Pac-12 Week 5 Overview: BYU Will Keep it Close at Washington

Monday, September 24, 2018 9:46 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 24, 2018 9:46 PM UTC

No. 20 BYU fields a defense likely good enough to fluster No. 11 Washington in our Pac-12 spotlight clash for Week 5. Check out our pick and preview for all the West Coast conference action here. 

Pac-12 Spotlight: No. 20 BYU at No. 11 Washington (-16.5)Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET (FOX)Free NCAAF Pick: BYU ATSBest Line Offered: Heritage

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No. 11 Washington (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) has allowed one touchdown pass all year. One. It is also tied with top-ranked Alabama with the fourth-best scoring defense, yielding 12.8 points per game.

This doesn’t mean opponents can’t build momentum and sustain drives against the Huskies. They own a 49.6 percent opponent third-down conversion rate against FBS competition, 116th-worst nationally. Nor is head coach Chris Petersen’s offense good at keeping momentum offensively, sporting a pedestrian 39.5 percent conversion mark on third downs.

The inconsistent ability to move the chains is an issue, but the upcoming game condition has seen the unit explode in the past. Washington is 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS as the betting favorite against a ranked opponent, averaging 38.6 points on 421.2 total yards of offense per game.

No. 20 BYU (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS), pegged by oddsmakers with a 5.5 over/under preseason win total, is one of the biggest surprises of 2018. The program climbed into the national rankings this week for the first time since 2015, after dominating FCS McNeese State 30-3 on the heels of a shock win at Wisconsin. The Cougars’ defense is on fire, not letting a single opponent reach its projected team total to date. The unit, which returns seven starters from 2017, is yielding 17.1 points per game.

Visitors catching more than a touchdown on the road in ranked matchups against Pac-12 foes are 10-6 ATS. BYU last kicked off in this situation in 2015, narrowly missing a stunner at UCLA in a 24-23 defeat as 16.5-point underdogs. This Cougars' defense is arguably better than the 2015 version, and the Huskies' offense lacks big-play ability as evident through the first few contests. BYU keeps this too close for comfort. Take the points with your NCAAF picks.

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The grind continues.

Washington is No. 11 in this week's AP Poll.#PurpleReign pic.twitter.com/V3xp7209Gw

— Washington Football (@UW_Football) September 23, 2018
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Around the Pac-12 (All Games Saturday Unless Noted)

UCLA at Colorado (-11), Friday, 9 p.m. ET, on FS1: This is just the seventh time since joining the Pac-12 that Colorado (3-0 SU, 1-2 ATS) will kick off a double-digit favorite in a conference clash. The offense, in fact, posts 37.4 points per game as betting chalk in Pac-12 tests all-time. UCLA (0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS), which puts up 17.3 points per game, had a week to help work out the kinks. The offense will have to prove effective to stay within the number here.

Utah at Washington State (-2), 6 p.m. ET, on PAC12: Utah (2-1 SU, ATS) is just 5-9 SU and ATS all-time in conference games with a line in-between field goals since joining the Pac-12. A porous defense is the issue, surrendering 31.6 points per game. The Utes are 0-8 SU and ATS in this spot when allowing four touchdowns or more. Washington State (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) has put this many at home against unranked opponents in 24 of 30 games since Mike Leach joined as head coach.

No. 7 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame (-4), 7:30 p.m. ET, on NBC: Stanford (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) is just 3-9 SU and 6-5-1 ATS catching points as a road underdog in its quest for the Legend’s Trophy, averaging a measley 17.7 points per game. The Cardinal have not scored more than 21 points in the last nine under such betting conditions. Defense on both sidelines will likely make or break Stanford’s chances.

Oregon State at Arizona State (-22), 10 p.m. ET, on PAC12: Since the formation of the Pac-12, Oregon State (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) is 0-12 SU and 2-9-1 ATS as a road underdog facing a conference rival averaging less than 34 points per game. The defense surrenders 37.0 per tilt, seeing the home team surpass its projected team total in all but three. Arizona State (2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS) enters posting 26.5 per contest.

No. 19 Oregon (-3) at No. 24 California, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1: Oregon (3-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) has failed to cover the spread in four of its last five trips to Cal (3-0 SU, 1-1-1 ATS), and has lost both of two ranked matchups outright since 2000.

USC (-3.5) at Arizona, 10:30 p.m. ET, on ESPN2: The "under" is 10-3 when USC (2-2 SU, 4-0 ATS) suits up away from home against Pac-12 rivals behind head coach Clay Helton. Arizona (2-2 SU, 2-2 ATS), meanwhile, has seen the "under" cash in eight of 10 hosting unranked conference foes with a total south of 67 points. Watch the number here.

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