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Oregon State vs. Washington State Football Pick with Analysis

10/22/11

Oregon State visits Washington State this week in a game that likely no one outside the campuses of the two schools cares much about. The game will be played at Century Link Field, home of the Seahawks. Washington State is a 3 point favorite with a total of 58.

As a handicapper, a variety of things can cloud your decision making over the course of the handicapping process. You have revenge and other psychological issues that always pop up as well as venue changes to consider, as in this game, being played at the home of the Seattle Seahawks. Those factors, at times, can cause you to lose track of what's most important, which is the talent level on the field.

So, we'll move right to the x's and o's here and suggest that Washington State is simply the better team right now, in this matchup, and the price is more than reasonable, having to lay just a field goal.

These are two teams moving in different directions. Oregon State is 1-5 and all but certain to not make a bowl game this year. They would need to win 5 of their last 6 games in order to do so, and they still have Stanford and Oregon. You really can't pencil in a win anywhere on their remaining schedule.

Aside from not being very good to begin with, this Oregon State team is banged up. They ended their last game with BYU with 4 defensive players out and got word Monday that their biggest defender, DT Castro Masaniai is out for the year.

Oregon State ranks 94th in the country in points scored and 96th in points allowed. They are 107th against the run and weigh in with a terrible yards per point number offensively of close to 18. They are also -4 in turnover margin.

Washington State on the other hand, has plenty to play for. At 1-2 in conference play, and behind Stanford, Oregon and Washington, there's no hope there, however at 3-3 overall and needing 6 wins to become bowl eligible, that is still very much on the table. They have 6 games remaining and must win half of those. They play Oregon, Cal, Arizona State, Utah and Washington. You can see how this game against the Beavers becomes magnified. You gotta win em when you can and you'd have to agree that this weeks game looks to be the most winnable of all.

Washington State QB Jeff Tuel came back from injury last week and they have a very capable back up QB in Marshall Lobbestael who started in Tuel's absence. They played Stanford to a 10-7 score in the first half last week before Stanford did what they do to everyone when they dominated the 2nd half and put the Cougars away 44-14 for their worst loss of the season.

Heading into the Stanford game the Washington State offense was 2nd in the PAC 12 in total offense. Special teams is also an edge where they rank 2nd in net punting and 3rd in kickoff returns. Think field position!

We'd love to be able to offer you some compelling storyline here to back up the play, but this is simply a case of our handicapping telling us that one team is better than the other here and that's at full strength. Oregon State is banged up and going nowhere while Washington State still very much alive. Our score prediction model has the Cougars by a score of 41-24 so we'll lay the small spot here. Washington State -3

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