College Football Betting Preview: #8 Washington Huskies at Rutgers Scarlet Knights

#8 Washington Huskies at Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Friday, September 1, 2017, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
High Point Solutions Stadium – Piscataway Township, New Jersey
Opening Line: Washington -31
Current Line: Washington -27 1/2
Opening Total: 58 1/2
Current Total: 53
Opening Money Line: Washington -13500 / Rutgers  +8500
Current Money Line: Washington -8500 / Rutgers +5500

Washington is a heavy favorite at Rutgers Friday night in the season opener.

Last year, the Washington Huskies won the Pac 12 title and were selected for the College Football Playoff. Yes, they lost to Alabama in the semifinals, but it was still a successful season. The Huskies enter 2017 as the #8 team in the preseason poll. Washington opens the season Friday night at the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Washington opened last season with a  48-13  win over Rutgers in Seattle. That was the first ever meeting between the schools.

Washington is coached by Chris Petersen. The Huskies went 12-2 last year and 8-1 in the Pac 12. The Huskies were 8-6 ATS and the total was 8-5-1 last year.

Rutgers is coached by Chris Ash in his second year. Ash went 2-10 last year including 0-9 in the Big Ten. Rutgers was 4-8 ATS and the total was 6-6. Against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, the Scarlet Knights were outscored by a total of 224-0.

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Washington outscored teams 42-18 last season. The Huskies averaged 457 yards per game on offense including 259 passing and 198 rushing yards. On defense, the Huskies allowed 317 total yards including 183 passing yards and 134 rushing yards. The Huskies were +18 in turnovers with 33 takeaways. Washington averaged 45 penalty yards per game and opponents averaged 50. The Huskies were 80/180 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 81/243. Washington forced 40 sacks and allowed 26 sacks last season. The Huskies were 54/58 scoring in the red zone with 43 touchdowns and opponents are 33/43 with 24 touchdowns.

Junior quarterback Jake Browning is a Heisman contender and will be in the NFL soon. He completed 62.1% of his passes for 3,430 yards with 43 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. He also had 4 rushing touchdowns. K.J. Carta-Samuels will again be the back-up. He played sparingly last year mostly in mop up duty. He threw 3 touchdowns last year.

The Huskies have a dynamic one-two punch at running back with Myles Gaskin and Lavon Coleman. Gaskin, a junior, rushed for 1,373 yards on 237 carries with 10 touchdowns, and also had 19 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. He was first team All-Pac 12 last year Coleman rushed for 852 yards on 114 carries with 7 touchdowns, plus he made 5 catches. Though listed as a defensive back Jomon Dotson will get some carries as well. He had 260 yards with a touchdown, and also caught a touchdown pass last year.

The Huskies must replace receiver John Ross, a top ten pick by the Cincinnati Bengals. He had 81 catches for 1,150 yards and 17 touchdowns, plus 102 rushing yards and a touchdown. Look for receiver Dante Pettis to be the go-to receiver without Ross. Pettis, a senior, had 53 catches for 822 yards and 15 touchdowns last year. Slot receiver Chico McClatcher is also back. He had 31 catches for 574 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 18 carries  for 131 rushing yards and a touchdown. Aaron Fuller had 16 catches for 184 yards and 2 touchdowns. True freshman Ty Jones has a ton of talent and could start alongside Pettis and McClatcher. Tight end Darrell Daniels is now with the Indianapolis Colts. He had 17 catches for 307 yards and 3 touchdowns. Look for Drew Sample to take over as the tight end after making 9 catches for 106 yards last year.

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Rutgers  was outscored 38-16 last season. The Scarlet Knights averaged 283 yards per game on offense including 138 passing and 145 rushing. On defense, the Scarlet Knights allowed 451 yards per game including 187 passing and 264 rushing yards. Rutgers was -5 in turnovers with 14 takeaways. Rutgers averaged 43 penalty yards per game and opponents averaged 46 per game. The Scarlet Knights were 67/211 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 81/194. Rutgers forced 21 sacks and allowed 34 last season. The Scarlet Knights were 17/25 scoring in the red zone with 9 touchdowns and opponents were 40/55 with 33 touchdowns.

Louisville graduate transfer Kyle Bolin was named the starter at quarterback. He beat out junior Giovanni Rescigno and heralded freshman Johnathan Lewis for the job. Bolin was decent in three years at Louisville but became expendable because of one Heisman Trophy winning Lamar Jackson. Rescigno started the last five games last year for Rutgers. He threw for 889 yards with 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and he rushed for 107 yards with 2 touchdowns.

Running back Robert Martin is back after rushing for 625 yards on 121 carries with 2 touchdowns, and making 5 catches. Josh Hicks takes over as the back-up for the now graduated Justin Goodwin. Hicks had 45 carries for 157 yards last week. Miami graduate transfer Gus Edwards will also get some carries. Edwards will also see time at H-back with Jerome Washington.

Receiver Janarion Grant missed the last eight games of last season and is questionable with an ankle injury. He had 20 catches for 210 yards, plus 16 carries for 138 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Jawuan Harris had 39 catches for 481 yards and 3 touchdowns last year. Receiver Andre Patton is now with the Los Angeles Chargers after making 33 catches for  460 yards and 5 touchdowns. Arkansas transfer Damon Mitchell will also start at receiver. Edwards and Washington will get some catches at the H-Back/tight end.

This is a mismatch even though Washington has to travel across country. Rutgers should improve somewhat on offense under new coordinator Jerry Kill, but they were the worst offensive team in the country last year. The pass defense was actually pretty good, but the rush defense was absolutely horrible. Washington should easily win this game and cover.

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