Recent History Suggests Utah-Washington Going 'Over' Total

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 16, 2017 11:27 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 11:27 PM UTC

The No. 18 Washington Huskies can still make the Pac-12 title game – which might be just enough incentive for them to be the right NCAAF pick against the Utah Utes on Saturday. 

Free NCAAF Pick: Over 46.5Best Line Offered: Heritage

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The reports of the Washington Huskies’ death were an exaggeration. True, the Huskies (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) are just about done after losing to Stanford last week and falling to No. 18 on the College Football Playoff rankings. But they’re not done done. FiveThirtyEight still gives Washington a 2 percent chance of returning to the CFP. It can happen.

And that might be the difference between the Huskies covering or not Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) when they host the Utah Utes. Otherwise, Washington could fall into the trap of looking ahead to next week’s Apple Cup showdown with their archrival from Washington State. They still could, but it’s less likely with so much on the line, so maybe UW is the right choice as a 17.5-point home fave on the NCAAF odds board.

Slackers at Home

The math looks decent enough. FiveThirtyEight has Washington winning 88 percent of the time, which matches the college football lines almost perfectly according to Wizard of Odds. However, ESPN’s Football Power Index has the Huskies at 94 percent, or –23.5 for an equivalent spread. That’s promising.

Better bring in a third opinion. The Simple Rating System at Sports Reference has the Huskies leading the Pac-12 at 16.08 SRS, well ahead of Utah (5-5 SU, 6-3-1 ATS) at 2.50 SRS. Give Washington the standard three points for playing at Husky Stadium, but take away 0.71 points, according to ESPN’s Brad Edwards and Seth Walder and their Points Above Expectation numbers. Let’s see, carry the one ... that’s around Washington –16. Phooey.

Clouds in My Coffee

Then you have the consensus reports, which have two-thirds of bettors putting Utah in their college football picks, up from 57 percent at the open. These aren’t the kind of numbers we want to see in early betting if we’re going to unload on the Huskies. Losing LB/DE Azeem Victor (suspension) won’t help their cause, either, even if he hasn’t been the same since breaking his leg last year.

So let’s look at the total instead. It’s 46.5 points at press time, down from 47 despite unanimous early support for the OVER. We sent our roving band of street urchins to find out what’s going on here, and they’re telling us the most recent action has been on the UNDER. Must be that lousy Seattle weather, right? But wait: Saturday’s forecast calls for cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 40s. That’s not so bad.

If you’re going to bet on this game, the presumably sharp early action suggests taking the OVER for a small sum. Each of the last three UW-Utah meetings went OVER, as have each of the last three Utes games this year and two of three for Washington. Life could be worse.

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