Date/Time: October 10, 9:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Stanford -17
The latest crushing defeat for Mike Leach and the Washington State Cougars was certainly one for the ages. In a game that featured 119 points and over 1,200 passing yards, Quentin Breshears shanked a 19-yard field goal and the Cougars fell 60-59 to Cal. Speaking of tough losses, the Stanford Cardinal have to bounce back from a last-minute loss to Notre Dame as Everett Golson threw a touchdown pass with 1:01 left on the clock to secure a 17-14 win. Oddsmakers are clearly expecting a Stanford bounce back game as they are a 17-point favorite.
Through six games, Washington State is throwing for a league-best 523 yards per game. Despite that, the Cougars are just 2-4 with a couple of surprising results mixed in. The Cougars hung right in against the Oregon Ducks in a 38-31 loss and upset Utah 28-27 with a tremendous fourth quarter comeback. Connor Halliday has been outstanding for the Cougars with 250 completions, 3,052 yards, and 26 touchdowns against seven interceptions. Four of Washington State’s receivers have over 495 yards receiving. This game will be a huge test for the Stanford secondary.
Every game is a huge test for the Cougars defense. The Cougars have allowed 35.2 points per game, which ranks 106th in the country, and just gave up 60 points to Cal. Surprisingly, Washington State’s two best defensive performances have come on the road. Nevada scored only 24 points and managed just 324 yards and Utah scored only 27 points and managed just 357 yards. The Cougars managed to upset the Utes, but scored just 13 points against Nevada. The Cougars could have a hard time matching Stanford’s physicality. The losses of Deone Bucannon and Justin Sagote, who combined for 220 tackles last season, has hurt.
The Cardinal have not faced many solid defenses and are still managing just 372 yards of offense per game. That has translated to just 24.8 points per game. The offense has been methodical, but the loss of Tyler Gaffney and three starting offensive linemen has clearly had an impact. Gaffney ran for over 1,700 yards and 21 touchdowns last season and the returning leading rusher for the Cardinal had 14 carries for 120 yards. This season, Stanford running backs have averaged just 4.1 yards per carry, which would be the lowest since 2007. The Cardinal offense struggled mightily in South Bend with just 205 yards against Notre Dame.
Defensively, Stanford has been on point, despite key losses of Shayne Skov and Trent Murphy. Through five games, the Cardinal defense has not allowed more than 17 points, but the team is just 3-2. Opponents have averaged 8.6 points per game. This will be an interesting game for the Stanford defense. They have posted shutouts against UC Davis and Army, two teams that are known for running the football, and have held down balanced offenses like USC and Notre Dame. Washington State will throw the football and push the tempo, so this is a much different team to gameplan for.
Washington State is 3-3 ATS on the season and 1-1 ATS away from home on the season. Mike Leach is now 17-14 against the spread at Washington State. The Cougars were 5-0 ATS as a road underdog last season and are 1-0 as a road underdog this season. David Shaw is 26-18-2 against the spread at Stanford and he is 2-3 ATS on the season. As a home favorite, Shaw is 11-11 ATS. Stanford has won six straight over Washington State by an average of 28 points per game.
For our college football pick on this Washington State vs. Stanford game, head on over to the BTB Betting Center.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.