College Football – Washington State at Oregon Odds and Pick

The modern football media is in love with the passing game. But when a team professes either running, or passing as a single-track path to success, pundits (and bookies) tend to remain skeptical.

Sure, Mike Leach brought the Washington State Cougars out of the doldrums with the “Air Raid” passing attack, and gobbled up wins over fair-to-middling programs over the past few years. But the Cougars may have gone from a nice story to a bona-fide CFP contender in 4 short quarters last Friday night.

Senior WSU quarterback Luke Falk passed for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns as Leach’s team beat USC 30-27 on a prime-time telecast. If he has a decent game this Saturday, Falk will pass for 2000+ yards already with the season not half-over. The Cougars played some defense, too – Sam Darnold was held to well under 200 yards and was intercepted once while not throwing a touchdown pass.

But in spite of the unbeaten 5-0 record, the thumping of a legendary program, and Falk’s talisman abilities and experience, Washington State is only a 2-point road favorite over the 4-1 Oregon Ducks.

Who: Washington State Cougars at Oregon Ducks

When: Saturday, October 7th, 8 PM EST

Where: Autzen Stadium, Eugene, OR

Lines: WSU (-2) at Oregon (+2) / O/U Total: (61)

Washington State at Oregon – Vegas Odds Analysis

The Ducks are deluged with injuries. Oregon will play without its starting QB Justin Herbert, who is sidelines with a broken collarbone. Senior Taylor Alie, the backup quarterback, is also hurt. That leaves Braxton Burmeister as a true freshman who may be making his starting debut against a hot program.

Oregon’s offense ranks first in the Pac-12. But Mike Leach was quoted as saying he hasn’t even seen Burmeister play, and if the frosh QB begins the game for the Ducks, the Cougars will have to “figure out” how fast he is. That’s not good news for Oregon. It means they’re dredging the depth chart at the most important position.

And that’s not all. RB Royce Freeman is down after an injury suffered when the Ducks played California. The Pac-12’s 2nd-leading rusher is questionable, while LB Kaulana Apelu is gone for the season with an ankle injury.

The Cougars have a few injuries to deal with themselves, including at LB where they may have lost Issac Dotson to go along with Peyton Pueller’s injury-busted campaign. But Leach’s offense is tuned-in and ready to rock again, and the WSU defense has been punishing teams that try an aerial counter-attack.

Most defenses which are strong against the pass tend to shut down the run and sack the QB. The Cougars have a decent run defense, and can rush the pocket. But they also understand passing schemes better than many teams with “defense-minded” head coaches do. USC rushed for almost 6 yards a carry against Washington State, but the talented Darnold couldn’t get it done in the air. Facing Nevada in Week 3, WSU gave up less than 50% completions and 105 yards passing, and intercepted David Cornwell 3 times.

Bet Recommendation for Washington State at Oregon

The Ducks are having a good season so far, and their crowd will be an ear-breaker as usual. But given the devastating injuries at QB, to place them at almost-even odds with a surging new contender on a hot streak is absurd.

Healthy teams with their starting QBs in the game tend to beat casualty wards over 60 minutes. Take Washington State to cover (-2) for a winning wager.

Read More Like This