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Oskeim Sports’ Free NCAA Football Pick: Utah at Washington

huskies

Washington is two wins away from bowl eligibility and remains one of the most underrated teams in college football. Despite standing at 4-4, the Huskies’ three conference losses were each by six points or fewer, and head coach Chris Petersen has this program heading in the right direction. “I’ve been saying we’re going to get good if we can persist,” Petersen said. “If we can continue to stick to this process which is really, really difficult to do when all the results aren’t coming right away.”

Washington’s success is predicated upon an outstanding defense that is allowing 16.9 points and 360 total yards per game at 4.8 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 6.1 yards per play against a mediocre defensive squad. Even more impressive is the fact that the Huskies are limiting opponents to a mere 15.2 points per game at 4.5 yards per play at home this season.

Meanwhile, Utah arrives in town with a grossly overrated offense that has been 0.2 yards per play better than average this season (5.6 yards per play against teams that would combine to allow 6.4 yards per play). Utah will try to pound the ball with star running back Devontae Booker, who ranks eight among FBS backs with 156.0 yards from scrimmage per game. Booker has accounted for 43.2% of Utah’s scrimmage yards this season, but he will have a stiff challenge against a stout Washington front seven.

Indeed, Washington is yielding just 3.2 yards per rush attempt to a group of running backs that would combine to average 4.7 yards per rush play, thereby making Petersen’s stop unit 1.5 yards per rush attempt better than average. Utah will also struggle to throw the ball against a very good Washington secondary that has been 0.8 yards per pass attempt better than average (6.9 yards per pass play to teams that would combine to average 7.7 yards per pass play). Overall, Washington’s defense maintains a substantial 1.1 yards per play advantage from the line of scrimmage over the Utes’ overrated attack.

Washington takes the field with an underrated offense that is averaging 34.6 points and 420 total yards per game at 6.9 yards per play and 12.1 yards per point at home in 2015. Overall, the Huskies’ attack is 0.1 yards per rush attempt, 0.2 yards per pass attempt and 0.2 yards per play better than average which isn’t good enough to exploit a solid Utah defense that is 0.6 yards per play better than average (5.2 yards per play to teams that would combine to average 5.8 yards per play). Both defenses possess an advantage from the line of scrimmage in this game, but the Huskies have a greater edge overall.

The Utes are 7-1 this season, but they are only +24.0 yards per game and looked disinterested against Oregon State last week. Utah is 2-5 ATS in its last seven November games and 2-5 ATS in its last seven conference games, whereas the Huskies are 4-1 ATS in their last five November games and have won all eight meetings in this series (but only 2 of those meetings have occurred in the L/18 years). Lay the points with Washington as Oskeim Sports’ Free College Football Pick. Good luck!

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