The second of two college football playoff games between Texas vs. Washington kicks off this Monday (1/1/24) at 8:45pm EST in New Orleans, Louisiana as the host site for the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Get Texas vs. Washington predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on under 64 in what should be a lower scoring affair than what the total implies.
Texas Vs. Washington Prediction
What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? That question may finally get its answer when the Washington offense clashes against the Texas defense in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. The second semifinal matchup will be nothing short of spectacular, featuring one of the most efficient offenses in the nation thanks to the brilliant play of Michael Penix Jr and a Longhorns front seven with NFL level talent across the line.
Starting with the Washington offense, Michael Penix Jr built a Heisman case off of one of the most efficient pass attacks in football that thrived with picking apart gaps in coverage. They come into this contest ranked sixth in Pass Success Rate and eighth in Pass PPA, using a blend of quick outs and play action to get his star receivers out in the open field. Their Pass Explosiveness dips to 96th, yet don’t let that low metric fool you. Penix was hyper efficient at completing the deep ball, punishing cheating secondaries who crept too far up in coverage.
That same pass attack now needs to find success against a Texas defense who is above average in coverage, while also generating a high amount of pressure. The Longhorns secondary ranks 31st in Def Pass Success Rate and 33rd in Def Pass PPA while their front four has massive advantages against the Washington o-line in Line Yards. That forces Penix to get the ball out quicker than anticipated, potentially stalling out at times in favor of the under.
Rush production will also be practically non-existent for the Washington Huskies, potentially leaving them one-dimensional in favor of the Longhorns secondary. The Texas front seven has arguably been one of the most dominant units in the nation with their run stopping efforts, ranking sixth in Def Rush Success Rate, ninth in Def Rush PPA, and sixth in Def Rush Explosiveness. Granted Washington already calls one of the lowest rates of the run in the nation, yet still a major blow to their offensive versatility.
Speaking of rush production, that will be the Longhorns game plan early on as the metrics scream major advantages in that department. The issue is that Texas lost star running back Jonathon Brooks for the season, as well as potentially running into a much-improved Washington front seven. While they rank 129th in Def Rush Success Rate and 125th in Def Rush PPA, the Huskies metrics drastically increased to league average late in the year once they got back to full health as we saw in the Pac 12 Conference Championship.
Texas Vs. Washington Prediction: Under 64
Texas Vs. Washington Best Odds
Even with injuries potentially decimating their offense, oddsmakers still have this game pegged in the Longhorns favor by opening Texas as a -4.5 favorite. Bettors believe the spread opened a tad too high, backing Washington down to as low as +3.5 in some shops. Should Washington start out hot, they may set a scoring pace too fast for the Longhorns to keep up with.
As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a lightning quick pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 64.5. Bettors believe points will come at a slightly slower pace, betting the under down to 64 as of writing. With the Longhorns defense in a position to slow down Michael Penix Jr, as well as struggling when on offense, take the under at no lower than 63 in what should be a lower scoring affair than what the total implies.
Texas Vs. Washington Key Matchups
Can the Washington secondary slow down Quinn Ewers and the Texas pass attack?
Washington Secondary Vs. Quinn Ewers
Quinn Ewers didn’t exactly get the same praise that Penix did for his performance under center, yet he has done a near same masterful job at picking apart short gaps in coverage. The Texas pass attack goes into this contest ranked 16th in Pass Success Rate and 39th in Pass PPA.
Quinn Ewers days until the CFP Semifinal at the Sugar Bowl vs. Washington! pic.twitter.com/OqXucjaPVZ
— Hook’em Headlines (@HookemHeadlines) December 30, 2023
Like Washington’s offense, Explosiveness is also a rarity as they rank 89th in Pass Explosiveness. Washington’s secondary has steadily improved throughout the season, boasting competitive enough metrics to slow down the Longhorns. The Huskies back end ranks 55th in Def Pass Success Rate, 18th in Def Pass PPA, and seventh in Def Pass Explosiveness. Factor in Xavier Worthy potentially being less than 100% and the Texas pass attack is poised to struggle.