Washington State Cougars at No. 24 Stanford Cardinal Pick
No. 14 Washington State Cougars (6-1 SU, 7-0 ATS) at No. 24 Stanford Cardinal (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS)
When: Saturday, October 27, 2018 7:0PM EST
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA.
TV: PAC 12 Network
By: Wilson, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WSU +3.5/STAN -3.5
Power Ratings: Stanford by 7
Takeaways from Week 8
The Washington State Cougars absolutely dominated the Oregon Ducks in the first half last weekend in Pullman where the Cougs hosted College Game Day for the first time in the school’s history. WSU came out on the first drive and drove all the way down to the red zone before making their only mistake of the half when Cougar QB Gardner Minshew threw an interception that killed the early drive. However, after a quick 3 and out by Oregon the Cougs rushed back down field with a variety of quick passes over the middle and in the flat to either RB Williams or Borghi. Mixing in the run and keeping Oregon off balance helped the Cougs cement an impressive and somewhat surprising 27-0 lead going into the Locker room at halftime. Defensively, the Cougs looked great in the first two quarters as they forced Oregon to punt by getting stops on third down and pressuring the pocket. After surviving a dismal third quarter where the WSU defense looked like they were shell-shocked by the Ducks as they gave up over 200 yards between the rush and pass—the Cougs rallied in the 4th to close out the game. I credit a first half shutout to perhaps causing the Coug’s D to come out a bit complacent. Wazzu’s Minshew II made three huge passing plays down the stretch, one on a 4th and 6 for a first down then ultimately the game sealing TD pass to give the Cougs the victory.
Stanford is coming off a week 8 win over the ASU Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium last Thursday night. Cardinal QB K.J. Costello was 22/29 for 231 yards and one TD but this game was a battle of FG kickers until midway through the third quarter—it was a whopping 6-3 Stanford lead at the half. The Cardinal are not as strong as they’ve been in the past but they do have a good team defense and their QB can make plays at times. More than not, the Card’s offense is stagnant and was just 47% efficient on third down conversions (8/17). Stanford had 358 total offensive yards—Washington State averages over 400 yards in passing alone and when they establish the run it can cause even more problems for the Cardinal defense. The Cardinal D is usually tough on the run which caters well to the Cougs air-raid but Stanford is a traditional grind-it-out rush attack which may bode well for them as WSU has trouble containing the run at times.
How the Public is Betting the Cougars/Cardinal Game
After all the hype WSU received last week regarding their first College Game Day Show in Pullman coupled with their win over No. 12 Oregon (34-20) it is not surprising the public is betting 58% and backing WSU while just 42% of bettors are on the home favorite Stanford. With the current spread at Oregon -3.5 I must put my wager on the Cougars here for many reasons—most importantly they are 7-0 ATS this season—I’m not going against this stat! WSU’s offense is averaging 40.7 ppg and their D is allowing 23 ppg—Stanford will really have to step up their game to keep the Cougs out of the end zone. This is one of those years where WSU has more weapons and playmakers than Stanford. It will be a grind early as each team gets a feel but I see WSU hitting their pace and covering this spread up.
Washington State has won the last two contests against Stanford, 24-21 in 2017, and 42-16 in 2016. Most recently, the Cougs have gone 2-0 ATS and 2-0 straight up versus the Cardinal. The total has gone over only once in the last three matchups. Last year the Cougars dominated in total yards against Stanford (430 to 198), passing 337 (WSU) 105 (STAN), rushing 93 (WSU, 93 (STAN).
Washington State is healthy but some concerns are:
- 10/21 DB Sean Harper Jr. is questionable for Saturday’s game vs. Stanford (undisclosed)
- 10/15 DL Nnamdi Oguayo is out indefinitely (undisclosed)
- Stanford has some potentially significant injuries:
- 10/21 RB Bryce Love left last game, is questionable Saturday vs. WSU (Ankle)
- 10/21 QB K.J. Costello injured last game, is probable Saturday vs. WSU (Hand)
- 10/21 OL Nate Herbig is questionable Saturday vs. WSU (undisclosed)
When Washington State has the Ball
WSU will spread the Stanford defense out with their air-raid attack and multiple motion sets. QB, Gardner Minshew, is one of the top passers in the country and he can read defenses—way better than Luke Faulk could—which will force the Cardinal to adjust defensively on the fly. WSU’s O-line has done a stellar job of protecting Minshew, and if they continue to do this the Cougs should move the ball well both passing and running. WSU is scoring more points on the road (44.3) than at home this season (40).
When Stanford has the Ball
If Bryce Love is healthy the Cardinal can run the pigskin—they are a run first team even though they are averaging only 92 yards per game on the ground. QB Costello is crafty and will make big plays if he has time in the pocket. Stanford will be watching a lot of film on the Cougs D-line which is suspect to give up some rushing yards but Stanford has not been a threat this season rushing. Stanford is averaging 24.7 ppg at home this season. Stanford is not as efficient on offense as WSU and this will be evident the further along this game goes.
- WSU is 2-0 ATS and 2-0 straight up versus Stanford in the last two years.Only one game of the last three has gone over the total.
- In games played at Stanford Stadium since 1992, the Cardinal are 7-6 ATS and 8-5 SU against Washington State.
- In addition, 6 of 11 games played at Stanford between these teams has gone over the total.
- Overall in this series since 1992, the Cardinal are 15-9 ATS and 16-8 SU while 13 of 21 games have gone under the total.
Decent football weather for a Saturday afternoon in Northern California! Game time temps are expected to be sunny and 72 at kickoff with the low a nice 60 degrees and currently no chance of rain. Humidity is projected to be at 66%.
Dave Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Spread
WSU comes into this contest with the higher AP ranking but it’s the home team that gets the -3.5 as of this writing. I know Stanford is always a tough team to contend with and especially in the Farm, but WSU has to many weapons this go-round and will utilize them all in this contest. This is certainly a statement game for both squads as they battle for the Pac-12 North. Washington State is healthier and more explosive this season than the Cardinal. WSU QB, Gardner Minshew II has captured the national spotlight with not only his signature mustache but more so with his play on the field—his ability to get the job done will ultimately be the difference this weekend. I like the Cougars to hit their stride and take the road win here and cover the points.
Wilson’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Washington State Cougars cover. Luck to ya.