Betting News & Analysis

Week 12 College Football Pick: Bet Under in Washington State-Arizona

Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars defensive back Armani Marsh (8) deflects a pass intended for Arizona State Sun Devils wide receiver Andre Johnson (82) in the second at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Washington State won 28-18. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Bet Washington State-Arizona u63.5: Wildcat defense that might be a bit underrated welcomes Cougars offense operating at 8% lower efficiency than previous Arizona opponents.

• Arizona's offense totaled 37 points against tough defenses of Mississippi State, Utah; Cougars are No. 40 in PFF defensive grade.

• One concern regarding the Over: Both offenses rank in the top 30 in seconds per play, but Washington State's lack of explosiveness, Arizona's lack of urgency when trailing both friendly toward the under.

Last updated: Nov. 18, 12:00 p.m.

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Hit and miss last week. Rice (+13) moved the ball down the field confidently and comfortably early in the game against Western Kentucky, but two near-red-zone turnovers put them on the back foot and behind — and after that it was a formality for WKU. Charlotte (+11) lost by 10 points to Middle Tennessee without having to score in the second half, so this spread was never at any point out of reach. A little bit of early-game turnover luck against us, otherwise we may have been looking at a better week but only a small loss.

This weekly preview is 10-8 on the season for +1.24 units and a 6.28% ROI. 

Washington State @ Arizona (+4.5, 63.5)

Taking an under in an Arizona game is not for the faint-hearted: The Wildcats have moved the ball and put up points throughout the year against weak defenses (34 ppg), such as California, Colorado, USC, Washington, UCLA and Oregon (all six teams are in the bottom 35 in the country in success rate allowed on defense). But when faced with sterner tests from Mississippi State and Utah, Arizona is averaging almost half that total.

Washington State is not a top-10 defense by the success rate metrics: In fact, the Cougars are right around 50th in the country. However, they are also inside the top 40 in limiting big plays, and 36th in PFF Defensive Grade — all significantly higher than Arizona’s average opponent this season.

Arizona defense might be underrated because of an incredible strength of schedule: The six aforementioned bad defensive opponents are some of the best offensive teams in the country — Oregon, USC and UCLA are the top three teams in EPA/play, and three of the top five in offensive success rate with Utah and Washington both in the top eight in that category as well. Your defensive stats are never going to look great playing five of the best eight offenses in the country. Washington State’s offense is around 8% less efficient than the average Arizona opponent and offers up negative EPA/play which means they are not all that explosive either.

The only concern about this game going over a relatively high total is the pace of play: Both teams are fairly quick offensive units and sit inside the top 30 for seconds per play but both sides of the ball for Washington State are friendly towards the under in terms of explosive plays and success rate. With that said, Washington State does tend to slow down once they have a lead but somewhat surprisingly Arizona is not a team that speeds up a great deal when they are trailing.  

Best Bet: Under 63.5

Bet Gameplan: Playable to 61.5


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