Washington at Stanford
November 9, 2017
By Brian Edwards
Editor's Note: Brian Edwards owns a 46-30 record (60.5%, +13.3 units) in college football this season. He went 6-1 last Friday and Saturday before a 0-3 mid-week slump with #MACtion cooled him off momentarily. Nevertheless, Brian is ranked third in overall money out of 37 college-football handicappers on VI and is poised to bounce back this weekend! Don't miss out on any of his pay-if-they-win-only selections for Week 12!
Stanford (6-3 straight up, 3-5-1 against the spread) will be in revenge mode Friday night in Palo Alto, where it will take on Washington at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1. Both teams are vying for the Pac-12 North division title, with the Huskies holding a half-game lead over both the Cardinal and Washington State.
Washington (8-1 SU, 6-3 ATS) is 5-1 in league play, while Stanford and the Cougars both own identical 5-2 conference records. Chris Petersen’s team will face Washington St. in the Apple Cup at home in both team’s regular-season finale in two weeks.
As of late Thursday afternoon, most betting shops had Washington installed as a six-point favorite with a total of 45. Bettors could take Stanford on the money line for a +200 return (risk $100 to win $200).
UW is 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS in four road assignments this year. Since taking their only only loss 13-7 at Arizona St. as 17.5-point road ‘chalk,’ the Huskies have won back-to-back home games both SU and ATS vs. UCLA (44-23) and Oregon (38-3). They smashed the Ducks last week as 17.5-point favorites.
Oregon drew first blood with a 30-yard field goal midway through the first quarter, only to see UW score 38 unanswered points. Jake Browning threw for 204 yards and two touchdowns, while Myles Gaskin rushed for 123 yards and one TD on 17 attempts. True freshman running back Salvon Ahmed turned six carries into 84 rushing yards and one TD.
Dante Pettis had a 64-yard punt return for a TD and also grabbed four receptions for 87 yards and one TD. Aaron Fuller contributed four catches for 76 yards, while reserve senior RB Lavon Coleman had a 31-yard TD grab.
For the season, Browning has completed 67.8 percent of his throws for 1,907 yards with a 16/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio. The junior signal caller has also rushed for five TDs to bring his career total to 10. However, Browning hasn’t been sharp in the last three games. He has just two TD passes compared to a pair of interceptions during this span. In addition, Browning threw for only 139 yards in the loss at ASU and just 98 yards vs. UCLA.
Gaskin is now Washington’s third all-time leading rusher behind only Napoleon Kaufman and Chris Polk. The junior RB has produced 918 rushing yards and 10 TDs this year with a 6.2 yards-per-carry average. Gaskin also has 12 catches for 114 yards and two TDs. Coleman (4.8 YPC) has rushed for 325 yards and four TDs, in addition to making eight receptions for 122 yards and two TDs. Ahmed has 298 rushing yards and three TDs while averaging 6.1 YPC.
Pettis is UW’s leading receiver, snaring 49 balls for 571 yards and seven TDs. He is the nation’s leader in all punt-return stats, netting 412 yards on 19 of them with four TDs. That’s good for an incredible 21.7 yards per punt return average.
Washington is ranked No. 1 in the nation in total defense, giving up merely 242.1 yards per game. The Huskies are second in the country in scoring defense (11.1 PPG), sixth at defending the run and third versus the pass. Thanks to Pettis’s spectacular special-teams production, they are 14th in the nation in scoring offense (38.6 PPG) despite having mostly mediocre numbers in other offensive categories.
The UW stop unit is led by junior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven, who has recorded a team-high 59 tackles to go with two forced fumbles, two tackles for loss, one sack and two passes broken up. Taylor Rapp, a sophomore safety, has 40 tackles, two sacks, 1.5 TFL’s and one forced fumble.
Washington lost starting junior CB Jordan Miller to a season-ending ankle injury in mid-October. Miller had 23 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and a team-high five PBU before going down in the Huskies’ seventh game. Also, starting junior WR Chico McClatcher sustained a season-ending ankle injury in late September. He had 10 catches for 128 yards before getting hurt in a Week 4 win at Colorado by a 37-10 count.
Petersen’s team has three others starters that are done for the year in CB Byron Murphy, OT Trey Adams and WR Quinten Pounds. Adams was a second-team All-American last year, but he suffered a bad knee injury in mid-October. Pounds had 10 receptions for 133 yards and one TD before going down last month.
