Thursday Night Pac 12 Betting Picks: Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies

#8 Stanford Cardinal at Washington Huskies
Thursday, September 27, 2012, 9:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Washington
Opening Line: Stanford -7 1/2
Current Line: Stanford -6 1/2
Opening Total: 51
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Stanford -250 / Washington +210
Current Money Line: Stanford -265 / Washington +225

Stanford goes for their fifth straight in against Washington Thursday night in Seatte. The Cardinal are 6.5point road favorites.

Stanford and Washington meet Thursday night in Seattle in the Pac 12 opener for the Huskies. It will be the second of 3 football games played at CenturyLink Field in the space of 5 days. The Seattle Seahawks beat the Green Bay Packers Monday night 14-12 on a controversial Hail Mary touchdown pass on the last play of the game. Washington is playing all of their home games at CenturyLink this season while husky stadium is being remodeled.  Saturday night, Washington St will host Oregon also in Seattle.

The Cardinal and the Huskies meet for the 83rd time Thursday night, in  a series that dates back to 1893. Washington leads the series 40-38-4 but Stanford has won 4 straight and 6 of the last 7. The Cardinal have won the last three in the series by a combined score of 140-35, including 65-21 in Palo Alto last year. Before the winning streak by the Cardinal, Washington had won 21 of the previous 25 meetings.

Stanford is 3-0 under coach David Shaw. The #8 Cardinal are trying to start off 4-0 for the third season in a row, something the program hasn’t done since 1950-52. Stanford goes on the road for the first time after home wins against San Jose St 20-17, Duke 50-13, and then #2 USC 21-14 two weeks ago. It was the 4th straight win against the Trojans for the Cardinal, the first time that has ever happened. Stanford jumped all the way up to #9 in the polls from #21. The Cardinal moved up to #8 this week despite being off, thanks to losses by top 10 teams Oklahoma and Clemson.

The Cardinal are averaging 356.7 yards per game, including 207 passing yards and 149.7 rushing yards. Stanford is ranked at least 77th in all categories, compared to the top 10 offense they had last year under superstar quarterback Andrew Luck. The Cardinal defense is allowing 317.7 yards per game including 276 passing yards and the nation’s leading rush defense with 41.7 yards allowed. Stanford shut down the explosive USC offense, holding them to 280 total yards, including 26 rushing yards, and 14 points. Stanford also forced 3 Trojan turnovers. The Cardinal are outscoring opponents 30.3-14.7 this season. The Cardinal are 2-1 ATS and the total is 1-2 this season.

Stanford quarterback Josh Nunes has completed 47 of 88 passes (53.4%) for 615 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Running back Stepfan Taylor has 67 carries, 338 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 10 catches, 89 yards and a touchdown. No other Stanford rusher has more than 9 carries. Zach Ertz has 9 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown. Levine Toilolo has 7 catches, 119 yards and a touchdown. Ty Montgomery has 9 catches for 100 yards. Drew Terrell has 7 catches, 85 yards and two touchdowns.

Washington is 2-1 this season under coach Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies have home wins over San Diego St 21-12 and Portland St 52-13 two weeks ago. The only loss came at #3 LSU 41-3. Washington was off last week like Stanford to avoid a short week playing on Thursday night.

The Huskies are averaging 313.3 yards per game, including 199.7 passing yards and 113.7 rushinbg yards. Washington is 96th or worse in all three categories. On defense, the Huskies are allowing 341.7 yards per game, including 167 passing yards (#14 nationally) and 174.7 rushing yards per game. Washington is outscoring teams 25.3-22 this season. The Huskies are 1-2 ATS and the total is 0-2 this season.

Washington quarterback Keith Price has completed 56 of 90 passes (62.2%) for 560 yards with 4 touchdowns and an interception. He has been sacked 8 times through 3 games. The leaky offensive line is also why the running game has struggled. Three Husky offensive linemen are listed as questionable or out for the Stanford game, so it could get even worse against the stout Cardinal run defense. Bishop Sankey has 44 carries, 185 yards and 3 touchdowns, and 4 catches for 30 yards. Running back Erich Wilson II has 21 carries, 119 yards and no touchdowns. Running backs Jesse Callier and Deontae Cooper are both out for the season with knee injuries. Receiver Austin Sefarian-Jenkins has 20 catches, 211 yards and a touchdown. Kasen Williams has 15 catches, 163 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver James Johnson is out until at least early October with a wrist injury. Five Husky defensive players are listed as questionable or out for the Stanford game.

Stanford has won their last 3 road and Pac 12 road openers straight up. The Cardinal have won 11 straight and 14 of the last 15 September games dating back to 2008. Stanford is 5-0-1 ATS in road games against teams with winning home records, 4-0 against teams with winning records, and on fieldturf, 13-3 in September, 12-3-1 in conference games and in road games, 21-6-1 after a cover, 20-6 after allowing 100 rushing yards or less, 19-7-1 after rushing for more than 200 yards, 5-2 after a bye week, 35-15-1 overall, 37-16-1 after a straight up win, and 35-16-1 after allowing less than 20 points. The Cardinal are 4-0 ATS in the last 4 overall against the Huskies and in Seattle.

Washington is 5-0 ATS after a bye week, 6-2 at home, 11-4-1 on fieldturf, 7-3 after a cover, 7-15-1 after rushing for over 200 yards, 6-17 after allowing less than 275 total yards, 2-6 overall, 2-8 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 0-5 after scoring more than 40 points, and against teams with winning records, and 0-4 after a straight up win. Six of the last eight games in the Stanford-Washington series have gone under the total. The favorite has covered 4 of the last 5 and the road team is 5-2-1 in the last 8.

Neither of these teams have been really great on offense so far. Both teams have been pretty good on defense if not great. The main difference is Washington can’t stop the run, and Stanford is the best in the country at stopping the run. I could see Stanford RB Taylor having another huge game, after he carved up USC for 213 rushing and receiving yards with 2 touchdowns. The banged up Huskies have a brutal stretch starting with this game as they play Oregon and USC in the next two weeks, all ranked  in the top 15. I think Stanford rolls in this game.

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