The Utah Utes will host the Washington State Cougars in a Pac-12 match-up on Saturday. According to CBS Sports, the Utes are ranked No. 50 and Washington State is No. 96. Both teams are 1-2 overall and 0-3 against the spread.
The Utes have won the last two head-to-head meetings. Last season, Utah went on the road and beat Washington State 45-28 as an 11.5 point favorite, and the Utes beat the Cougars 38-13 as a six-point dog.
Washington State routed by USCWashington State went 1-3 last year in the Pac-12 and had eight offensive and seven defensive starters back. The Cougars lost to Utah State 26-23 as a 17-point home favorite to open the season, followed by a 44-21 win as a 31-point favorite over Portland State. Last week the Cougars were blown out 45-14 as a seven-point home dog to USC and outgained 447 to 279 in total yardage.
The Cougars are averaging 27 ppg this year, with 231.3 passing and 135.7 rushing yards per game. Leading the attack is quarterback Jayden De Laura, who has completed 61.4% of his passes for 575 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. De Laura has also run for 66 yards and a touchdown but is questionable for Saturday's game. Back-up quarterback Jarrett Guarantano is also questionable.
Defensively Washington State has allowed 31.7 points, 312 passing yards, and 124 rushing yards per game.
Utah coming of triple-overtime lossThe Utes brought back 10 offensive and eight defensive starters and were picked to finish second behind USC on Pac-12 Football Media Day in the North Division. Utah went 3-2 last season in a brief Pac-12-only schedule.
Last week Utah was upset 33-31 in overtime as an eight-point road favorite against San Diego State. Utah outgained San Diego State 327 to 248 in the loss and won the first down battle 21 to 12. The game was lost under the new overtime rules in the third over-time, with San Diego State converting on a two-point conversion and Utah failing on their attempt. Utah started Charlie Brewer at quarterback but replaced him late in their quarter. Back-up Cameron Rising came in a threw for 153 yards and three touchdowns in the comeback effort. Brewer has since left the program, which means Rising will start against the Cougars.
Utah is averaging 29.3 ppg on the season and 372.3 yards of total offense, picking up 222 passing yards and 150.3 yards rushing. Defensively, the Utes allow 25.3 ppg and 299.3 total yards, 164 rushing yards, and 135.3 yards passing.
- Washington State is 1-9 ATS in their last 10 games
- Utah is 6-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Neither team has covered the spread in a game yet, but I feel a lot better about the Utes. Utah is coming off of back-to-back losses against two quality teams, in BYU and San Diego State. Although the Utes were favored in both losses, the Cougars have not done anything to prove that they would have fared as well in the same situation. Washington State has been unimpressive this year and is on a long stretch of struggling against the spread. Making matters even worse, the top two quarterbacks on the Cougars roster are questionable for Saturday. I will take the Utes to cover the two-touchdown spread.
Full-Game Total Pick
The Utes defense ranked third in the Pac-12 allowing 365 total yardage last season, and is off to an excellent start holding opponents to just 299.3 yards per game this year. There's a possibility that Washington State could be down to their third-string quarterback in this game, but even if healthy, the team is only mediocre offensively.
Utah is in an interesting situation after their starting quarterback was benched late in the game last week and has since left the program. Overall, I'm not confident that we will see enough offensive sparks on either side for this game not to stay under the total. I have the Utes winning this game 34-17, with the under cashing in.