Washington State Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Pick

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Date: 
November 29, 4:00 PM EST
Location:
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Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
WSU +7 / WASH -7
Total: 
63.5

The Washington State Cougars take on the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup, as both teams conclude their regular seasons. It's been a disappointment for both teams this season but look for a well-contested game in Seattle on Friday. The Cougars rampaged late to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in a 54-53 win over Oregon State last week. Washington, however, faltered again in a 20-14 loss to Colorado, where they were 14-point favorites. Despite a decent 6-5 ATS record, Washington has missed the spread by a mile several times this season, and Saturday was their third loss in four games and fourth out of six. Who can get it together in time for this annual in-state rivalry game?

Who is in Better Shape?

Washington has won this annual pairing nine out of the last ten seasons, but enter this season's installment of the Apple Cup a little sideways. Losing to Oregon and Utah is one thing, but in falling to Cal, Stanford, and now a Colorado team that couldn't buy a win in the conference a short time ago, Washington has hit a valley they haven't seen in quite some time. In their last three games, against Stanford, UCLA, and Colorado, they managed a grand total of 44 points and have effectively seen their offense grind to a halt with Jacob Eason not able to manufacture points despite having guys like RB Savion Ahmed, and good ball-catchers Hunter Bryant, and Aaron Fuller. As troubling as that may seem, if there were ever a time to get on the right track, it would appear to be in this spot against a Washington State defense that has been a considerable liability.

Needing a last-minute TD drive to beat Oregon State might not paint the Cougars in a great light, but at least they enter this game with some momentum with two straight wins. Multiple times in conference this season, we have seen their offense explode with major point outputs. The flip side to that coin is a defense that is pretty loose. And when they're bad, they're as bad as it gets. Just last week, Oregon State poured it on with four last-quarter touchdowns, almost costing the Cougars the game. Still, when gauging morale, the edge might go to the Cougars, who have landed in this spot with less of a thud.

Matchup Concerns

Some items still don't paint a great picture for the Cougars. The Huskies' defense has gotten worse throughout the season and is a big part of the losing equation. Still, it's not a unit that is getting embarrassed like how Washington State's is on occasion. Even with the offense having deteriorated and often not moving chains, the Huskies' defense has remained somewhat stalwart and well-balanced. Anthony Gordon and the Washington State offense are certainly a high-flying group, but we've seen a big range of scoring depending on the defense they face, in addition to whether they're at home or on the road. Whereas they scored 63 against UCLA, 41 against Colorado, 49 against Stanford, and 54 against Oregon State, they only managed 13 against Utah and 20 against Cal. A point-total on the low end of that scale this week on the road will make a cover pretty elusive.

Offense Versus Defense

It is an oversimplification of sorts, but with Washington, you have a team whose offense has hit a wall facing a Washington State offense that continues putting up points. But on the other side of the ball, the gap is just as wide, if not wider. And we've even seen the Washington State "D" hold its own in spots against good offenses that maybe were struggling a bit and the Huskies definitely fit that bill. But we've also seen the Cougars' defense undermine the entire team. But in this wacky conference in a rivalry game where you can sometimes throw out what exists on paper, how close to the script will this game go?

Washington State Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Prediction 11/29/19

The Huskies are rightfully favored, but I don't see this as an open-and-shut case for Washington this week. With the Cougars, you're getting the team that is doing better with far more potential in the offense getting points—an equation that by itself is pretty favorable. I see them keeping pace with their in-state rivals and notching the cover on Friday. I'm taking the Cougars.
 
Free Pick: 
Take the Washington State Cougars plus 7 points
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