My hot streak ended up scoring 2-3 ATS last week. The week turned on the Oregon St-7 pick which had two things in conflict with it. First, I made a mistake entering the game on my check sheet with OSU as the home team (doh!). Second, QB Chance Nolan was disqualified after the submission. I can’t control the injuries, but suffice it to say I double checked the game sites this week.
As always, the fonts come from the DraftKings Sportsbook website. Odds/lines subject to change. Terms and conditions apply. See Draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Cal @ Colorado, Cal -14.5
Should Cal ever have preferred it more than two touchdowns on the road in a tag team match? yes! If they were playing this version of Colorado, I would take them in a heartbeat. The Buffs didn’t hold an opponent below 38 points and Cal showed they had at least the ability to offensive fireworks by holding a 49-point opponent in Arizona two weeks ago (we’ll conveniently ignore the egg laid at Pullman last week). Cal’s Jaydn Ott will be the offensive key against a defense who gives up a stunning 294 dash per game.
Cal 40 – Colorado 20
Stanford @ Notre Dame, ND -16.5
Stanford lost in a Sapphire-style TD pass in the last seconds against Oregon State last week. They still have Arizona on the schedule, but the chances of a single FBS win seem few and far between. The plot here is the widest spread. Notre Dame’s triple win streak did not include a winning margin of more than 10 points. Casey Filkins has proven to be a solid hasty choice since taking the job from EJ Smith. Tanner Mackie can direct the ball to a cadre of large receivers. Drew Payne has put together two solid games under the Irish attacking center, but they haven’t been explosive. While Stanford’s defense is the weakest unit of the match, their attack should be able to keep it within a large spread.
Notre Dame 35 – Stanford 21
USC @ Utah, Utah -3.5
Yes, Utes is coming off a UCLA loss that ends any CFP hopes at the end of the year. It is still important to remember that this team has lost two away games against quality opponents and has dominated at home. The University of Southern California has not faced this type of test far from the runway. Utah’s defense was surprisingly average against outstanding opponents. The big UCLA and Florida USC ground games may be guiding more Travis Dye this time around. Troy’s defense was questionable as well, but he kept his head above the water by forcing turnovers and keeping teams out of the finish zone to finish driving. This game has to be a barn burner and stats don’t dictate an easy choice either way. I will go with the home team for a close match.
Utah 35 – USC 31
Washington State @ Oregon, OSU-4
Two PNW teams with 4-2 records (1-2 in the conference) and a chance to differentiate themselves in the crowded midst of the conference. WSU offense has seen its ups and downs, and as of late, it hasn’t been able to maintain leadership after jumping to the early lead against USC. The Beavers had another game down to the last seconds and a massive win over Stanford. It wasn’t their best look of the year but Ben Gulbranson led a comeback with Nolan’s chance out of the game. Nolan’s TBD stature remains in this mode, although his own performance has been uneven. Both teams have defensive strengths that align well with the opponent’s offensive tendencies – OSU is stronger against the pass, and is WSU’s preferred attacking position, while WSU defends running well, as Beavers like to focus their attack. The streak opened at OSU -3 and moved in favor of the Beavers despite uncertainty about Nolan. It probably won’t matter to the players on Saturday night, but the Cogs have won eight straight times in this series, including four at Corvallis. If you asked me to pick this game 10 times, I might pick each team five times, but as of now, I’d pick Cougs.
Washington State 31 – Oregon 30
Arizona @ Washington, Washington -15.5
There are no individual stats that perfectly describe a player or team, but some are better than others. One of my favorite things to review each week are the expected points added from CFBGraphs (statsowar on Twitter). The EPA tracks each play and assigns a point value to the yardage score based on attack and defense position. By this measure, the Dawgs have offense number 4 in the entire country… and defense number 115. Going a level deeper, Husky’s defense ranks 68The tenth Against running and 101Street against the pass. After watching every single shot of the season, all of these numbers reflect my impression of the team. The abuse is very good and can be elite at times. The running defense isn’t great, but it’s passable, and the pass defense was insane.
With these shortcomings in mind, perhaps not the ideal time to welcome a happy traffic violation led by QB Jayden de Laura and WR star Jacob Cowing to Montlake. If UW Can’t Slow Down Arizona St., Backup QB, Couldn’t This Week Be Worse? I’m a little more optimistic based on some qualitative factors. First off, Husky’s defense (especially the passing dash) has looked like a different unit at home than abroad this season. The appearances of Bralen Trice, ZTF, Jeremiah Martin and the company could buy the precious seconds secondary where the crashes were occurring. Second, the past week felt like an inflection point, both in health and in tactics. As for the health component, we have to hope another week helps to get more bodies on the field and heal some of those bodies that were hurting last week. In terms of tactics, I must hope the coaching staff has pinpointed the issues with leaving the likes of Alex Cook and Kam Fabiculanan in one-on-one coverage with wide receivers. Perhaps that is wishful thinking, but it looks like there should be chances of at least marginal improvement this week.
Another reason for optimism is that Arizona’s defense is no better. Remember where I started by explaining how a frustrated UW defense ranked 115The tenth nationally? Well, wild cats are worse – 119The tenth. Gates will open in both directions. The question becomes whether you trust Michael Bennex or Jayden de Laura more to avoid mistakes in the penalty shootout at Husky Stadium. My faith in Bennex and the teams receiving him remains high, and even the running game should be able to thrive against this defense. It’s impossible to get close to a 15.5 point spread, but I think Dawgs will at least get back into the winner’s circle this week.
Washington 41 – Arizona 37
What will be the outcome of the UW-Arizona game?
Washington wins by more than 15
Washington wins by 15 or less
79 votes total