College Football Picks: Death in the Desert as #16 Arizona Hosts Washington St.

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 1:18 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 1:18 PM UTC

I'm taking a look at the PAC 12 matchup between the Washington State and Arizona. Take a look at the betting odds break down and a prediction for my free college football pick.

Washington State vs. Arizona (-7) 4:00 PM EST 
Washington State travels to the 3,000 foot altitude of Tucson for this PAC 12 afternoon game in the sun and heat of the mountain desert. It is a far change from the climate of the Palouse in Eastern Washington. When these teams met last season at Washington State, Arizona prevailed by a score of 59-37. But that 22 point victory would not prevent them from being on guard, for the last time Washington State traveled her they won outright vs the Wildcats, 24-17, as 11 point dog. Forewarned is forearmed.

This will be a contest of diverse offenses. Washington State is offensively imbalanced; they run the ball an average of only 24 times a game for 87/3.6, while passing the ball an average of 55 times a game for 398 YPG. That success has worked well for the Cougars in going 2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS in the PAC 12 season to date. They have covered against Cal, won outright at Oregon, and beat Oregon State last week, 52-31. Those three pointspread victories have brought a major adjustment to this betting line, as Arizona is now laying 10 points less than what they would have been opening week.

In addition, this line has also been impacted in our favor by Arizona’s two contests, a 56-30 loss on this field to UCLA followed by a 55-17 loss at Stanford. Key commonality in each of those games was they played without their most important offensive member, QB Solomon (concussion). Since the return of Solomon the last two weeks, Arizona has won 44-7 vs. Oregon State, outgaining the Beavers 644-249, and 38-31 at Colorado last week, outgaining Colorado 616-467. In each case they have shown exquisite offensive balance, running and passing for at least 276 YPG in each of those games.

That is a clear reflection of Arizona’s numbers to date, for they average 299 RYPG on 6.6 YPR overland, along with passing for 243YPG. The reason why this balanced offense excels once again this Saturday is that Washington State allows 208 YPG, both running and passing.


Final Analysis
Little doubt that the home standing Wildcats at this value price will have their choice to succeed either running or passing the football.  It is a good reason why it will be “death in the desert for the Pullman Puma” in the high desert heat of this Saturday afternoon. Knowing all the above, do I even need to assume that you will be putting the college football odds in your favor when you join me for my college football pick of Arizona.

College Football Pick: Arizona -7 at Heritage

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