Washington Betting Odds Preview
After three straight seven-win seasons the Huskies finally broke through that plateau and won nine games last year, including a bowl. Then they lost head coach Steve Sarkisian to USC. Fortunately, Washington finally coaxed Chris Petersen away from Boise State, so it could almost be said U-Dub made an upgrade at the head coach spot.
Doubly good for the Huskies is that Sarkisian didn't leave the cupboard empty. Petersen will have to replace some key people, especially on offense, but all the big boys on both lines are back, so Washington should be very tough up front on both sides of the ball. The Huskies have gone 5-4 in Pac-12 play each of the last four seasons; obviously, the goal now for Petersen is to pick up two or three more wins and climb into the Pac-12 championship game.
Washington started last season 4-0, including a drubbing of Petersen's Boise State squad, but then suffered a tough loss at Stanford, a closer-than-the-score indicates defeat to Oregon and a blowout loss at Arizona State. The Huskies then posted a couple of blowouts of their own, over Cal and Colorado, lost at UCLA, then put up 69 points in beating Oregon State and won the Apple Cup over Washington State. U-Dub then beat BYU in the Fight Hunger Bowl to finish at 9-4 SU (its most wins since 2000), 7-6 ATS.
This season Petersen inherits 14 returning starters, seven on each side of the ball. He'll have to replace RB Bishop Sankey, starting quarterback Keith Price, two of last year's top three receivers and their top tackler, but all five starters on what should be one of the best offensive lines in the country are back, as are all four starters on what could be one of the best defensive lines in the country.
Washington begins this season with four very winnable games, then hosts Stanford. Later the Huskies also host Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon State, and play at Oregon, Arizona and Washington State. But they miss USC.
With a new coaching regime comes a learning curve, as new systems are put in place, but if football is a game won in the trenches the Huskies should be in good shape.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Arizona State 12/1
Oregon State 33/1
Washington State 50/1
Washington has gone 7-6 three straight seasons under head coach Steve Sarkisian; what's it going to take to get this team over the hump? The Huskies had a great chance to top seven wins last year, but lost two tough games at the end of the season. Turn those around and they go 9-4. This year Washington returns more starters than any other team in the Pac-12; might this finally be that breakout season the Huskies have been building toward?
U-Dub had 14 starters back last year from a team that went 7-6 in 2011, and with QB Keith Price coming off a fine sophomore season, hopes were high. The Huskies then started 3-1, which included a come-from-behind upset of eventual conference champion Stanford. Washington then lost three games in a row to Oregon, USC, and Arizona, as the defense twice gave up 52 points. The schedule then eased up a bit, and the Huskies won four straight. But with a chance to get past that seven-win mark UW then blew an 18-point lead and lost to Washington State in the Apple Cup, then lost by two points to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.
So the Huskies finished, once again, at 7-6 overall, 5-4 in conference play. But they also went 8-5 ATS, 4-0 ATS as home dogs. This year the Huskies get back 18 starters, most in the Pac-12. Ten starters are back on offense, led by QB Price, now in his third season as the starter, 1,400-yard rusher Bishop Sankey, last year's top two receivers, and four along the offensive line. And eight starters are back on defense, including six of the front seven.
Washington opens this season with a couple of decent challenges, a home game with Boise State and a road game at Illinois. The Huskies then have five conference home games (back in a renovated Husky Stadium) against Arizona, Oregon, Cal, Colorado, and Washington State, and four conference road games at Stanford, Arizona State, UCLA, and Oregon State. And they miss USC. U-Dub should be favored in four of its Pac-12 home games, but might be dogged in all four of its conference road bouts.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000