In what promises to be one of the last great Pac-12 matchups, No. 18 Utah is heading up to Seattle for a clash with No. 5 Washington on Saturday (11/11/23) at 3:30 p.m. EST. Get Utah vs. Washington odds, picks and predictions below as our best bet is Washington -9.5
Utah vs. Washington Prediction
After a pair of unconvincing wins over Arizona State and Stanford, it was time for Washington to make a statement. The Huskies did just that against USC at the Los Angeles Coliseum last week. Washington scored at will en route to a 52-42 win that ended the Trojans’ conference title hopes for their last season in the conference they have routinely owned.
Both teams head over to the Big Ten next season. The Huskies may hold final Pac-12 bragging rights. They’re undefeated and have a clear path to the conference title game, even with a loss. But they need to keep their foot on the gas pedal to achieve a higher goal – a spot in the College Football Playoff. Washington could be the first Pac-12 program to make multiple national semifinal appearances under this format. With a very strong field in contention, they just might need to be 13-0 to do so.
Before any of that happens, they’ll have to get through the defending conference champions, Utah, which still has an outside chance at securing a Pac-12 three-peat before scooting off to the Big 12 next season. The Utes haven’t had the services of quarterback Cameron Rising all season. After plenty of early season speculation as to when he would return, it has become official that he will not this year. But the defense has shone as it so often does under Kyle Whittingham. The Utes rank eighth in the country in terms of EPA per play. They’ve been one of the best air defenses in the country, which will make for a fascinating matchup with Washington’s superstar wideout room and Heisman candidate quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
Unfortunately, the Utes offense won’t allow this game to be as competitive as it should be. Without Rising, they’re sitting outside of the top 100 in offensive EPA per play. With the exception of their most recent game – a 55-3 drubbing of Arizona State – they often have to rely on their defense to neutralize opposing offenses in order to win against good teams. That’s not going to happen against Washington. While a Whittingham defense is always a tough, well-coached unit, the secondary talent just isn’t there to stop the Huskies through the air.
I’m leaning toward the under in this one. Utah should at least be able to slow Washington. And it’s hard to imagine the Utes offense getting off the ground to any extent at a raucous Husky Stadium savoring the last few moments of Pac-12 football.
The Bryson Barnes-led Utah offense has begun to show flashes of life, and Washington’s offense is of course liable to put up a whole bundle of points. Let’s just bet on the home team to keep this one at a comfortable margin, whether it’s in a high or low-scoring game.
Utah vs. Washington Prediction: Washington -9.5
Utah vs. Washington Best Odds
Nov. 11, 8:30 PM Spread Odds updated November 11th, 2023, at 11:53 pm
UTAH @ WASH
Nov. 11, 8:30 PM
Odds updated November 11th, 2023, at 11:53 pm
Washington is set as a -9.5 home favorite, although the number has been moving in its direction and could continue to do so. They Huskies are -350 on the moneyline, compared to +275 for the visiting Utes. The total is set at 54, with -110 odds on both sides of that line.
Utah vs. Washington Key Matchups
Slowing down the Washington air game is central to hanging with the Huskies, while Utah will look to exploit a soft Washington ground defense. Let’s take a look at these key matchups and see who will come out on top.
Washington Passing Attack vs. Utah Air Defense
This Washington air offense is a juggernaut in every sense. The offensive line ranks seventh in PFF’s pass blocking grades, and before long, Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk will each have more than 1,000 receiving yards. But the star is Penix, who leads the nation with 3,201 passing yards. According to EPA, this is the sixth-most efficient passing offense in the country. It’s hard to think of one I’d pick over the Huskies when they’re firing on all cylinders.
Utah’s pass defense grades almost as well by the same metric – seventh in EPA per play. They rank 41st in PFF’s pass rush grade, led by the unit’s one true star, edge rusher Jonah Elliss. He has accrued 11.5 sacks, the third-most in the country. But nobody in its 35th-ranked coverage secondary (by the same metric) has a grade over 80, or more than two interceptions. It’s a well-rounded, cohesive group, but does not have the athletes needed to run with Washington’s wideouts.
Utah Ground Game vs. Washington Run Defense
Utah’s ground offense has not been a particular strength, grading 108th in EPA per play. But it’s a handful of notches above a terrible Utah air game, so it’s surely their best route to create offense in this one. It also allows them to attack by far the weaker facet of the Washington defense, which ranks a respectable 44th in EPA per play against the pass, but a dismal 117th against the run.
Ja’Quinden Jackson has been great as Utah’s lead back. He’s averaged 5.3 yards per carry. He’s only scored twice, but he’s one of five Utes rushers with multiple scores, a testament to the depth of options. Keep an eye on two-way threat Sione Vaki . PFF is very high on the Utah offensive line, ranking the unit 17th in their run blocking grade. The group is anchored by right tackle Sataoa Laumea. As for the Washington ground defense, linebacker Levani Damuni has been great, but has had very little support.