Washington State Cougars (2-4 SU,3-3 ATS) vs. Stanford Cardinal (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS)
College Football Week 7
Date and Time: Friday, October 9th, 9:00pm EST
Where: Stanford Stadium – Stanford, CA
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WSU +17/STANF-17
Over/Under Total: OFF
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Friday night on ESPN, we have a Pac-12 match-up that should be a good one when the high flying offense of Washington State travels to Stanford to take on the hard nosed defense of the Cardinal. These two teams could not be any more opposite, which makes for an interesting game in most cases. The line opens with Stanford as a 17 point home favorite in the prime time contest, and as of now, there have been no total points set for this game. These large point spread, night games are always fun to predict. Lets just hope we end up on the winning side this time.
Coming into this season, I believed that Stanford could make a run at the football playoffs, now with two losses in their first five games, it is not looking good for the Cardinal to make that final four. Just this past weekend, they have a great chance to knock off a top 10 team in Notre Dame, but a last minute touchdown pass on 4th and 11 crushed the hearts of the Cardinal nation. Stanford is 3-2 overall but they still sit at 1-1 in Pac-12 with a chance to take home a conference championship. Both Stanford losses were by just three points, and both were games they had a chance to win in the final seconds. This team is about two plays and 50 seconds from being undefeated and more than likely a top five team in the country. There is an outside shot of that final four, but it will take Stanford being perfect from this point on, and they are going to need some help along the way from other teams. As for Washington State, I was not sure of my expectations of this season. I guess they are pretty much what I thought they were: a very explosive offense but just an average team otherwise. This team is extremely unpredictable. With a win over Utah and a near upset of Oregon, one would think this team was a true contender, but then they go and get drilled by Nevada and gave up 60 points to Cal. It will take a complete game on both sides of the ball in order to upset Stanford.
From a statistical standpoint, Stanford is one of the nations best defensive teams, if not THE best. They have not given up over 17 points this season, and are holding their opponents to an astounding 8.6 points per game, which is obviously the best in the nation. If Stanford could get the offensive side of the ball clicking, they would be nearly unbeatable, and I am not kidding. With a defense like that you should be able to hang with anyone. The Cardinal offense however is just not that good. They rank 91st in the nation in scoring and both their passing offense and rushing offense are not even ranked in the nation’s top 65. Senior quarterback, Kevin Hogan, has done a decent job this year, but he just is not the big play threat that Andrew Luck once was…but who is? Hogan is averaging nearly 230 yards per game, but I have a feeling this must improve to make a run at not only covering this large spread, but competing for a Pac-12 title.
Like I mentioned earlier, Washington State is the antithesis of Stanford. Washington State leads the nation in passing yards averaging an amazing 523 yards per game. They do not run the ball well, actually, they do run the ball well…when they run it. Washington State is a pass, pass, pass team that is not only pouring on the yards through the air, but they are ranked 27th in scoring with 38 points a game. Defensively, unlike Stanford, Washington State stinks. They are ranked 106th in points allowed and have already given up 41 points to Rutgers and 60 to the California Golden Bears. Not that Stanford has a dangerous offense, but the Cougars must play better defense if they plan to keep this game close and/or win it. Stanford is a smart, disciplined team that can and will take advantage of mishaps or just pure poor play. I like Washington State’s chances in this game, but will they show up and play on both sides of the ball? That is the question.
Between these two teams, Stanford has won the last six match-ups, and not only have they won straight up in those six, but they have covered the Vegas spread in four of those games. Just last season, Stanford went into Washington and put a 55-17 whooping on the Cougars. As of late last night, 55% of the betting public was on the Cougars +17 which was pretty shocking seeing as how the public usually pounds the home favorites, especially in prime time games. Stanford typically plays well after a loss, and now that they are at home with the Cardinal fans behind them, I could see them coming out with a chip on their shoulder, but 18 points, that’s a lot for a conference game.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I am not even going to lie, when I sat down to write this article, I planned on telling you how I thought Washington State would come in and make this a game. No, I do not think that they will win, but I liked them to hang around and make things interesting til the bitter end. With that said, I have changed my mind. I am old school, I like defense over offense. Every national champion over the course of the last three decades won on great defense. I think Stanford comes into this game and makes a statement that they do belong among the nation’s top teams and wins this game 34-10. Washington State can score, but I believe Stanford will grind this out and keep that offense on the sideline. PREDICTION: STANFORD -17. Bet this game and ALL your college/pro football games at -105 discounted odds at the web’s absolute best sportsbook: 5Dimes!