College Football Picks: Stanford vs. Washington State

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, September 24, 2013 2:33 PM GMT

Tuesday, Sep. 24, 2013 2:33 PM GMT

The Stanford Cardinal have really dominated the Washington State Cougars in recent years, but things may be different at CenturyLink Field Saturday. How should you look at this game before placing your college football picks?

 

Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this Pac-12 Conference matchup in Seattle, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Take a look at my College Football Picks: Opening Odds Report for Week 5.

Rolling along

The Stanford Cardinal enters the weekend with the nation’s second-best overall winning streak at 11 games, as it comes off a 42-28 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils as 6.5-point home favorites last Saturday.

The Cardinals are a dominating 31-6 SU against conference opponents over the last four-plus seasons, while they’ve gone 13-6-1 ATS in that situation since 2011.

Turning the program around

Washington State is a dangerous underdog in this affair, as it enters with a 3-1 record for the first time since 2006—with the only loss coming in its season opener against the Auburn Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium. 

The Cougars are a disappointing 2-8 SU versus teams with a winning record the last two-plus seasons, but have covered the number in eight of those affairs.

Forcing turnovers 

College football handicappers often overlook turnover margin when breaking down games, but it’s important to point out that the Cardinal have forced opponents into making mistakes in 27 consecutive games—the longest such streak in the country.

Stanford is also a dominating 24-1 under head coach David Shaw when out-rushing an opponent—a statistic that fits nicely with winning the turnover battle.

Series history 

The Cougars would rather play this game in Pullman, but they’ll look to snap a five-game losing streak in this series on a neutral field in their home state. 

Washington State has lost those five games by an average of 27 points, but did manage to cover as 25-point road underdogs in a 24-17 defeat in last year’s meeting.

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Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Cougars with their college football picks, as the point spread continues to plummet each time the number reaches 10.5 in the market—a clear indication that sharp action is grabbing the points at that level. 

College Football Pick:  Washington State Cougars +10

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