Strength & Defense Prompts Heart of Dallas Bowl Pick on Washington

Ross Benjamin

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 6:31 PM GMT

Our College Football capper examines the Heart of Dallas Bowl between Southern Miss & Washington. Join us in reading this betting preview & College Football Picks.

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College Football Pick: Washington on the Spread
Best Available Line: -8.5 (-105) at Heritage

 

Heart of Dallas Bowl
Southern Miss (9-4) and Washington (6-6) will square off in the 2015 Heart of Dallas Bowl on Saturday 12/26. The opening kickoff at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas is slated for 2:20 PM ET. Despite the disparity in these team’s records, Washington is currently (12/15) an 8.5 point favorite according to College Football betting odds at Heritage, and the posted total is 55.5.

 

Strength of Schedules
Kudos goes out to Southern Miss and head coach Todd Monken who turned in a 9-4 season. However, it must be noted that just four of those games came versus opponents who finished the regular season with a winning record, and they went just 1-3 in those contests. Southern Miss is coming off a 45-28 loss to Western Kentucky in the Conference USA Championship Game.

Washington went just 6-6 this season, but seven of their eleven FBS opponents ended the regular season with a winning record. In addition, the PAC-12 is vastly superior from top to bottom in comparison to Conference USA. My personal strength of schedule ratings shows Washington to have a mammoth +16.8 edge over Southern Miss. Ordinarily anything +7.0 or more I consider substantial. Washington finished the regular season with wins of 52-7 over Oregon State, and 45-10 against Washington State (8-4). During the past three seasons, Washington has gone a highly profitable 8-1 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10.0, and has a sizable +21.6 point per game differential in those contests.

 

Eagles Offense versus Huskies Defense
One statistic that really jumped out at me when evaluating this bowl game was in regards to the Washington Huskies defense. Granted this was just a .500 team during the regular season, but it certainly was no fault of their defense. The Huskies stop unit allowed just 17.7 points and 349.9 yards per game this season, and they faced some very explosive offensive attacks in PAC-12 action.

You may be surprised to know that Southern Miss has averaged 40.6 points and 519.8 yards per game this season. However, they’ll be facing unequivocally the most athletic and physical defense its encountered all season in this upcoming bowl game. Their offense’s ability to move the ball with a high degree of consistency will be crucial if they hope to stay competitive. Contrarily, their defense allowed an average of 33.3 points per contest in their final three outings against Western Kentucky, Louisiana Tech, and Old Dominion. With all due respect, none of those three will be mistaken for anywhere near an even middle of the road PAC-12 team.

 

College Football Betting Angle
Any team (Washington) coming off two straight wins that each came by 28 points or more, versus an opponent (Southern Miss) which allowed 37 points or more in their previous game, resulted in those teams going 60-23 ATS (72.2%) during the past ten seasons. The average point per game differential in those 83 contests was +26.0, making Washington -8.5 a solid College Football Pick.