College Football Predictions: Washington at Stanford Odds and Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 10/3/2013
The Cardinal will be out for one thing above all else in this one — revenge. Last year Stanford lost in a crushing effort in Washington. The loss had a happy ending — it was the game that led to a QB change and the Kevin Hogan era, and that has certainly turned out well for the team. That game was a defensive battle — 17-13 — with Stanford failing to score an offensive touchdown and managing only 65 yards on the ground a year after they had torched the Huskies for 446 yards. It was unquestionably the low point of the David Shaw era, and he and the team will be hungry for revenge.
Despite the desire to right past wrongs, there is a whole lot on the line in this one. Oregon is very good again this year, so it is very likely that the winner of the Pac-12 North will be unbeaten in conference play. It’s almost as if this game is a divisional semifinal, with the winner having the division title on the line when they play Oregon.
Washington at Stanford Betting Storylines
Even beyond all the storylines, we have a very compelling quarterback battle waiting for us here. Kevin Hogan is 9-0 as the starter of the team — a span that reaches back to after the loss to Washington last year — and he is thriving this year as the team has stretched the field and got more aggressive with their play-calling. Washington’s Keith Price has been very good this year as well. The last win against Arizona, which was played in a monsoon, distorts his stats a bit because the team had to rely on the ground game since the weather would allow little else. Aside from that, though, he has been very effective through the air and is confident. They are two complete and exciting quarterbacks who can make things happen. Stanford probably has a slight edge, but it isn’t the big gap some might expect.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian needs to prove that he isn’t a distraction. As a former USC assistant, and the guy that the team should have hired when they foolishly went with Kiffin instead, he has understandably been linked to the USC job since Kiffin was fired. Sarkisian insists that he wouldn’t leave Washington for anywhere — including USC — and it’s not as hard to believe him as it could be. Washington has some new facilities, and he has already done the work of rebuilding a program from the ground up, so he likely isn’t interested in doing so again. If there is any sign that the team is less than completely focused here, though, then Sark would have a problem that could snowball.
The stakes are huge in this game, and the national spotlight burns bright. That gives the Cardinal a decided edge in this one. This would be the second time in three years that Stanford would move to 5-0, and they have been playing huge games for longer than that, so this is familiar to them. Washington, meanwhile, hasn’t been 5-0 since 1992, which is before most of the team was born. They haven’t been relevant in a long time, and they are far ahead this year of where they have been in recent years. This is uncharted territory for the team, so it is hard to believe that they are prepared for what they are up to face in terms of pressure. That doesn’t mean that they can’t win this game or that you shouldn’t bet on them if you want to. It just means that you have to be particularly sure of your edge in this case because the mental game figures in more than in most cases.
Washington at Stanford Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Cardinal favored by 6.5 points, but thanks to very heavy relative action on Stanford, the line has shifted to 7.5. That’s a move through the key number of 7.0, so it is significant. The total is set at 52.5.
The Huskies are a dreadful 1-7 ATS in their last eight road games at teams with a winning home record, and just 1-4 ATS in their last five games against Stanford. They are, however, 5-1 ATS in their last six conference games. Seven of the last nine meetings between the squads have gone under the total.
College Football Predictions: Washington at Stanford Betting Picks
I respect the Huskies and have been tempted to take them here. Ultimately, though, I can’t do it. Stanford is the far more experienced team, and the immensity of this game will not bother them. The same can’t be assured for Washington. Stanford is a deeper team, and I like the offense better. I’d obviously rather have seven points if I could find it, but at 7.5 the Cardinal are still the correct play.
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