Stanford is undefeated in three home games with a 2-1 spread record. As a home underdog during David Shaw’s seven-year tenure, the Cardinal has compiled a 2-0 record both SU and ATS. This is Stanford’s first home underdog situation since beating Oregon 26-20 as a 10.5-point puppy in 2013.
Going back even further, Stanford has posted a 7-0 spread record with six outright wins as a home ‘dog since its 2007 regular-season finale, a 20-13 win over California as a 14-point puppy.
Stanford saw its five-game winning streak snapped last Saturday when it dropped a 24-21 decision at Washington St. as a 1.5-point road ‘chalk.’ The Cardinal drew first blood on a 52-yard TD run by star RB Bryce Love early in the second quarter, but the Cougars would score 17 unanswered points before a 22-yard TD run by redshirt freshman QB K.J. Costello trimmed the deficit to 17-14 midway through the third.
Then with 2:52 left in the third, Bobby Okereke intercepted Luke Falk and returned it 52 yards for a TD to give Stanford a 21-17 advantage. The lead wouldn’t hold up, though, as Falk found Jamire Calvin for an 11-yard scoring strike with 6:56 remaining. The Cougars held on to preserve the victory.
Washington State actually enjoyed a 430-198 edge in total offense. Love, who sat out a 15-14 come-from-behind win at Oregon State the previous week due to an ankle sprain, wasn’t himself other than the aforementioned TD run. He finished with just 69 rushing yards on 16 attempts, meaning he netted only 19 yards on 15 carries if we left out the 52-yard dash to paydirt.
Costello, who will get the starting nod vs. UW, completed only 9-of-20 passes at WSU for merely 105 yards, and he threw one interception without a TD pass. For the season, Costello has connected on 53-of-87 throws (60.9%) for 622 yards with a 4/1 TD-INT ratio. He adds a scrambling dimension as well, evidenced by 58 rushing yards and three TDs on just eight attempts.
Costello and Keller Chryst have been in and out of the lineup at QB. Chryst has connected on only 53.8 percent of his passes for 937 yards with an 8/4 TD-INT ratio. He has one rushing TD, but his negative five total for rushing yards shows that he isn’t nearly a threat with his legs compared to Costello.
Love was a leading Heisman Trophy candidate before getting injured in late October. The loss and his so-so numbers last week probably eliminated him from that conversation. Nevertheless, Love has been nothing short of sensational in replacing Christian McCaffrey, the school’s third all-time leading rusher despite leaving for the NFL after three seasons. Love has run for 1,456 yards and 12 TDs with an eye-popping 9.6 YPC average. Cameron Scarlett has rushed for 291 yards and six TDs while averaging 4.9 YPC.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has 25 receptions for 386 yards and five TDs, while Trenton Irwin has 28 catches for 308 yards and one TD. Kaden Smith, a redshirt freshman TE who was a five-star recruit out of the Dallas area, has 13 catches for 226 yards and one TD.
Stanford will be without three contributors on defense, although it hasn’t had two of those players (CB Terrence Alexander and LB Sean Barton) since September. More recently, CB Alijah Holder was sidelined by a season-ending knee injury. Holder had recorded 26 tackles, two TFL’s, one interception with a 32-yard return, three PBU and three forced fumbles.
Stanford had won three in a row and seven of the last eight in this rivalry, but Washington absolutely demolished the Cardinal by a 44-6 count as a 3.5-point home favorite last season. The 50 combined points went ‘over’ the 46.5-point total on Coleman’s 25-yard TD run with 1:38 remaining in the final stanza.
Browning was the catalyst, hitting on 15-of-21 pass attempts for 210 yards and three TDs without an interception. Gaskin rushed for 100 yards and two TDs on 18 carries, while Coleman added 74 rushing yards and one TD on 11 attempts. Pettis contributed four receptions for 60 yards.
The ‘under’ is 6-3 overall for Stanford after cashing in each of its last five games. The Cardinal has seen the ‘under’ go 2-1 in its home outings. Stanford’s games have averaged combined scores of 55.0 PPG.
The ‘under’ is 6-3 overall for the Huskies, 4-0 in their road contests and 5-1 in their last six games (regardless of the venue). UW’s games have averaged combined scores of 49.7 PPG.
The ‘under’ has cashed at a 9-4 clip in the last 13 head-to-head meetings between these long-time conference adversaries.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- There are two other games on Friday’s slate: Temple (-2.5) at Cincinnati and BYU at UNLV (-4). After failing to cover the number in their first eight games, the Cougars have picked up their first two ATS winners in back-to-back fashion.
