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Washington State Cougars vs. Washington Huskies Point Spread - Pick

Washington State Cougars (9-2 SU, 7-4 ATS) vs. Washington Huskies (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date/Time: Saturday, November 25, 2017 at 8PM EST
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Washington
TV: Fox

By Loot, NCAA Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: WSU +9/WASH -9
Over/Under Total: 50

The Washington State Cougars come into Seattle on Saturday for a big in-state battle against the Washington Huskies in a big Pac-12 battle. The Cougars are coming off of a bye-week, which followed two straight wins, including a 33-25 win over Utah in their last game. The Cougars are 9-2 with only two upset losses spoiling what would be a perfect season. They look to get a huge win this week against a Washington team that staged a furious late comeback on Saturday to beat the same Utah team, 33-30. Exactly a year ago to this day, the Huskies went into Pullman and beat the Cougars, 45-17. A lot has changed since then and the Cougars obviously look for better this time around. Washington St. would win the Pac-12 North with a win on Saturday.

The Pac-12 has been a wacky conference this season, with a ton of bizarre results coming down seemingly every week. The Cougars have lost twice this season, to the Cal Bears and to Arizona. In those two games, Washington State missed the point spread by a combined 71 points! Other than that, they've been good. Consecutive wins over Stanford and a road win over Utah have them back contending for the division. And with wins over USC and the Cardinal, they have shown they belong with the heavy-hitters in the conference. Last season's game against the Huskies saw the offense making a lot of mistakes, including three picks from Luke Falk. They look for a sharper performance this week and truth be told, the Washington offense this season isn't as powerful as the group they faced last season. Still, both sides of the ball will need to be a lot better than they were last year in this spot.

There have been some rocky passages for the Washington St. offense this season. Falk hasn't been quite as automatic, but at the end of the day, he has thrown for a robust 3224 yards with 29 touchdowns. Half a dozen different ball catchers have 400 or more yards, with Tavares Martin, Jr., Isaiah Johnson-Mack, Renard Bell, and Kyle Sweet the go-to targets for Falk. Running backs Jamal Morrow and James Williams might not put up huge rushing yardage on a weekly basis, but between what they do on the ground and all the short passes they haul in, they're pretty effective in this offense. They have one of the most-vital aerial attacks in the nation and are pretty dependable.

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The Washington State defense has regrouped well over the last two weeks. Prior to that, they were a big erratic, allowing a lot of offense to Cal and Arizona, which sandwiched a shutout win over Colorado. They were the only defense that was able to contain Stanford's Bryce Love in recent weeks, with the Heisman candidate only putting up 69 yards on the Cougs. And while Utah added a few late scores and put up 25 against the Cougars in their last game, the defense also played well in that game. In the secondary, Robert Taylor and Jalen Thompson have made a lot of plays, including a combined 7 picks and 6 fumble recoveries. LB Frankie Luvu and DE Hercules Mata'afa have been applying a nice pass-rush. S Hunter Dale and LB Jahad Woods are also standouts on this side of the ball.

The final minute of Washington's game on Saturday against Utah seemed to take forever, With less than a minute left, Myles Gaskin ran in a score to tie the game up at 30-apiece. Utah then had a three-and-out and punted. After a few big Jake Browning completions to Dante Pettis and Andre Beccellia, the Huskies were set up at the Utes' 22-yard line. K Trenton Vizcaino then hit a 38-yard FG to seal the win. While the come-from-behind win was a big moment for the team, they were also eliminated from the division running with Stanford getting the win over Cal on Saturday. They can still get a 10-win season with a win here, elevate their bowl profile, and ruin things for their in-state rival.

The offense wasn't great for much of the game on Saturday for the Huskies, but they snapped into shape late and got the win. All told, this season has been a letdown of sorts on this side of the ball, where they showed only a fraction of the fire they showcased last season en route to a spot in the CFP. Browning still had a big game, with 354 yards through the air and three touchdowns. Aerially, he connected with Dante Pettis with 94 yards. Gaskin was big with two rushing touchdowns and 114 yards through the air, including a 76-yard score. They're still good for an average of 37 points per game and that number goes up at home. Washington State's defense will need to perform really well this week if they want to bring home the Pac-12 North title.

The Washington defense has been super this season, though is showing more cracks as the season progresses. Still, at the end of the day, they've given up an average of just 13 points a game, even as they have allowed 30 points in scoring in each of the last two games. Still, they were only really bad in one game, when they gave up 30 to Stanford in a loss. In their only other loss, they gave up just 13 to ASU. It's hard to pin the shortcomings of the Huskies this season on this side of the ball.

The motivation-differential here is something to consider. For Washington State, it's about winning the division, something they would do with a win putting them in the Pac-12 title game. For Washington, the motivation is more abstract. But as we think back to games like that where one team has more to play for, it's surprising how that doesn't always reflect on the field, where a more pressure-free feeling often gives way to better play. Still, this won't be as easy as it was last season for the Huskies. I see the Cougars giving them a good game and covering the spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Washington State Cougars plus 9 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Cougars vs. Huskies game by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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