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Washington

vs.

Utah

College Football

Pick

9/15/18

Washington’s hopes of the College Football Playoff aren’t completely gone, but it will have to win the rest of its games, including this one at Utah. The Utes are far from a top team, but they are always a threat for an upset, especially at home. This one fits into that category, though the Huskies are -7 point road favorites with an over/under of 47.5 points at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

Utah is one of the few teams in the Pac-12 with as much returning offensive talent as Washington. Sure, the Utes didn’t show that in their most recent 17-6 win over Northern Illinois, but this team isn’t much different than the one that battled the Huskies last year. Washington barely won that game at home and needed 10 points in the final minute to take it 33-30. That says it all and this game won’t be any easier and playing at Rice-Eccles Stadium makes it more difficult.

To cover and win this game, Utah’s offense has to do more. Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss racked up yards against NIU, but they’ll need points in this one, similar to the last meeting. Huntley threw for 293 yards and ran for 48 more, which kept the chains moving and the Washington offense off the field. As long as Huntley and Moss can do that in this game, there’s a decent chance they can cover with the spread at a touchdown. Top receiver Britain Covey is also a nice boost, as he hasn’t played since 2015. Washington’s defense is good, but it can be beat and Auburn showed that in the opener. It’s the same group that Huntley dealt with last season and while his numbers don’t have to pop off the page, keeping possession will be important.

Of course, none of that matters if Utah’s defense doesn’t hold up. The only reason the Huskies won last season was because of Jake Browning, who threw for 354 yards. Utah’s defense hasn’t seen much quality in the first two games and after returning only four starters, there’s reason to believe UW will have an edge in this matchup. 

That said, Washington’s offense looks to be in about the same mold as last year and it disappointed fairly often. Most notably, the Huskies have lost their last four road games (two neutral) with one of those coming at Arizona State last year. That’s an immediate worry along with Myles Gaskin’s early numbers at only four yards per carry. Surprisingly, he was worse against North Dakota, managing just 53 yards on 15 carries in a 45-3 win. If Gaskin has trouble finding holes, that will only lead to more work for Browning and top receiver Aaron Fuller. An interesting stat is that Gaskin only has one reception this season after catching six balls for 114 yards in last year’s matchup with Utah.

UW still has hopes of the CFP, but winning by a touchdown on the road against a team it had trouble with last year isn’t a given. If Utah’s offense can figure things out between Huntley and Moss, they should at least keep the score close.

The Huskies are 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games. The Utes are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight at home. The over has hit in the last four meetings between these schools and the underdog has covered in the last five.

Our Pick - Utah +5.5

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