-- Oklahoma State star WR James Washington is listed as ‘questionable’ at Iowa State. Washington has a team-best 52 catches for 1,133 yards and nine TDs. The Cowboys were favored by 6.5 as of Thursday afternoon. The Cyclones own a 6-2 spread record in eight games as home underdogs since Matt Campbell took over prior to the 2016 campaign.
-- Since 2012, Michigan State owns an 8-2 spread record in its last 10 games as a road underdog. The Spartans are catching 17 at Ohio State. They won outright in their last visit to The ‘Shoe in ’15 even though Connor Cook was sidelined with an injury. Looking for a Coach of the Year candidate? Mark Dantonio has to be on your radar after returning only eight of 22 starters following last year’s stunning 3-9 debacle.
-- The ‘over’ has hit in six straight games for both Ohio St. and Maryland.
-- TCU owns a 13-3 spread record as a road underdog since 2009. The Horned Frogs were catching 6.5 at Oklahoma as of Thursday.
-- Florida State was a 17-point underdog at Clemson on Wednesday. This is the Seminoles’ richest spot as underdogs since a 37-10 loss at Florida as 25-point underdogs in Tim Tebow’s final game at The Swamp in 2009. In the words of retired ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman, “we remember…..because we were there!”
-- The ‘under’ has cashed in four straight games for Purdue to improve to 7-2 overall. The Boilermakers are at Northwestern as 4.5-point underdogs Saturday. The total was 48.5 as of Thursday afternoon.
-- The ‘under’ is 8-1 overall for New Mexico, which has lost four in a row while going 1-3 ATS. The Lobos are in College Station to face Texas A&M as 18-point underdogs. The total was 51.5 as of Thursday. Seven of UNM’s last eight games have had 50 combined points or fewer. The ‘under’ had hit in five in a row for the Aggies, but their 42-27 home loss to Auburn last week saw the ‘over’ emerge north of 52.
-- Wake Forest sophomore starting safety and leading tackler Jessie Bates has been downgraded to ‘out’ for Saturday’s game at Syracuse. Without Bates last week, the Demon Deacons gave up 710 yards of total offense at Notre Dame. The Orange has seen the ‘under’ hit in five consecutive games to improve to 8-1 overall. Dino Babers’s squad is in the midst of a 6-0-1 ATS tear in its last seven outings. The ‘Cuse was favored by one as of Thursday afternoon.
-- UCLA is mired in a 1-6 ATS slump with only two outright victories – both at home vs. Colorado and Oregon – in this seven-game stretch. Even worse, star WR Darren Andrews was lost to a season-ending knee injury in last Friday’s 48-17 loss at Utah. Andrews, a second-team All Pac-12 selection in 2016, finished his senior campaign with 60 receptions for 773 yards and 10 TDs. The Bruins’ second-best WR, Jordan Lasley, is ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Arizona St. due to a potential suspension. Lasley has 32 catches for 543 yards and three TDs. On the bright side for UCLA, star QB Josh Rosen is ‘probable’ against the Sun Devils. The Bruins have lost 16 of their 25 games to leave Jim Mora Jr. on a boiling hot seat.
-- Memphis has won 14 in a row in non-Saturday games. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they are at home on Saturday in their last two games. Mike Norvell’s squad has played four of its last five games on Thursday or Friday, including last week’s 41-14 victory at Tulsa. Memphis is off this week before closing with SMU and East Carolina at the Liberty Bowl.
-- Costal Carolina starting QB Tyler Keane is ‘out’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Troy due to a thumb injury. Keane has thrown for 1,440 yards with an 11/5 TD-INT ratio.
-- The visitor has won outright in six straight Iowa-Wisconsin meetings. The Hawkeyes are 6-0 ATS in their last six games as double-digit underdogs going back to the 2012 regular-season finale when they lost 13-7 vs. Nebraska as 16-point ‘dogs. Wisconsin is a 12-point home favorite versus Kirk Ferentz’s 6-3 squad Saturday at Camp Randall on ABC at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.
-- Three key Rutgers starters are listed as ‘questionable’ at Penn State WR/special-teams ace Janarion Grant, LB Deonte Roberts and DE Kemoko Turay compose this important trio. RU owns a 6-1 spread record in its last seven games and has lost by more than 21 just once this season. In bounce-back mode after losing in East Lansing, PSU was installed as a 31-point home ‘chalk’ as of Thursday afternoon.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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