Oregon State vs Washington State Prediction, Best Bets (9/23/23): Two Underrated Defenses Square-Off
#14 Oregon State faces #21 Washington State on Saturday in a ranked matchup between Pac-12 teams. In this article, find a best bet breakdown and full preview for the game where our best bet is under 56.5 points.
Oregon State Vs. Washington State Prediction & Best Bet
The Pac 12 has been a fascinating conference this season, and these are two of the seven teams currently in the AP Top 25 rankings. Oregon State is coming off a decisive 17-point win over San Diego State while Washington State beat Northern Colorado by 43.
Both offenses have been highly productive to start the season, but they’re about to go up against defenses well equipped to stop what they do best.
For Washington State, it’s been the breakout season for Cameron Ward that has elevated their offense. He’s thrown for 989 yards and nine touchdowns through three games with no interceptions. Last week, he torched Northern Colorado with four passing touchdowns.
However, Jonathan Smith’s Oregon State teams are known for running the ball and playing stout defense. Defensive captain Kitan Oladapo leads a secondary that ranks 11th in pass play EPA allowed this season.
The Beavers, meanwhile, lean on the run game with Damien Martinez averaging 8.6 yards per carry, the third-highest clip in the Power Five. Oregon State’s offensive line has been excellent as they rank 6th in PFF run-blocking grades.
Oregon State’s D.J. Uiagalelei is coming off a game where he completed just 46.7% of his passes against San Diego State, and I suspect the Beavers will want to keep it on the ground as much as possible. That will bleed clock and keep the ball away from Ward.
The total for this game sits at 56.5, which is largely dependent on these teams hanging big numbers on much less talented defenses. The Pac-12 is known for high-flying offense, but I don’t suspect this game will provide fireworks. I expect a lower-scoring bout between two very well coached teams.
Oregon State Vs. Washington State Prediction & Best Bet: Under 56.5
Oregon State Vs. Washington State Betting Odds
Oregon State currently sits as 3-point road favorites in this game, and the line has been bet out after opening at -2 previously. 3 is a key football number, so I’d expect buyback in the market if this hits 3.5. The total currently sits at 56.5, which is above 55, the most key number in betting college football totals.
Oregon State Vs. Washington State Key Matchups
In this matchup, we’re going to see strength on strength for each team’s offense and defense. I broke down the two key matchups that will determine who wins this game below.
Damien Martinez Vs. Washington State’s Run Defense
This season has been excellent for Oregon State running back Damien Martinez, who is averaging 8.6 yards per attempt. It’s been exciting to see last year’s Pac-12 Freshman Offensive Player of the Year pick up right where he left off.
Martinez ended last season with a six-game streak of 100+ rushing yards, including 111 against Washington State, before getting hurt in the bowl game. Martinez has led the top rushing offense in the country by EPA.
Washington State’s run defense has been excellent this season, however, as they’re top 20 in rushing EPA per play allowed. Corralling Martinez will be the top priority for head coach Jake Dickert and his staff.
Damien Martinez = Good 🔥 pic.twitter.com/0t0BNfiUNj
— Jeremy (@PopesFFH) September 10, 2023
Cameron Ward Vs. Oregon State’s Pass Defense
After an unconvincing first year at Washington State, Cameron Ward seems to have elevated his play across the board. He’s top 20 in the Power Five in adjusted completion percentage and yards per attempt per PFF.
Ward has been an awesome fit for new offensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle’s system. Arbuckle, just 27 years old, was the quarterbacks coach at Western Kentucky when Bailey Zappe broke the single-season collegiate record with 5,967 passing yards.
When Ward faced Oregon State last year, he struggled. He completed just 46.3% of his passes and had a poor 48.4 PFF passing grade. While many of the players have changed from last year, the defense is still built to give Ward some headaches in this game.
Cameron Ward hit him in stride 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/yomwIbZUT9
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 16, 2023