The #24 overall Stanford Cardinal (5-2) host the Washington State Cougars (6-1) this weekend in a critical Pac-12 battle. Kickoff is set for 7:00 PM EST at Stanford Stadium and the game will be available on the Pac 12 Network.
Taking a look at the Week 9 college football odds, Stanford opened as a 3-point home favorite earlier this week. That line has changed only slightly after early betting, as the Cardinal are currently listed at -3.5. The total for the game is sitting at 56 points.
Vegas Betting Preview & Game Odds: Stanford vs Washington State
Washington State won their third game in a row last weekend after a statement victory at home over the previously ranked #12 overall Oregon Ducks. The Cougars came out ready to play from the opening snap and had little difficulty on either side of the ball on route to a 34-20 triumph. Everything seemed to go right for Washington State, especially in the first two quarters where they stormed out to a quick 27-0 lead by halftime. QB Gardner Minshew was very impressive, throwing for 323 yards and four touchdowns. He also was picked off twice by the Ducks, but neither of the turnovers ended up hurting the Cougars at the final whistle. Minshew is only behind Dwayne Haskins in terms of total passing yards by a quarterback so far this season, as he currently sits at 2,745. He has also thrown 23 touchdowns, which is fifth overall. As a whole, Washington State is currently averaging a solid 40.7 points per game on 473.3 total yards. As has been the case with most of the offenses run by Mike Leach over his career, the Cougars are extremely pass-heavy. They are currently ranked 1st overall in the FBS with an average of 400.7 yards per game through the air.
Although they haven’t been quite as impressive on the other side of the ball, Washington State has certainly looked well above average defensively. The Cougars are currently allowing opponents to score 23.3 points per game (46th overall) on 313.6 total yards. They have been very solid against the pass, giving up an average of just 180.4 yards per game through the air (21st overall).
Stanford managed to end their two game losing streak last weekend after an impressive victory over Pac-12 rival Arizona State. The Cardinal struggled to get anything going on offense in the first half, as the game was tied 6-6 at the end of the first half. However, they scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to take a 20-6 before hanging on to win by a final score of 20-13. QB K.J. Costello is currently averaging 263.1 passing yards per game and has thrown 13 touchdowns in seven games. Last years Heisman Trophy runner-up Bryce Love has been bothered by a lingering ankle injury all season long and has struggled to find the same gear he had last year when terrorizing teams on the ground week in and week out. Love did have a nice run to help seal the victory for Stanford last weekend, rumbling for 52 yards and finding the end zone in the first minute of the game. Overall, the offense is currently averaging 24.9 points per game (98th overall).
Things have gone quite well defensively for the Cardinal, as they are currently giving up just 20.7 points per game on 405.0 total yards. However, they are currently well below average at defending against both the pass and the rush, as they are giving up 252.1 and 152.9 yards per game respectively.
NCAA Football Betting Predictions & Free Pick: Washington State +3.5
I’m a little bit shocked that the Cardinal are currently favored by more than a field goal in this particular spot, as the Cougars have been the better team so far this season – at least in my opinion. I know winning games on the road against conference rivals is always a tough task, but Washington State is currently firing on all cylinders offensively and I really don’t think Stanford can keep up. Love has been a much different player this year and is clearly hampered by his ankle injury, as the Cardinal are only averaging 91.6 rushing yards per game (127th overall).
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Washington State is 13-5 ATS over their past 18 games as an underdog. They are also a very impressive 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall and 5-0 ATS over their last five games after a straight up win. Stanford is a brutal 0-4 ATS in their last four games as a home favorite between 0.5 and 4 points.
Stanford is just 98th overall against the pass so far this season, which doesn’t bode well for them in a matchup with the high-flying Cougars. Gardner Minshew has been putting on a passing clinic since Week 1, and I certainly don’t expect that to change this weekend against a team that is allowing over 250 yards per game through the air against some pretty mediocre offenses. Minshew should cruise to another 400+ yard outing, which should be good enough to propel Washington State to at least a cover. I still think they win this one outright, but I certainly won’t say no to the free points – give me the Cougars.