Utah vs. Washington College Football Odds & Picks: Saturday’s Betting Value on the Huskies
Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Dylan Morris.
- The Utah Utes will face the Washington Huskies in a Pac-12 showdown on Saturday.
- Dylan Morris has shown improvement this young season, while the Utes' biggest weakness — the offensive line — hasn't shown much progression.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.
Utah vs. Washington Odds
|Utah Odds||+7 [BET NOW]|
|Washington Odds||-7 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+215/-270 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||47.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET|
The college football world had its eyes on a potential BYU vs. Washington matchup this week, but instead, the Huskies will take on another team from Utah: the Utes.
After being the last FBS team to kick off its season, Utah fell to USC, 33-17, at home on Nov. 21. The Utes lost nine starters on defense, along with star running back Zack Moss and quarterback Tyler Huntley on offense. The young Utes defense looked impressive, but the offense was underwhelming.
Washington pulled off a close #Pac12AfterDark win over Oregon State to start the season before stomping Arizona, 44-27, after pulling its starters with a 44-6 lead.
The Huskies will play their third consecutive game at home to start the season and will face a much more challenging defense against the Utes, but we should expect the Huskies to cover.
Despite losing nine starters, Utah’s young defense looked impressive against the Trojans. The Utah offense did the defense no favors by giving USC two short-field possessions (at the Utah 4-yard line and 40-yard line) that led to quick touchdowns. Utah held USC quarterback Kedon Slovis to a season-low 66.4 QBR while sacking him three times. The run defense was strong, giving up just 3.0 yards per rush. The Utes will need to build on this with Washington’s run-heavy offense looming; the Huskies have run the ball 96 times and passed 50 through two games.
After Huntley moved on to the NFL, Utah’s coaching staff unanimously chose Texas transfer Cam Rising as the next starting signal-caller. He looked uninspiring in his first quarter before injuring his throwing shoulder against USC. South Carolina transfer Jake Bentley then took over for him and will receive his first start for Utah at Washington. Bentley completed 16-of-28 passes for 171 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions for a middling QBR of 55.9 against USC. Neither Bentley nor Rising ever looked comfortable in the pocket against a USC defense that had its way with Utah’s offensive line.
Utah’s offensive line also struggled to open up holes in the run game. The Utes averaged just 4.0 yards per carry, and the longest run by a running back went for 22 yards. Although Bentley isn’t the running threat that Rising is, he recorded the longest run of the day with a 33-yard scamper. Utah looked like a team playing its first game against a team that was much more in sync, and I expect it to play better this week. However, Utah faces a much stiffer challenge against a Washington defense that I believe to be the best in the Pac-12.
The Huskies have two victories behind their hulking offensive line, which has paved the way for its committee of running backs to rush for 5.21 yards per carry. They’ve been successful and persistent running the ball, as their 48 rush attempts per game are the most in the Pac-12.
Washington began its season against Oregon State with a conservative approach, giving redshirt freshman quarterback Dylan Morris safe and short throws to complete. However, in its second game against Arizona, coach Jimmy Lake loosened the reins, and Morris responded with an impressive and efficient performance. Morris raised his QBR from 53.7 to 78.9 in his second start and still hasn’t committed a turnover.
Morris impressed when he was needed most, as he completed 7-of-8 passes (his only incompletion was a drop) on third downs against Arizona for 145 yards and two touchdowns. His only completion that didn’t go for a first down or touchdown led to a fourth-and-1, where he executed a quarterback sneak for the conversion.
A key player in both Morris and the running game’s success? Tight end Cade Otton. Otton has been a dominant run blocker and led the Huskies with seven receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown against Arizona. Expect Washington to feed him again this week.
Defensively, the Huskies have been incredible, especially against the pass. Washington has been led by sophomore outside linebacker Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who has two sacks in each of their games. Washington leads the Pac-12 in passing yards allowed, giving up only 172 passing yards per game and 5.5 yards per pass. The Huskies also rank second in the conference of champions in rushing yards per game (119.5) and third in yards per rush (3.98).
Washington always seems to boast an elite secondary, and the emergence of a strong pass rush has made it a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks. The Huskies have allowed the lowest third-down conversion rate in the Pac-12 at 24% (more than 12% better than any other defense). Most recently against Arizona, they allowed quarterback Grant Gunnell to throw for just 50 yards on 18 attempts through the first three quarters (while Washington played its starters).
Betting Analysis & Pick
After Utah’s offensive line struggled against USC’s pass rush, it will face the best defensive front in the Pac-12, which also happens to feature the best secondary in the conference. The Utah offensive line was the most experienced position group returning from last season, but it was the biggest weakness for a great Utah team last year. Many Utah fans hoped this would become a strength this season, but the Trojans exposed the unit last week, and I expect the Huskies to pick up where the Trojans left off. This Utah offense hasn’t shown that it has a strength yet, and with its backup quarterback at the helm, I don’t like its chances against Washington.
I love how the Huskies have run the ball through two games, and I like the development I have seen from their young quarterback. These are similar teams that like to win with their rushing offense and defense, but the Huskies are the better version right now and should win by more than seven in a physical, low-scoring game.
I like the value on the Huskies to cover the spread up to seven points. I also love the value of a teaser here, teasing Washington -6.5 down to -0.5 and teasing the under up from 47.5 to 53.5.
Pick: Washington -6.5 (up to -7) | Teaser: Washington -0.5 (down to -3) and Under 53.5 (down to 52).