None wanted it. Even fewer demanded it. Nonetheless, after a one-year hiatus, we’re back with some preseason prop bets.
Welcome to the 2019 Washington State Cougars football season. If there’s one thing I’ve come to realize over the last 5-10 years, it’s that the older I get, the faster time seems to go. While it definitely doesn’t seem like yesterday, it hardly feels like it’s been eight damn months since WSU beat the Iowa State Cyclones to win the Alamo Bowl.
But eight months it’s been, which means we’re getting set to turn the page and arrive at yet another chapter of Cougar Football. Much like Christmas morning, we’re upstairs in our virtual (or real, I’m not gonna judge) pajamas, waiting for mom and dad to call on us so we can sprint downstairs and tear through each of the 12 or 13 (or maybe 14!) presents under the tree.
Some of the stuff will be the candy filler in the stockings (New Mexico State and Northern Colorado). A few more presents will (hopefully) be what we thought we’d get (wins over OSU, Colorado, ASU etc). And maybe, just maybe, we will find that Official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle under the tree, in the form of an Apple Cup win.
But before we get to all that, let’s have a little fun. Aside from watching a Cougar win on the field, few things are more fun than speculating on the fortunes of the team over the course of the season, both on and off the field. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some prop bets for the 2019 season. I hope you enjoy.
1 - Over/Under 1.5 WSU quarterbacks to start a game in 2019, injuries excluded
Over -110 / Under +120
Comment: Anthony Gordon surprised most Cougar fans and pundits alike by winning the starting job. We know that Leach isn’t a fan of playing the backup unless things go south in a hurry, so the real issue in this case is how long you think Anthony Gordon’s leash will be, given that he has a (presumably) capable guy holding the clipboard.
2 - Over/Under 9.5 WSU receivers who catch 20 or more passes
Over +110 / Under -110
Comment: Beginning in 2013, here is the number of WSU players who caught 20 or more passes in a season: 10, 8, 10, 10, 9, 10. The Cougs lost two of the 10 players who caught 20+ passes last season in James Williams and Kyle Sweet. What remains to be seen is whether Deon McIntosh proves adept at catching passes, and if there is an inside receiver who matches or exceeds Sweet’s total. If I were to guess, I’d set the number at nine.
3 - Over/Under 1050.5 total yards in the WSU vs. Houston game
Over -120 / Under: Even
Comment: In 2018, WSU averaged 451.5 yards per game, while the Houston Cougars scorched their way to 512.5, despite missing star quarterback D’Eriq King for the final 2.5 games. If you’re scoring at home, both sets of Cougars averaged 964 yards per game. Additionally, both defenses lost their best players, and this game will be played indoors.
4 - Over/Under 3.5 Cougar wins vs. the Pac-12 North
Over +160 / Under -200
Comment: WSU’s record against the North over the last four years is 14-6 (3-2, 4-1, 3-2, 4-1). This year, they face OSU and Stanford at home, and travel to Oregon, Cal and Washington. The years when OSU is a home game are a bummer. Three tough intra-divisional road games make the Over a daunting proposition.
5 - Over/Under 2.5 Cougar wins vs. the Pac-12 South
Over +120 / Under -130
Comment: Mike Leach has absolutely owned the Pac-12 South over the last four seasons, compiling a 13-3 record. None of those three losses came at home. Despite WSU’s dominance of Utah over the last handful of seasons, this year will be a tough one. Add to that WSU’s trip to the Valley of Death known as Tempe, and getting three wins agains the South will be a big ask. Heck, even UCLA isn’t a sure thing.
6 - WSU bowl game odds by Pac-12 tie-in:
- Rose: 500-1
Comment: If the Cougs make the Rose Bowl, which almost certainly would require an Apple Cup win, I will row a dinghy across the Atlantic, through the Panama Canal and up to the Santa Monica Pier. I will then walk to Pasadena to watch the game.
- New Year’s Six: 497-1
Comment: This would mean at least a 10-2 record and carnage among the SEC. Highly unlikely.
- Alamo: 50-1
Comment: This isn’t reflective so much on WSU’s chances to be among the top 3-4 in the conference as it is that they played in San Antone last year.
- Holiday: 75-1
Comment: Similar but different than the Alamo. Do you think the fine folks on the Holiday Bowl committee want WSU anywhere near this game after the stink bombs they laid in 2016 and 2017? Probably not!
- Redbox: 8-1
Comment: Now we’re hitting the most likely set of bowls. This seems like a good landing spot for the Cougs because they’ve never been here, which would entice the committee. Also it’s during the day now! Hooray!
- Sun: 10-1
Comment: I wouldn’t be surprised at all if WSU ends up here. The good news is that the game’s date-time group is back where it belongs - New Year’s Eve - and not the goddamn day after Christmas.
- Las Vegas: 5-1
Comment: If WSU’s season plays out like I think it will, Vegas is a very likely landing spot. And who doesn’t want to spend the weekend before Christmas betting on every bowl game possible? Win back all the money you
flush down the toilet gladly spend on Christmas presents for the family!
- Cheez-It: 8-1
Comment: If you can’t spend the weekend before Christmas gambling away your life savings in Vegas, a somewhat distant second is hanging out on Mill Avenue shortly after Santa pays a visit.
7 - Does Mike Leach unleash an F-bomb laden tirade in front of HBO’s cameras?
Yes: Even / No -250
Comment: Leach has had a few famous soliloquies over the years, such as the Fat Little Girlfriends speech and the “toughness” rant after the Boise State loss, but something tells me that he issues 95% of his tongue-lashings behind closed doors. And while he talks about the players trying to avoid the distraction that the cameras can cause, I think he will be very aware of the unblinking eyes when addressing his team.
8 - Over/Under 9.5 times during a WSU broadcast that Yogi Roth says “Graduate-level throw” and/or “Layering.”
Over -500 / Under +250
Comment: This can also double as a drinking game, provided you’ve pre-identified a liver donor.
9 - Over/Under 0.5 Apple Cups for WSU in the next five seasons
Over +10,000 / Under -5,000
Comment: Despite the juice, put your life savings on the Under and thank me later. Sorry to end this section of the preview on a downer. Regardless, THE 2019 FOOTBALL SEASON IS HERE LET’S GOOOOOOOOO COUGS!