Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 9:30 AM EST
10:15 PM EST. The Utes enter this contest undefeated and boast a #18 ranking in the polls. Furthermore, they get this match-up at home in Salt Lake City against a Stanford team that has lost both times it has been on the road in 2017. There are many reasons why Utah could be priced as a pup on its own field despite its unblemished record. First off, Utah hasn’t really played anyone. The Utes opened up their 2017 campaign hosting FCS opponent North Dakota in what was essentially a scheduled win. Utah narrowly covered as a 20½-point choice when they won 37-16. In their follow-up, Utah would defeat BYU on the road in a renewal of The Holy War but again barely covered as a -4½ point favorite when they won 19-13. In hindsight, that was not much of a blockbuster win given the fact BYU is 1-5 on the year and has been embarrassed in Provo on several occasions already in 2017. The Utes would round off their docket with a thumping of perennial cupcake San Jose State and a win at an irrelevant Arizona team who went 3-9 in 2016. In spite of Utah entering undefeated both against-the-spread and straight up, there was an expressed lack of faith in the market that they could handle Arizona by a significant margin. Thus, the Utes closed as 4.5-point choice and narrowly went over the number when they won 30-24. From a betting perspective, Utah seems lucky. From the standpoint of quality, the Utes remain unproven and this was before they lost their starting quarterback Tyler Huntley for an undetermined amount of time due to a shoulder injury sustained against the Wildcats, last week. The Utes have been playing with fire against weak opponents and you know what they say about playing with fire.
Though the Cardinal have lost two games already in 2017, they have played a much tougher schedule. This is a team that entered the 2017 season in the top-15 across many polls. The Cardinal traditionally are a bunch that like to fight their opponents in phone booths. They run the ball down your throat and like to play a physical and smashmouth style of defense that is atypical of Pac-12 teams. They also have one of the better coaching minds in college football, in boss man David Shaw. However, the season has been a bit bumpy for the boys from Palo Alto in the early going. The Cardinal would open up with a 62-7 win against Rice in its opener and then suffer a 42-24 defeat at a then ranked #6 USC in the Coliseum on September 9th. The Cardinal would follow that up with a 20-17 upset loss at a currently-undefeated #19 San Diego State the week thereafter. Since navigating that rough patch, the Cardinal rebounded and won two consecutive games against UCLA and Arizona State in impressive fashion. The Cardinal managed to outgun perhaps the passing leader in America in Bruins signal-caller Josh Rosen in the 58-34 triumph and handed a 34-24 defeat to a Sun Devils team that took down an undefeated and healthy Oregon Ducks. Stanford managed to beat ASU without their starting quarterback Keller Chryst due to concussion protocol. Now, they get him back for this match-up.
Overall, the difference between a battle-tested Cardinal and a cupcake-eating Utes will be the biggest factor in this outcome. Stanford is a legit squad that is gaining steam while the Utes are one of the biggest frauds in the country. The public is eating up a ranked team getting points at home against an unranked opponent but it’s not going to taste very good when this one is in the books.
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#355 Stanford -3½ -106 (Risking 2.12 units - To Win: 2.00)