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College Football Odds & Picks for Washington State vs. Stanford: Betting Value Lies With Cougars

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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Stanford Cardinal.

Editors Note: As of Friday around 5 p.m. ET, Saturday’s game between Washington State and Stanford has been canceled due to complications associated with COVID-19 within the Cougars program.


Washington State vs. Stanford

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Washington State Cougars

Nick Rolovich may have been the perfect hire with regards to a transition in offensive scheme. The Mike Leach Air Raid offense ran primarily out of 10 personnel, similar to the Rolovich run and shoot that has been exclusively in the same set. Freshman Jayden de Laura has graded out in early returns against Oregon and Oregon State with 547 passing yards and four touchdowns.

However, there is room for improvement from the wide receivers, who have combined for seven drops through 72 passing attempts. The Cougars offense is among the best in the country in preventing Havoc allowed, but consider that this is a pass-first offense, and de Laura’s successful pass completion percentage comes within 2.2 seconds off the snap.

The Washington State defense could use a huge yellow sign reading “Under Construction.” From a Success Rate standpoint, the Cougars rank in the bottom 10 in FBS. The biggest gaps are in trench warfare, where the defense ranks 118th in Line Yards and Power Success Rate. The Cougars grade only marginally better in coverage and tackling via Pro Football Focus, ranking 99th and 100th, respectively.

Stanford Cardinal

The numbers on the Cardinal can be a bit misleading, as Davis Mills sat out the opener in a loss to Oregon due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test. The Trees did what they could with a balance of rush and pass attempts against an Oregon defense chock-full of fresh faces.

Mills returned against Colorado, and head coach David Shaw unleashed a heavy dose of passing. More than 72% of snaps were passing plays against the Buffaloes. Most would point out that Stanford trailed in this game 28-9, but Mills attempted a pass in five out of the first six plays in the first drive of the game.

The Stanford defense has had issues through the first two games against Oregon and Colorado. Success Rate, Havoc and Sack Rate rankings all show up in the bottom-10 rankings of all FBS teams. The only areas of positivity come in Finishing Drives and tackle grading, per PFF. Passing attacks will continue to beat a Cardinal back seven that averages outside the top 100 in pass breakups per game.


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While both Stanford and Washington State rank outside the top 100 in tempo, each defense has a penchant for allowing opponents to move the chains. Consider that through two games, Stanford and Washington State rank 123rd and 126th, respectively, in opponent third-down conversions.

One of these offenses has found more success in putting points on the board when given the opportunity. Washington State averages 4.7 points on trips past the 40-yard line, while Stanford checks in at 2.3 per attempt.

With the Cougars, an investor gets better special teams and red-zone offense. If the Washington State defense can put up a third-down stop, this could be an outright underdog victory.

Pick: Washington State +0.5 or better

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