Washington Huskies Odds to win the College Football National Championship with Expert Betting Predictions
Under Chris Petersen, Washington has climbed back into national relevance. It has been impressive. Now Petersen has two things to worry about - staying relevant over the long haul and taking the next step from contenders to the top of the heap. Oregon and Stanford have shown that the former is possible in the Pac-12 in recent years, and USC showed that the conference can provide the latter, too. But is Washington ready for primetime now that they will have a target on their backs? And can they find a way to close what was obviously a massive gap between them and Alabama last year?
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2016 in a Nutshell
The team wound up 12-2 last year, which not a lot of teams in the country would complain about. The big problem, though, is that they lost to the two best teams they played. USC doubled them up 26-13 in Seattle, and Alabama totally overwhelmed them in the national semifinal in a game that wasn't anywhere near as close as the 24-7 score. So while there was a whole lot of good - they beat four ranked teams, they put up 70 against Oregon and 66 against Cal, and they absolutely dominated the Pac-12 Championship Game - there is still a whole lot of work to do.
Key Additions and Departures
The team suffered some big losses in the draft. Stud receiver John Ross III went ninth overall, and three starters in the secondary all went in the second round. Losing Ross hurts the offense, but most of the rest of the key pieces around stud QB Jake Browning are back, and there is talent to step in for Ross. The secondary is a bigger concern - they lost the best defensive player in safety Budda Baker as well as their top three corners. There is lots of talent there still but not a whole lot of experience. This team is going to need a lot of luck to avoid losing a lot of ground defensively.
The incoming recruiting class is Top 25 nationally, but not by much - in part at least because they brought in only 18 players. They have a couple of talented corners who could find their way onto the field in a hurry if they prove to be ready.
Washington Huskies Schedule Analysis
The Huskies are in the conversation for most pathetic nonconference schedule in the entire country. They travel to Rutgers to open the season then host Montana and Fresno State. Truly pathetic. They had better hope that a playoff spot doesn't come down to nonconference statements, because they won't make any there. They play at Stanford, but the rest of the road schedule is manageable. And they don't have to play USC at all. That's more of a problem than a benefit, though. Stanford could be below their best and yet that could be their best win. This team could win a whole lot of games this year and still not get the nod for it because of the weakness of the schedule.
Their biggest challenge, and by far their most important game, could be the Pac-12 Championship Game - especially if USC makes it that far. That one game could make or break this season. Given the rest of the schedule, it will likely be crucial to win that game handily against a good team to have a legitimate playoff shot.
2017-18 Washington Huskies Betting Odds and Trends
The Huskies sit at +2800 to win the national title, which puts them behind nine other teams. That seems fair. They are likely to win plenty of games, but they won't be seasoned against top competition and aren't likely to get the benefit of the doubt if they are up against other squads for a final spot in the playoff. They are the second choice to win the Pac-12 at +225, behind USC at -110. Oddsmakers like them in a big way in their opener - they are 30.5-point road favorites at Rutgers. And they are bettable at that price - Rutgers is terrible. Jake Browning is the ninth choice to win the Heisman at +1600. There could be some value in that based on his talent alone, but losing Ross hurts, and the lack of marquee games will hurt him - especially given his lack of wide exposure opportunities given his time zone. He'd be much easier to like if he had a chance to play Heisman favorite Sam Darnold head-to-head.
2017-18 Washington Huskies Predictions and College Football Picks
I like their chances to win 11 or 12 games. And it won't mean much. The schedule is awful. That will make it tough to make the playoff and really tough to know what they really are if they do make it that far. I don't see any way that we can bet this team at these prices.
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