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WSU remains a steady favorite against Rutgers

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The betting line is bouncing around some, but WSU continues to be favorited for the season opener.

William Mancebo

The betting odds haven't exactly been in Washington State's favor much in recent years, especially against notable opponents. For the first time in the Mike Leach era, however, it appears WSU will be favored in its season opener. WSU opened as the favorite against Rutgers and the Cougars continue to be favored, even as the betting line moves. The latest odds have WSU as an 8.5-point favorite against the Scarlet Knights.

The odds vary some depending on the sportsbook. Vegas Insider gives a rundown of all the movement. Caesars/Harrah's and a few others have the Cougars as a 9.5-point favorite it their latest odds while the Treasure Island sportsbook has WSU as an 8-point favorite. The consensus from Vegas Insider has WSU at 8.5-points following the Sunday update. That is down from 9.5-points earlier last week, but still a healthy margin.

Being favored against a quality has been rare. WSU was a 14-point underdog in the season opener against Auburn last year and a 13.5-point underdog to open the 2012 season against BYU. WSU has been favored against a BCS opponent just three times in the Leach era. WSU was a 1.5-point favorite against California and Utah last year. The Cougars won both games. WSU was a 20-point favorite against Colorado in 2012 ... we won't talk about that game.

The last time WSU was favored against a power conference opponent in Week 1? You have to go all the way back to 1998 when WSU opened the season as an 11.5-point favorite against Illinois. Here is a breakdown of WSU's season opening odds in the last 20 years.

Year Opponent Spread Result
2014 vs. Rutgers 8.5-point favorite ???
2013 @ Auburn 14-point underdog Auburn 31-24
2012 @ BYU 13.5-point underdog BYU 30-6
2011 vs. Idaho State 29.5-point favorite WSU 64-21
2010 @ Oklahoma State 17-point underdog OSU 65-17
2009 vs. Stanford 17.5-point underdog Stanford 39-13
2008 vs. Oklahoma State 7.5-point underdog OSU 39-13
2007 @ Wisconsin 14.5-point underdog Wisc 42-21
2006 @ Auburn 14-point underdog Auburn 40-14
2005 vs. Idaho 29-point favorite WSU 38-26
2004 @ New Mexico 2-point favorite WSU 21-17
2003 vs. Idaho 26.5-point favorite WSU 25-0
2002 vs. Nevada 26.5-point favorite WSU 31-7
2001 @ Idaho 8-point favorite WSU 36-7
2000 vs. Stanford 3-point underdog Stanford 24-10
1999 vs. Utah 3-point favorite Utah 27-7
1998 vs. Illinois 11.5-point favorite WSU 20-13
1997 vs. UCLA 1-point favorite WSU 37-34
1996 @ Colorado 20-point underdog Colorado 37-19
1995 @ Pittsburgh 3-point favorite Pittsburgh 17-13

H/T to Britton Ransford for the link to Vegas Insider

Football:

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Aesthetically speaking, the setting was all that separated the first practice of Washington State’s 2014 football season from all those that preceded it under coach Mike Leach, and all that will follow. The Cougars returned to the two natural-grass fields of Lewiston’s Sacajawea Middle School to run nearly all the same drills in the same manner that they ran last spring, that they will run throughout the upcoming season and will run to prepare for a bowl game, should they return to the postseason as well.

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Day two in Lewiston is in the books and it was a pretty fun practice. The team session was about as close as any I've seen in all my months covering the Cougars and everybody seemed to be in a pretty good mood afterwards.

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Washington State football continued fall practice with a two-hour workout in helmets and shorts at Sacajawea Middle School Sunday afternoon.