Utah vs. Washington State Betting Picks & Odds: Will Cougs Pull the Upset?
Utah vs. Washington State Betting Picks & Odds
Utah Spread: -6
Washington State Spread: -6
Time: 10 p.m. ET
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah.
Washington State at Utah Line Movement
We don’t often find big-name, single-digit home favorites getting the minority of bets, but that’s been the case with Utah to this point. The Utes — currently listed -6 — are drawing just 45% of bets.
Their line did make a brief appearance at -7, but bettors made quick work of that, grabbing the points and settling this spread just inside the key number.
More noteworthy has been the action on the total, which has come down from its opener despite 72% of both bets and money hitting the over. After opening at 58.5/59, the market consensus currently sits at 56.5. — Danny Donahue
Collin: Can Utah Keep the Chains Moving?
Does the 50-point second half from UCLA on Saturday say more about the Bruins or Washington State?
Wazzu has to pick itself up after losing a game in which it scored 63 points and quarterback Anthony Gordon threw for nine touchdowns. Head coach Mike Leach didn’t mince words about his defense in the post-game presser. It will be interesting to see how the Cougs respond in a game with some serious Pac-12 implications. If you invested in Utah to win the Pac-12 before the season, this could end up being the make-or-break moment for that bet.
Washington State has won four in a row against the Utes dating back to 2013. Leach noted that Utah is “almost identical from year to year.” That spells trouble for the Utes, who have been bested by the Air Raid over the years.Two weeks ago the Utes were defeated by USC and its third-string quaterback Matt Fink, who was able to hit receivers behind the Utah secondary all night long. Leach will look to implement the same strategy in the system he made famous.
The handicap for this game comes down to two things:
- Can Utah’s secondary get stops?
- Can the Utes exploit Wazzu’s porous defense?
The job gets a little tougher for Utah since running back Zack Moss will not play, but with Tyler Huntley expected to be healthy the Utes can take advantage of a Cougars defense that allows 6.1 yards per play.
Time of possession will go a long way in determining which team covers the spread. If Utah can get past the chains, that will keep the Air Raid off the field. The Utes rank seventh in the country in time of possession, averaging 35 minutes with the ball per game. Moss’ back-up, Devin Brumfield, should see a lot of the ball against a Wazzu defense that sits 122nd in line yards and 119th in stuff rate.
Pick: Utah -6 or better, Under 57 or better
Stuckey: Will the Air Raid Win the Day?
I said it last week before the USC-Utah game, Utah has historically struggled with Air Raid offenses (primarily Wazzu and one Sonny Dykes Cal team) as a result of their heavy man-to-man defense.
Now Utah gets another Air Raid next week. Now 0-6 ATS vs Air Raids last 5 years. #man
— Stuckey (@Stuckey2) September 21, 2019
USC routinely torched the Utah secondary with deep balls but the Trojans have one of the most talented wide receiving groups in the nation.
The Utes still have one of the best secondaries in the nation, led by two future pros in Justin Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson. It’s a prideful group that I expect to bounce back from that embarrassing performance in LA.
But most importantly, I saw a willingness from Kyle Whittingham to adjust at times last week with some zone. He also moved to a 4-2-5 in recent years to adapt to opposing offenses.
Utah is built to stop the run with strong corners playing man-press on the outside. But that doesn’t matter against an Air Raid offense, especially Washington State, which is passing more than any team in the nation this year, once again.
In last year’s meeting, the Cougars only handed it off five times! You can’t try to play man against the quick-striking spread-you-out Leach offense. Guys will caught up in picks and screens and receivers will be running wide open.
Trying to generate pressure with your defensive line (which Utah can do) while dropping back 8 (including 2 deep) is the most effective way to slow down Anthony Gordon and co.
Also working in Utah’s favor is Washington State’s wide receivers aren’t as talented as USC’s. And it can’t hurt to see the Air Raid two weeks in a row.
I think the Utes have some value under a touchdown here at home — despite the worrisome Air Raid trends, assuming they continue to adjust on defense, which I’m confident they will do.
The Washington State huge blown lead against UCLA last week highlighted a major problem for the Cougs: their defense just isn’t very good right now.
They have three new starters in the secondary, are playing without two starting linebackers and aren’t generating pressure on the quarterback.
Keep in mind that while Washington State does throw more than anybody, it doesn’t play fast. In fact, the Cougs ranked 130th in Adjusted Pace last season.
And you can expect Utah to play slow to try to keep Washington State off of the field and its defense fresh. I think the under actually has a bit of value.
The Pick: Under 56.5