Washington State vs Fresno State Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Bulldogs

Washington State vs Fresno State Odds, Picks: Betting Value on Bulldogs article feature image

Christopher Hook & Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured from left: Nakia Watson (25) of the Washington State Cougars and Jalen Moreno-Cropper (5) of the Fresno State Bulldogs.

  • The Washington State Cougars take on the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl on Saturday afternoon.
  • The Bulldogs find themselves with a much better opt-out situation than the Cougars, as Fresno State enters as the favorite.
  • Check out Collin Wilson's full betting preview and pick for Washington State vs Fresno State below.

Washington State vs Fresno State Odds

Saturday, Dec. 17
3:30 p.m. ET
Washington State Odds
-105o / -115u
Fresno State Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

After a two-year absence due to health reasons, head coach Jeff Tedford returned to Fresno State. The initial year of the second campaign was a resounding success, as the Bulldogs brought home a Mountain West Conference title for the first time since 2018.

Tedford is 7-3 straight up in bowl games and won both the Hawaii Bowl and Las Vegas Bowl during his first stint with Fresno State.

Washington State head coach Jake Dickert spent most of 2021 as the interim after the firing of Nick Rolovich. The Cougars made it to a bowl game but lost the Sun Bowl to Central Michigan.

In the first full season as a head coach, Dickert led Washington State to seven wins despite losing all four games against ranked conference opponents. The coach will end his inaugural season by losing both Brian Ward and Eric Morris as coordinators.

Washington State Cougars

The loss of both coordinators will result in new play-callers for the Cougars. Offensive line coach Clay McGuire and receivers coach Joel Filani will design and call the Air Raid attack.

The Cougars elect to pass the ball on 58% of snaps, relying on the highlight arm of quarterback Cam Ward.

Washington State will be missing its top two targets in De'Zhaun Stribling and Donovan Ollie, limiting the number of options for Ward.

CAM WARD! THE MAGICIAN! pic.twitter.com/rZWKQ6kcNB

— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) November 27, 2022

Because of Ward's ability to elude defenders in the pocket, Washington State ranks third nationally in rush explosiveness. With a Passing Downs Success Rate in the top 35, a Ward scramble may be the best offense without Stribling and Ollie.

The Cougars defense fell apart in the Apple Cup and allowed 703 yards to Washington. The Huskies dominated the ground game to the tune of 9.1 yards per carry. That result was predictable, as the Cougars finished outside the top 100 against the rush in terms of Success Rate.

The defensive line has struggled in getting after the quarterback, generating a pass rush rank of 112th.

While the numbers indicate a top tackling grade and above-average red-zone efficiency, the Cougars have lost a trio of starting linebackers to opt-outs and the transfer portal.

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Fresno State Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have been lights out with a healthy Jake Haener at quarterback. \

The senior missed four games after getting hurt against USC in Week 3 but was on fire once he returned in the second half of the season. Haener ended the season with 18 touchdowns to just three interceptions and excelled with the play-action pass.

Running back Jordan Mims picked up where Ronnie Rivers left off, gaining over 1,100 yards en route to 16 rushing touchdowns.

Jordan Mims is a cheat code 🎮#GoDogs | @jmims23 | 📺 CBSSN pic.twitter.com/Y1xdyXTfK6

— Fresno State Football 🧸 (@FresnoStateFB) September 11, 2022

The Fresno State offense is one of the best nationally in standard downs, only to be matched by a defense that had the 16th-best efficiency rate in early downs.

The Bulldogs fielded a top-25 unit against the pass and in opponent scoring opportunities, but the bread and butter has been creating chaos. Fresno State ended the season ranked 11th nationally in Defensive Havoc. The primary driver in the Havoc number comes from 85 passes defensed, finishing third in the country behind Middle Tennessee and Penn State.

Washington State vs Fresno State Matchup Analysis

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

Washington State Offense vs. Fresno State Defense
Rush Success6843
Line Yards8883
Pass Success7330
Pass Blocking**82121
Finishing Drives5921
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Fresno State Offense vs. Washington State Defense
Rush Success25104
Line Yards8152
Pass Success1439
Pass Blocking**96112
Finishing Drives3831
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling869
PFF Coverage4021
SP+ Special Teams2362
Seconds per Play24.7 (33)27.7 (96)
Rush Rate42.0% (124)49.8% (93)
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics.

Washington State vs Fresno State Betting Pick

Fresno State comes into the LA Bowl as one of the hottest teams in the Group of Five, winning eight straight and covering four of its final five.

With a well-balanced offense set to take on a Washington State defense that struggles against the run, props on Mims rushing yards must be a consideration.

Wazzu's loss of linebacker Daiyan Henley removes a team-leading 40 stops and 74 tackles. Dickert acknowledged Fresno State runs the same concepts as Washington, which is good news for the Bulldogs after the Huskies unloaded on the Cougars defense.

The handicap in this game comes on a Fresno State defense that will terrorize the Washington State trench and generate forced incompletions. Ward was under attack all season, as Wazzu's pressure-to-sack ratio finished well above the national average at 20%.

Stribling and Ollie were comfortable targets for Ward, but their absence may be bigger than that. Washington State posted 25 drops on the season, but only six came from Stribling and Ollie despite receiving 33% of the target share.

The handicap in this game comes down to Fresno State's ability to eliminate Ward's scrambles. History says the Bulldogs will be successful, as they limited Heisman winner Caleb Williams to a single net rushing yard.

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