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Stanford has been given a couple tough tasks, and they've stood up to the challenge. This next game may not look like a huge challenge against the Utes, but it definitely isn't going to be easy. Utah does have two losses, but both were respectable, losing in OT to Oregon State and last Thursday to UCLA by seven points. Stanford is -8.5 point favorites on the road at GTBets sportsbook.
Utah is usually a stout home team, but luck hasn't been on their side lately. It's amazing that they only lost by a touchdown to UCLA even though quarterback Travis Wilson threw six interceptions. If he threw four less interceptions, would the Utes have won? If Wilson can control that interception problem, the Utes can keep this one close at home.
Wilson already has nine interceptions on the year with all of them coming in Utah's two losses. It's not a coincidence. Wilson has to be safe with the ball against Stanford or they'll have no chance of coming away with a win. The top option in the receiving game is Dres Anderson, who has gone for 100 yards in four straight games. Their running game is mediocre and lets defenses focus on Wilson and his passing, hence the INTs. Leading RB James Poole has 330 yards on the year, but only managed 26 yards on five carries against UCLA. There's no way Utah can be successful if that continues. Wilson can run as well, but hasn't done much lately if the defenses play him the right way.
Stanford's defense is a hype machine, but they haven't been dominant this year, allowing 21 points per game. The problem for Utah is that its offense isn't in the upper echelon. The last time we saw the Cardinal on the road it was a 55-17 demolishing of Washington State. Without any rushing game, the Cougars were dominated from start to finish.
On the offensive end for the Cardinal, it's all about balance as usual. Kevin Hogan is now 10-0 in his career as a starter. He has thrown an interception in four straight games, which isn't good, especially with how little he's asked to throw the ball. He's attempting just over 20 passes per game at the moment. He hasn't been asked to make that comeback scoring drive yet, and could be a problem for Stanford if it ever comes to it. RB Tyler Gaffney (462 yards, six TDs) and WR Ty Montgomery (383 yards, five TDs) are the Cardinal's biggest playmakers and will be problems for Utah. Remember when Brandin Cooks went for 210 yards and three TDs against the Utes a few weeks ago?
This is the first matchup between these teams since 1996, so there are not many matchup trends to look at. The Cardinal are 4-1 ATS in their last five following an ATS loss, and a solid 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record. The Utes are just 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and have not covered in five straight conference games.
The betting trends at sportsbook.com for this game are fascinating. As far as the pointspread goes, 79% of the action has come in on Stanford. Not all that unusual. However, when looking at the moneyline for this game, 100% of the wagers taken on this game have come in on Stanford! Think about that for a moment. Sportsbook.com is a massive sportsbook. Huge. No one of their players has taken Utah, at home, on the moneline, to win this game straight up!
We are still looking at this game as a potential key release. If we don't use this game as a key, we'll offer a prediction here on this page, but it might not be until Saturday morning!
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