Washington Huskies at Colorado Buffaloes Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
Washington Huskies at Colorado Buffaloes, Saturday Sept. 23, 10 p.m. ET
For a long time last year Washington looked good. Really good. And then they were badly exposed in the end by Alabama. Teams that face a setback like that can either build on it and take a step forward or be beaten down by it and fail to reach nearly the same heights. And our problem is that through three games we still have no idea which is the case with this Washington team. They have played a truly laughable schedule up to this point - Rutgers, Montana and Fresno State in that order. They have looked very strong in the last 10 of their 12 quarters, but that proves nothing other than that the Huskies are at least somewhat competent. They have not been remotely tested so far, and they face tougher opposition in practice than they have in any game so far. By far. Colorado is probably not the best team that Washington will play this year, but they are dramatically better than what the Huskies have faced so far. We don't know much about the Buffaloes, either, of course - their schedule makes the Huskies' look like a murderer's row. So where does that leave us?
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Washington at Colorado Betting Storylines
The last time these teams met was in last year's Pac-12 Championship Game. It got ugly, with Washington winning 41-10 in a game that wasn't as close as the score. Steven Montez only played part of the game at QB for Colorado, and he had no luck, but now he is the unquestioned starter. The sophomore is talented and has taken strides forward from his limited play last year. He hasn't seen a defense anything like this one, though, so his play will be a defining characteristic in the outcome of the game. On the surface Washington has a huge advantage at QB. Jake Browning is a very talented QB, and he has been excellent this year. Against Colorado, though, he was far from his best. He had two touchdowns without an interception, but he completed just nine of 24 passes for 118 yards. Colorado obviously had a recipe for dealing with Browning on that day. It wasn't a perfect recipe by any means - the Washington offense scored 34 points and ran for 265 yards. But it was more effective against Browning than anyone was last year. If they can build on that then they could make things interesting.
Offensive lines are always important in games, but that is particularly true here. Neither offensive line has been very good this year. Montez has spent too much time running for his life, and the Colorado running game has struggled against inferior competition. Washington has a pass rush that should be able to exploit those issues. The Huskies, though, have struggled even more up front. They were a team last year that was very strong on the ground, but they managed just 92 rushing yards against Fresno State and 84 against Rutgers. Colorado's front seven has been fantastic against the run this year to date, though obviously that was against much weaker competition. It was that running game that gave Colorado so many troubles last year when the teams met, but if they can continue their hot play then they can really make this one interesting.
Washington at Colorado Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Washington favored by 10 points. It has been on the climb since. The number of 11 is widely available, with 11.5 and even 12 currently available at certain shops. An average of 60 percent of bets have been on Washington, so it is no surprise the line is climbing, and it could climb higher by game time - though without a serious development it isn't likely to go through the key number of 14. The total opened at 51.5 and has since fallen to an even 50.
Washington, who did not cover the spread last week against Fresno State, is a very strong 19-9 ATS in their last 28 games following an ATS loss. They are, however, 2-5 ATS in their last seven following a straight up win of more than 20 points. Colorado is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games and 5-2 ATS in their last seven in September, but they are just 1-5 ATS in their last six overall.
Washington at Colorado Predictions and Picks
The underdog is attractive here. This is a lot of points for Washington to give up on the road when they haven't been tested and when their offensive line is struggling. Washington is unquestionably the better team, and they should be able to win this game, but the chance that Colorado can at least keep it close is strong. Colorado is the pick.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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