California Vs. Washington Prediction, Best Bets, Odds (9/23/23): Penix Heisman Campaign Continues

California vs. Washington kicks off this Saturday at 10:30pm EST in Seattle as a home game for the Huskies. Washington is currently a -21 favorite and -1100 on the moneyline while the total is set at 60.5. Read on for more California vs. Washington best bets and predictions as Washington’s offense will be too much for the California defense to handle.

California Vs. Washington Prediction & Best Bet

It’s safe to say Washington will no longer skate by as a sleeper pick to win the Pac 12 as their dismantling of Michigan State affirms that this offense is for real. Being pegged as their first true road test as the Spartans defense graded out above average, Michael Penix Jr had no issue with picking apart their secondary as he finished the contest throwing for 473 yards and four touchdowns.

Even more impressive, their defense held up and limited the Spartans to just seven points. While Michigan State is no offensive juggernaut, it was welcoming to see the Huskies defense hold up against a higher quality opponent. Defense will make or break this unit deep in conference play, ranking 44th in Overall Def Success Rate.

Speaking of defense, it’s a tale of two different defensive capabilities as the Huskies strong suit on that side of the field has been their ability to limit the pass attack. Washington ranks an outstanding 14th in Def Pass Success Rate and 20th in Def Pass PPA. On the flip side, their ground game is less to be desired as Washington has struggled against defending rush consistency. Their metrics take a major dip in that department, ranking 87th in Def Rush Success Rate and 70th in Def Rush PPA.

If there was ever a lesser opponent to work out those defensive kinks, then it’s the California Golden Bears. Pass success is practically non-existent, backing all of their offensive success on their ability to establish the run. California grades out well across the board in advanced running metrics, ranking 57th in Rush Success Rate, 24th in Rush PPA, and 27th in Rush Explosiveness.

Knowing that the Huskies defense can cheat up against the one-dimensional California offense, Washington can creep their second level up in an attempt to plug the gaps. Stops and early outs should come at a higher rate for Washington against the run, daring California to revert back to their weak pass attack. With early California outs, Washington should experience extra offensive possessions. This plays in the Huskies favor as they should have no issue with throwing over the top of the California secondary and putting up points in a flash in an attempt to cover a three-score spread.

California Vs. Washington Prediction & Best Bet: Washington -21

California Vs. Washington Betting Odds

With Washington showing that they are capable of winning the Pac 12, let alone potentially making the playoffs, oddsmakers pegged this as a blowout by opening the Huskies as a -20.5 favorite. Bettors are in the same mindset, backing Washington up through the key number of -21 and up to -21.5 in some shops. I price my stop point at -21, making it vital you take them at no higher than the key football number.

As for the total, points are expected to be scored at a lightning-fast pace as oddsmakers opened the number at 63.5. Bettors are in disagreement, taking the under down to as low as 59.5 as of writing. This comes as no surprise as California brings a lot of variances towards their ability to contribute toward the total, most likely struggling to continue their rush success against a defense that can cheat up without sacrificing their coverage.

California Vs. Washington Key Matchups

Can Michael Penix Jr continue to dominate as he makes a case for the Heisman?

Michael Penix Jr Vs. California Secondary

After battling through injuries earlier in his career, Michael Penix Jr burst back onto the scene last year as he found immediate success in Washington’s offense. Caleb Williams shadowed that performance with his own video game type stat line, now competing against Penix for the Heisman this year.

This matchup against the Golden Bears serves as a perfect Heisman type performance as California mightily struggles at defending the pass. California’s secondary currently ranks a lowly 101st in Def Pass Success Rate and 72nd in Def Pass PPA. Penix should have no issue with picking apart their gaps in coverage, moving the ball down the field with ease and capitalizing against their weak red zone defense as the second-best pass attack in football.

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Kody is a sports betting writer here at Lineups. He specializes in college sports as well as the NFL and NBA. He won’t quit believing in the Lions Super Bowl chances even when they are eliminated.

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