Washington Huskies vs. No. 12 Baylor Bears
Thursday, 12/29/11, 9:00 PM EST, TV: ESPN
Opening Point Spread: Baylor -8.5
Current Betting Line: Baylor -9
Opening Total: 76.5
Current Total: 79
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Washington will be making its 32nd bowl appearance in heading to San Antonio and playing in the Alamo Bowl, as the program looks to improve upon its 16-14-1 overall record in the postseason. The Huskies will rely heavily on quarterback Keith Price in trying to pull off an upset, setting a single-season school record with 29 touchdown passes this year. “He’s an absolute stud,” commented Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian. “He’s a warrior, an amazing competitor.” Sarkisian has made his mark on the program and brought back his entire staff for a third consecutive year. Washington is 13-11 ATS as an underdog the past two-plus years.
The Huskies are 13-12 all-time against current members of the Big 12 Conference, including a 1-0 mark versus the Bears. Washington has been very impressive when Sarkisian has more than a week to prepare for an opponent, posting a 6-1 mark in such contests, including wins in six straight. Price will definitely want to hand the ball off to running back Chris Polk, who ranks third in the Pac-12 Conference in gaining 1,341 rushing yards. He gained 177 yards and scored a touchdown in the program’s 19-7 win over Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl.
Baylor is seeking its second 10-win season in program history and comes in riding a five-game winning streak. The Bears have been national news this season and quarterback Robert Griffin III walked away with the 2011 Heisman Trophy award. “This is unbelievably believable,” stated Griffin after receiving the hardware. “Everybody associated with Baylor has a reason to celebrate.” He led an offensive unit that finished the regular season as the only school to average 300-plus passing and 200-plus rushing yards. Baylor is 6-2 ATS as a favorite this year.
The Bears are definitely going to score some points Thursday night, but will want to try and get the rushing game going. Baylor is 5-0 this season when out-rushing its opponent, while posting a 18-7 mark when doing so during the Art Briles era. All-American Kendall Wright is a major weapon on the outside, ranking second nationally in collecting 1,572 receiving yards, while catching 13 touchdown passes. It’s important to note that the squad has played in four games that were decided by three points or less this season.
Bettors will likely back the Huskies due to their 4-0 ATS mark as a bowl underdog, while the Bears are 1-4 ATS when playing on a natural surface.
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