Similar to the past few years under Mike Leach, Washington State is again one of the more surprising teams in the conference, sitting with a legit chance to win the Pac-12 North, already with wins over Utah and Oregon. Stanford could still get there, though a trip to Washington is standing in its way (WSU hosts UW in the Apple Cup this year). The Cardinal were still -3 point home favorites with an over/under of 53.5 (down from 55.5) as of Tuesday at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
This Game should be fun and that’s how the last few have gone, Washington State covering all of them and winning the last two outright. The Cougars showed they had a strong enough defense in the wins against Oregon and Utah and that could be what gets them a road upset. In fact, if it weren’t for a late comeback by USC, this team could be undefeated. Stanford has been a little more all over the place this season, getting smoked by both Notre Dame and Utah, but road wins at Oregon and ASU are impressive no matter how they happened.
To win, Stanford needs to move the ball on the ground and that isn’t happening these days with a beat up Bryce Love, who had just 21 yards on 11 carries against ASU. As a team, the Cardinal are averaging 3.1 yards per carry and against a team like Washington State, that probably won’t cut it. Even when Love was rushing well in 2017, Stanford still struggled to move the ball in last year’s 24-21 loss as they had just 198 total yards. Similar to recent Games, K.J. Costello will be asked to air it out more and with just three touchdowns in the last three Games, that may not be enough.
The Cardinal, which are giving up over 400 yards per Game, will need to get another top performance out of their defense after holding ASU to 13 points last Game. The difference is that Wazzu has been able to Scoreagainst every defense, already posting 36 against USC and 28 against Utah. For Stanford to win and cover, it will likely need to hold WSU below 24 points.
The Cougars have gotten plenty out of running backs James Williams and Max Borghi the last couple Games, but it’s been Gardner Minshew and the Air Raid that is continuing to give opponents problems. Minshew has thrown for at least 319 yards in every Game and has three touchdowns in all but the EWU win because he didn’t need another touchdown. He’s picked up where LUke Falk left and has the Cougars in a spot to steal the division. In the last three years, this offense has scored 24, 42 and 28 points against Stanford and if it reaches the 24-point minimum again, that may be too much for Stanford. The Cardinal aren’t getting enough out of their offense at the moment, not to mention WSU just held a better Oregon offense to 20 points.
The Cougars have covered their last seven Games overall, while the Cardinal are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Games overall. The under is 11-4-1 in the last 16 meetings between these schools.
Our Pick – Washington State +3.5