the Pac-12) with 5.7 yards per rush allowed. Against a Washington team that will do its best to establish and pound the run consistently to take the pressure off its redshirt freshman quarterback, Stanford needs to step up.
The good news for Stanford’s run defense is that this is the first offense it will face without the threat of a running quarterback. Washington quarterback Dylan Morris has just 10 rushing attempts for 21 yards this season, with six attempts for zero total yards coming in his two most recent games. Stanford has been gashed by quarterbacks rushing the football, but at just 6-feet and 200 pounds, Morris doesn’t have the speed and size combination that each of the first three quarterbacks who faced Stanford’s defense possessed.
If the Cardinal can limit the damage on the ground, especially in the red zone, and make Morris make plays with his arm to an unspectacular receiving group, Stanford should have a chance to pull the upset.
Offensively, Stanford has shown flashes of brilliance but has yet to put together a full 60 minutes.
After missing Week 1 with a false positive COVID-19 test, starting quarterback Davis Mills returned to play against Colorado after missing all but one practice in quarantine isolation. Without many reps, he looked out of rhythm with the offense in the first half before nearly leading the Cardinal back from a 28-9 deficit, as they lost, 35-32.
After a cancellation against Washington State, Mills completed 75% of his passes last week against Cal in the Big Game. Mills has one of the top receiving groups around him and has done a good job of avoiding costly mistakes.
He has thrown 144 passes without an interception, dating back to late November of last year, although he was very lucky to have a pick taken away last week after an unnecessary holding foul on Cal.
Last year against Washington, Mills had the best game of his career to date. With a 91.8 QBR, he completed 21-of-30 passes for 293 yards, rushed three times for 26 yards and didn’t turn the ball over.
If Stanford can get a decent push up front with its offensive line to open up space for talented running backs Austin Jones and Nathaniel Peat as it did last year, expect Mills to deliver another efficient performance.
If the Huskies hope to win and cover, they need to dominate the line of scrimmage on offense and allow their talented pass rush, led by Zion Tupuola-Fetui (who leads the nation with 2.33 sacks per game), to wreak Havoc on Mills.
Washington had success rushing the football for 5.2 yards per carry against Oregon State and Arizona, but it was stymied by Utah’s defense, which held it to just 3.4 yards per rush. Without a steady rushing attack, Morris looked uncomfortable in the first half, and he finished the game with three interceptions.
However, Morris came through under pressure as he led the Huskies to a game-winning 12-play, 88-yard touchdown drive.
Morris connected with star tight end Cade Otton for a 16-yard touchdown with 37 seconds remaining to win the game. Otton has been the focal point of the passing game for the Huskies. He leads the team with 16 receptions for 212 yards and has caught three of Washington’s four passing touchdowns this year.
If the Huskies can get one or more receivers (Puka Nacua and Terrell Bynum are the most likely candidates) to open up the field for Otton, this offense will be difficult to defend. However, the Washington receivers have struggled with drops all season and lacked a physical, dynamic receiver on the outside all year.
Washington’s defense is best suited to play with a lead, as it boasts a talented secondary — led by Elijah Molden — that blankets receivers as well as any team in the conference, as well as the best pass rush in the Pac-12, led by Tupuola-Fetui.
Molden is a dynamic, physical playmaker and fierce competitor who plays with a high IQ and tackles well. He is the highest-graded Pac-12 defender this season, per Pro Football Focus, and has helped lead Washington’s secondary to a rank of 11th in the country and best in the conference of champions by allowing only 5.7 yards per pass.
While Molden is the highest-graded defender in the conference, outside linebacker Tupuola-Fetui ranks third. He is the biggest reason the Huskies lead the conference in Sack Rate (10.42%, ninth nationally). Expect the Cardinal to do everything they can to limit him and force the rest of the Washington defenders (none of whom have more than one sack in three games) to beat them.
Betting Analysis & Pick
While I believe the Huskies can run the table and emerge as an undefeated Pac-12 champion, I don’t love their chances of covering 11.5 points at home against Stanford.
The Cardinal play a similar style of offense, and their defense should be prepared for a Washington offense without a dynamic playmaker on the outside to stretch the field vertically. Stanford’s defense will look better than it has against the run this week, as Washington’s offense doesn’t have the ability to attack one of Stanford’s most glaring weaknesses in defending a rushing quarterback.
Washington’s pass rush and pass coverage are elite, and if it can force Stanford into third-and-long consistently, the Cardinal won’t have a chance unless Morris makes mistakes. However, I like Stanford’s chances of running the ball against a Washington defense that has been unremarkable defending the run, giving Mills a chance to build on his career performance against the Huskies from 2019.
I think the defenses hold their own, much like in last year’s 23-13 Stanford win, and I still like the value on the under even though it has been bet down from 51.5 to 50.5. Both offenses huddle, operate at a slow pace, and will try to run the football to open up the rest of the playbook.
While I lean toward Stanford +11.5 and under 50.5, I love the value of a teaser with Stanford +18 and under 56.5, with value down to +17 and 55.5.
Pick: Teaser — Stanford +17.5 and Under 56.5 at -110 (down to +17 and 55.5).