College Football Betting: Washington State at Utah

College Football Betting:  Washington State at Utah

Pac 12 conference action in Salt Lake City on Saturday night as Washington State takes on Utah at Rice-Eccles Stadium. This is the league opener for the Utes while the Cougars played theirs last weekend in a tough but ultimately unsuccessful effort against Oregon (more about that in a moment). The Utes are 3-0 SU and ATS this season beating an increasingly more difficult slate of opponents: Idaho State, Fresno State and Michigan. Washington State is 1-3 SU/2-2 ATS under their mercurial coach Mike Leach. Their only SU win of the year came against overmatched FCS foe Portland State with losses to Oregon, Rutgers and at Nevada.

The line for this game opened at -10 with money coming for the Utes. The prevailing wisdom about these games–and these teams–among the American sporting press is somewhat strange. Somehow the Utes are ‘overrated’ at 3-0 SU/ATS coming off wins against Michigan and an improving Fresno State team. Meanwhile, Washington State is ‘underrated’ with a 1-3 record. They admittedly put up a nice effort against Oregon last week but losses to Rutgers and Nevada–a pair of teams that aren’t as good as their record suggests–isn’t particularly impressive. This is typical of Mountain Time Zone teams like Utah–they never get any national respect while the also rans in the power conferences get more than they deserve.

Washington State’s loss to Oregon may have been a good effort but it sets up one of the most difficult ‘letdown spots’ for a team to deal with. They ‘came close’ but fell short against a superior Oregon team in a game that they had clearly ‘circled’. Now they have to go on the road to face a very good team that everyone–perhaps including themselves–has underrated. A ‘letdown’ spot is bad enough, but one against a team that can make them pay for it–at altitude, no less–is even worse. There are no shortage of media types saying that the Cougars ‘played their best game of Mike Leach’s tenure’ last week and if that’s not a red flag for a ‘letdown spot’ nothing is.

Utah won 49-6 the last time these teams played in Salt Lake City. It probably won’t be as ugly this year but the Utes win and cover.