The Utah Utes travel to California this weekend to take on the #14 Stanford Cardinal in a Pac-12 matchup. Kickoff is set for 10:30 PM EST at Stanford Stadium and the game will be available on ESPN.
Taking a look at the Week 6 college football odds, Stanford opened as a 5-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has barely moved at all after early betting, as the Cardinal are currently listed at -4.5. The total for the game is sitting at 46 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Stanford vs Utah
Utah lost a heart-breaker to Washington State last weekend, falling 28-24 to drop back to .500 on the season. The Utes looked like they were going to pull off the upset, as they had a 24-21 lead with under five minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. The Cougars managed to score a late touchdown to take the lead and Utah couldn’t find a way to answer. The Utes offense is lead by RB Zack Moss, who is rushing for almost 100 yards per game so far this year. Moss gets almost 20 touches per game and has already found the end zone four times. QB Tyler Huntley has been somewhat serviceable as well, averaging 200+ passing yards per game while throwing four touchdowns. As a whole, Utah is currently averaging 22.3 points per game on 381.0 total yards.
The Utes are one of the best defensive teams in the entire country, limiting opponents to an average of 18.4 points on just 264.8 total yards. Utah has been especially strong against the run, as they are currently allowing an average of just 83.8 rushing yards per game (3rd overall).
Stanford got embarrassed by Notre Dame last weekend, losing 38-17 to a tough Fighting Irish team. It was the first loss of the season for the Cardinal after they had defeated San Diego State, USC, UC Davis, and Oregon to open their year. It was a good sign that the game was a lot closer than the final score suggested, as Stanford only trailed 24-17 late in the 3rd quarter. QB K.J. Costello has played fairly well, averaging almost 250 yards per game to go along with 11 touchdowns. The biggest concern for the Cardinal has to be the play of star RB Bryce Love, who appears to have fallen back to earth a bit this year. Love is averaging just 81.8 rushing yards per game this year, far below his usual numbers. He also appears to be experiencing the same ankle troubles that bothered him at times in 2017-18. While he has found the end zone three times, Stanford really has to get him going soon if they expect to be ranked higher than #15 or so in the AP Top 25 by the end of the 2018-19 season.
The Cardinal have been fairly strong defensively, giving up an average of just 18.4 points per game on an average of 395.4 total yards. They have struggled a little bit against the pass though, as opponents are currently averaging 242.6 yards per game through the air (91st).
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Utah +4.5
It’s really tempting to take the free points in this particular spot, especially when considering how well Utah has played against the run so far this season. Bryce Love is also still questionable for Saturday in what is looking like it will be a true game time decision. I’m not expecting this game to have a lot of scoring, especially if Love is unable to play. I think the current line is just a little bit too generous, as I really do think this could be a spot where Utah either pulls off an upset or loses by a late field goal. Both teams are averaging around the same number of points (22 per game for the Utes, 26 for Stanford) while giving up less than 20 points per game.
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Both of these teams have performed well against the spread lately. Utah is 8-3 ATS over their past 11 road games and 7-2-1 ATS in their past 10 games against teams with winning records. The Utes are also 17-5 ATS over their past 22 road games against home teams that have a winning record. Stanford is 14-3 over their last 17 games following a straight up loss and 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games. However, they are 0-3-1 ATS over their last four games against Utah.
I’m not overly concerned even if Love does manage to play on Saturday, as he has been held under 100 yards rushing several times already this season. I fully expect that trend to continue this week against one of the best rush defenses in the entire country. Both teams should be able to move the ball through the air, especially the Utes. This really is shaping up to be a 20-17 or 24-21 type of game, and while I think Stanford will likely be able to pull off a late home victory, Utah should find a way to stay within a field goal. I’ll take the Utes and the free 4.5 points.