Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/24/2014
Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies, Saturday Sept. 27, 4:15 p.m. ET
It is not often that your head coach leaves for a higher profile program and you are able to significantly upgrade the position as a result. That is exactly what happened at Washington, though, when Steve Sarkisian left for USC and the team was finally able to pry Chris Petersen away from Boise State after so many other schools had tried and failed.
I would take Petersen over Sarkisian every day and twice on Saturdays. He has a lot of work to do before he turns this program into what he wants it to be, but he is off to a solid start. It hasn't been a tough schedule - Illinois or Hawaii have been the toughest opponents, but the Huskies have taken care of business and are 4-0. It hasn't been pretty - they are just 1-3 ATS - but the scoreboard is what matters most at this point. Now, though, he is taking a major step up in class, and we'll have to see what tricks he has up his sleeve. He can rest in the knowledge, at least, that the last time Stanford played in Seattle - in 2012 - the Huskies came out on top.
Stanford at Washington Betting Storylines
The one thing we know about this Stanford team is that they certainly can play defense. They have pitched shutouts against both Army and UC-Davis. They lost to USC, but that wasn't the fault of the defense - USC scored only 13 points, couldn't throw the ball, and aside from a big 154-yard rushing game from Javorius Allen, the Trojans couldn't really run, either. Allen's performance came about mostly because the Trojans knew they couldn't do anything else, so they went to Allen time and again. Anything can happen in college football, but it would qualify as a major shock if the Huskies were to torch the Cardinal for a whole lot of points. What is especially interesting here is that Stanford is doing this despite losing four key defensive starters and the defensive coordinator from last year's team.
Washington has done a better job than many of decoding this Stanford defense in recent years - albeit with a different head coach. There is the win in 2012 that we talked about already, and though Washington lost 31-28 last year they outgained Stanford by 210 yards.
Washington's defense, on the other hand, has had some issues - they allowed 52 points to freaking Eastern Washington. We knew heading into this season that the Washington offense would likely be ahead of the defense given a decent quarterback (when he's not in trouble) and impressive depth at running back. That has certainly been the case so far this year, and that makes this game more interesting - though outside of the game against USC the Cardinal have been solid offensively as well.
The Seattle crowd is certainly a major factor in the NFL. They could be a big one here, too. There was a lot of excitement around the Petersen hiring, and this is the first big test for the new man. Combine that with a high-profile program that fans would want to watch anyway coming into town, and you have the recipe for a tough environment for Stanford to compete in. We have seen time and again in the Pac-12 over the years that the environment can make strange and unpredictable things happen.
Stanford at Washington NCAA Football Betting Odds and Betting Trends
Stanford opened as 7.5-point favorites in this one, and that has slid up slightly to 8 points in most spots. A small majority of bets have been placed on the Cardinal, so there is nothing surprising about the movement. The total opened at 47.5 and has remained stable at that level.
Stanford is 4-1 ATS in their last five games at Washington. Four of those five games have gone "under" the total. Washington has gone under in five of their last six games overall. Stanford has gone under in nine of their last 10 against teams with winning records.
Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies Expert Predictions and Picks
This is a tough one to call at this line. Stanford is the better team, but I am not sure that I trust them enough to cover a number like this. Washington always gets fired up for Stanford, and that will especially be the case as Petersen essentially makes his real debut with this team. Washington will run the ball well enough to keep things interesting. I like the Huskies to cover, but there are certainly easier games to make a buck on this week than this one.
Are you ready for some football winners? Doc's Sports has you covered! We are offering new clients $60 in free picks - these are actually members' picks from expert handicappers who live, breathe and eat college football and have years of successful betting/handicapping experience. Click here for the no-hassle sign up page (no credit card required). Also, get three handicappers for the price of one when you sign up for a full-season football package! Click Here for details.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Get all of this Weeks College Football Picks
Get all of this Weeks guaranteed Expert College Football Picks