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Forecasting the betting lines for WSU in 2015

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Some early college football betting lines were released this week.

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For the ninth consecutive year, the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas became the first casino to release betting lines on several 2015 college football games. Aaron Polevoi linked the lines on the Pac-12 games yesterday. Here is the full list (get in on BYU +6 at home against Boise State, and Auburn +6.5 at Arkansas as soon as possible). This is always an interesting proposition, as several of these games won't be played until November and beyond.

The only WSU game on the list was the Apple Cup, in which the Cougs opened as a 4.5 point underdog. Given the records of the two teams in 2014, the odds-makers are clearly bearish on Washington's prospects in 2015, likely due to the monumental losses on defense and at receiver.

Since there's only one WSU game listed, and since it's the last regular season game of the year (hopefully not the last game of the year), I figured I'd take a stab at the point spreads for WSU's other games. There is obviously a significant amount of forecasting required, and I'll never pretend to have a crystal ball, at least not this far in advance. The biggest variable, as always, is injuries. It's still a fun exercise, so let's get to it.

Portland State at WSU (-27): I know the casinos don't release lines on FCS games, but somehow lines for these games always show up on my score app, so why not take a guess?

WSU at Rutgers (-7): Both teams will be coming off opening games against FCS teams. While Rutgers will be breaking in a lot of new players, chances are that WSU will be a decided underdog since they will be traveling across the country, and are coming off a 3-9 season. Plus, that intimidating venue known as High Point Solutions Stadium is good for another couple points. This is a major look ahead spot for Rutgers, as they face Penn State the next week. For whatever reason, Rutgers hates (and I mean, HATES) Penn State.

Wyoming at WSU (-13): This line will be heavily influenced on how WSU performs at Rutgers, since it will be WSU's first real test. This game is the first test for Wyoming, as they face North Dakota and Eastern Michigan to open the year. Even though Wyoming will likely enter the game 2-0, they're in the early stages of rebuilding mode, which will tilt the line further toward WSU.

WSU at Cal (-3.5): The Cougs will be coming off an early bye, while Cal will finally be returning home after road games at Texas and Washington. Cal isn't winning at Texas, and they might not win at Washington. That, combined with WSU's off week will keep this line pretty low.

WSU at Oregon (-28): The second consecutive road game for the Cougs, coupled with Oregon having a glorified walkthrough in Boulder the previous week makes for a big line here. There's also the fact that WSU has lost by an average of nearly 33 points in their last four trips to Autzen Stadium, which doesn't exactly help.

Oregon State at WSU (-3): I'm guessing this will be the classic, "Uh, we don't know what the heck will happen in this game, so just make the home team a three point favorite" scenario. Also, despite the fact that OSU will be predicted near the bottom of the conference, they've performed well above expectations of late when on the road against WSU.

WSU at Arizona (-14.5): Once again, the Cougs face a team coming off a game at Colorado. Arizona will be no worse that 5-2 coming in, and could very well be 6-1, depending on how their rebuilt offensive line comes together. WSU, meanwhile, enters an extremely difficult stretch.

Stanford (-17) at WSU: While WSU will be coming off a near-certain road loss, Stanford will enter the game much as Arizona did when it faced WSU, near the top of its division standings with a realistic shot at winning the title. Much like Oregon State, Stanford has had little difficulty on the road against WSU in recent years. Hopefully Kevin Hogan's arm punts help keep the Cougs in it.

Arizona State (-14.5) at WSU: Continuing WSU's murderous late season stretch, we get a visit from the Sun Devils. The Cougs hung with ASU last season until they decided to start giving the ball away. The last time this game was in Pullman was Halloween 2013, and ASU destroyed the Cougs. While it may not affect the line much, this is a huge letdown spot for ASU, as they face Oregon at home the week prior.

WSU at UCLA (-21.5): The Cougs will be licking their wounds after consecutive games against Pac-12 heavy weights. During that same stretch, UCLA will have faced Cal, Colorado and Oregon State. As long as UCLA keeps the parent-coach kettle bell brawls to less than two during the week, expect them to be heavy favorites. Interestingly, WSU (despite the quality of the 2010 and 2011 versions) has had its chances during the last two games in the Rose Bowl.

Colorado at WSU (-6): Just like WSU, Colorado enters this game coming off a brutal run of opponents, having faced UCLA, Stanford and USC in the last three weeks. There is a very good chance that Colorado could have bowl eligibility on the line in this one, even though there's also a realistic chance that they'll enter the game on a six game losing streak. If things break right for the Cougs, they'll also still be alive for the postseason, which will keep this line close.

So there you have it. Feel free to tell me why some or all of these lines are way off, and let me know what you all think the lines will be, it you feel so inclined

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