Looking at the rankings with both of these teams in the top 20 of the AP Poll, one would think this should be a close contest. But a deeper look shows that while both teams have the same record, they may not be at the same talent level. That being the case, the Huskies were large -17.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 46 as of Wednesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
BYU has been one of the more difficult teams to pin down in the early season, from upsetting an overrated Arizona team in the opener, to losing at home to Cal and then pulling off an improbable road upset of Wisconsin. This Game should decide just how good the Cougars are, though it’s not like Washington is carving through its opponents. The Huskies fell to Auburn in the opener, and most recently struggled to separate from Utah and Arizona State in Pac-12 play, leading to an early 1-3 mark against the spread.
Washington has the talent, but it’s a wonder how often that will shine through this season. Jake Browning is simply a mediocre quarterback and it looks to be another disappointing season for him already with Four interceptions after five all of last year. He’s competent, yet not a Game breaker with only Aaron Fuller as his top wide out. To move the ball consistently, Browning needs a good performance out of Myles Gaskin and he’s yet to surpass 5.0 yards per carry in a Game after averaging 6.2 ypc all of last year. That could be an issue all season, but at the least Wisconsin ran for 204 yards against BYU so there’s no reason Washington can’t do the same thing.
As for Washington’s defense, that’s another question because it’s also about on the same level as Wisconsin’s. On the positive, BYU didn’t really move the ball against the Badgers outside of one long run as Tanner Mangum had only 89 yards passing so if the Huskies can contain Squally Canada, the Cougars will have trouble finding the end zone. This is still an offense that isn’t good by any means, as it hasn’t scored more than 30 points and they’ve played Arizona and Cal, two teams annually known for having bad defenses.
The best way BYU will be able to cover this Game is through its defense and if it can force Browning into a turnover or two. There’s a chance Washington doesn’t surpass 30 points in this Game, either, so if the Cougars can get on the board a couple times, that may be enough to cover. As long as you have a defense that can make a few stops, that’s been enough to stay tight with Washington and given the high spread, that could be enough for BYU.
The Cougars have covered in their last five road Games and are 4-1 ATS in their last five overall. The Huskies are 1-4 ATS in their last five overall and they haven’t covered in their last Four in non-Conference play. Both teams have trends pointing to the under and that’s why it’s only at 46 points.
Our Pick – BYU +17