Bet Underdog for Arizona vs. Washington St. NCAAF Picks

Darin Zank

Thursday, October 23, 2014 1:17 PM GMT

Arizona blew a chance to take the inside track in the Pac-12 South race last time out, and is now just 1-4 ATS over its last five games. The Wildcats now hit the Pac-12 road to run with the Cougars of Washington State Saturday evening up Palouse way.

Wildcats-Cougars Betting Odds
This spread on this game has danced around the key number of three; Arizona started off as a road favorite of -3 or -3.5 on the College Football odds board, but as of Thursday morning most books had dropped the 'Cats to -2.5. Apparently, many bettors liked the home-dog Cougars getting the three and the hook in the early betting.

Also, while the total on this game started off at right around 71, as of this writing most books were listing it at 72.5.

 

'Cats-Cougars: The Situation
Arizona returned 13 starters from a team that went 8-5 last year for its third season under Coach Rodriguez, and from our experience college teams often seem to make nice jumps in their third seasons of new coaching regimes. To be honest, we picked this idea up from Phil Steele, but there's good reasoning behind it, and we're not immune to stealing good ideas from elsewhere. A theory like that could come in handy when it comes to college football futures betting.

The Wildcats went off this season getting around 30/1 to win the Pac-12 championship; as of earlier this week they were getting around 12/1.

Arizona opened this season with a 58-13 victory over UNLV, then won at UTSA 26-23 but couldn't cover the spread as a seven-point road favorite. The Wildcats then held off Nevada 35-28 but couldn't cover at -20. Arizona then opened Pac-12 play with a 49-45 win over Cal, hitting on a Hail Mary on the last play of the game to cap a 19-0 run in the final eight minutes. But again the 'Cats couldn’t cover, this time as eight-point favorites.

Arizona then pulled a shocker, beating Oregon outright 31-24 as 21-point dogs in Eugene. But two weeks ago the Wildcats lost at home to USC 28-26, failing on a two-point conversion with a minute left, recovering an onside kick but then missing a 36-yard field goal at the buzzer.

Arizona then had last week off.

The Wildcats have outgained every opponent so far this season, and outrushed four of them.

Washington State returned 14 starters from a team that went 6-7 last year, and is also in its third season under a new coaching regime, with Coach Leach. But at 2-5 SU (3-4 ATS) the Cougars now need three wins in their last five games to become bowl-eligible.

Wazzu opened with a 41-38 loss at home to Rutgers as a seven-point favorite, then lost at Nevada 24-13 as three-point chalk. The Cougars then defeated Portland State 59-21, then lost at Oregon 38-31 but covered as 23-point dogs. They then rallied from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit to win at Utah 28-27, but since have lost that crazy game to Cal 60-59 and, two weeks ago, fell at Stanford 34-17, missing the cover as 16-point dogs.

Washington State also had last week off.

The Cougars have outgained five of seven opponents this season.

So in three games against common foes this year – Nevada, Oregon and Cal – Arizona is 3-0 SU but 1-2 ATS, while Wazzu is 0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS.

 

Wildcats-Cougars Recent History
Arizona had beaten Wazzu five times in a row, but last year, in their first meeting since 2010, the Cougars upset the 'Cats 24-17 as 11-point dogs in Tuscon. Washington State led early 10-0, went to the fourth quarter tied at 17-17, then got a Connor Halliday touchdown pass with two minutes to go to win it.

Wazzu outgained Arizona 420-395 and won time-of-possession by a 34-26 margin.

That game played UNDER its total of 63.

 

Wildcats-Cougars Betting Trends
Washington State is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 home games.

These two teams are a combined 5-8 on the totals this season, mainly because their totals have been posted so high.

 

Injury Update
Arizona freshman RB Nick Wilson, who leads the team in rushing with 574 yards, is dealing with a sore ankle, and his status for Saturday is very uncertain.

 

Wildcats-Cougars Free Pick
This is a tough one; we'd lean toward Arizona because of the better balance on offense, but the 'Cats are nicked up, and a little vulnerable through the air. So we'll take the home dog to win straight up with our College Football picks in this spot.

Free College Football Pick: Washington State at +125 on the moneyline at 5Dimes

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