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The headline is slang for a low-scoring game. That’s what I’m expecting in the Alamo Bowl when the No. 21 Texas Longhorns (8-4) meet the No. 12 Washington Huskies (10-2) Thursday at the Alamodome.
Texas started the season 2-2 before rallying for a 6-2 finish to make a bowl game in coach Steve Sarkisian’s second season in Austin. The Longhorns are 8-4 against the spread (ATS) and 6-6 Over/Under (O/U) this season.
Washington has won six straight entering the Alamo Bowl behind the country’s leader in passing yards per game, QB Michael Penix Jr. The Huskies are 7-5 ATS and 8-3-1 O/U in 2022.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Washington (+130), Texas (-150)
- ATS: Washington +3 (-110), Texas -3 (-110)
- Total — 67 — Over: -110, UNDER: -110
It’s hard to pick a side in this game but Texas-Washington screams UNDER 67 (-110). According to Pregame.com, a slight majority of the money is on the Under.
Whereas two-thirds of the bets placed at the time of writing are on the Over. This is what’s called a Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market.
Generally, the cash column of the betting splits is considered the sharper side of the market because professional bettors wager a lot more money than your average Joe.
Not only that but let’s …
Fade an overrated Huskies offense
Washington’s offense look like world beaters but have played weak defenses. The Huskies’ strength of schedule ranks 69th nationally.
Here are Washington’s best offensive performances vs. Power 5 schools this season followed by their opponents’ rank in defensive points/play (remember there are only 131 FBS programs):
- 40 vs. Stanford (ranked 120th) on Sept. 24
- 38 vs. Arizona State (112th) on Oct. 8
- 49 vs. Arizona (122nd) on Oct. 15
- 37 vs. Oregon (97th) on Nov. 12
- 54 vs. Colorado (131st) on Nov. 19
- 51 on Washington State (32nd) on Nov. 26
Obviously, Washington State’s defense is pretty good. Otherwise, Washington has played crappy defenses.
Texas’s defense is low-key nasty
The Longhorns are 11th in points/play allowed, 20th in yards per play (YPP) and has shown up vs. quality offenses. They have played the second-toughest strength of schedule, according to Sports Reference.
Texas held Alabama with 2021 Heisman Trophy winning QB Bryce Young to just 20 points. The Longhorns held TCU with 2022 Heisman finalist, QB Max Duggan, to just 17 points. Duggan threw for 124 yards and the Horned Frogs averaged just 3.9 YPP in that game.
Texas shut out Oklahoma 49-0 in the Red River Rivalry and the Sooners averaged just 3.3 YPP. Plus the Longhorns are 1-5 to the Under with a -13.3 total margin in games with a total higher than 60.
On the other hand …
Texas has a suspect offense
First of all, the Longhorns replaced sophomore QB Hudson Card midseason with true freshman QB Quinn Ewers who’s been significantly worse.
Ewers has a 56.6% completion rate (Card completed 69.4% of his passes), 7.3 adjusted yards per pass (Card has a 9.4 AY/P) and a 131.4 QB Rating (Card has a 158.1 QB RTG).
Texas’s top-two running backs both opted out of the Alamo Bowl. Longhorns RB Bijan Robinson led the Big XII in rushing yards (1,580) and rushing TDs (18) and won the Doak Walker Award for the nation’s best running back.
Aside from Robinson and backup RB Roschon Johnson, the other three RBs on the Longhorns’ depth chart have rushed for a combined 271 yards. Washington’s defense is 30th in yards per rush allowed (3.6) as well.
‘Style make fights’
This is another way of me saying, “There’s going to be a lot of running clock in Texas-Washington”. Neither can get offenses off the field but both defenses stiffen up in the red zone.
Washington has the best third-down conversion rate in the country and is 121st in opponent’s third-down conversion percentage. Texas is 12th in opponent’s red zone scoring rate and Washington is 17th.
Furthermore, the Huskies are 11th in turnovers per game and 118th in turnovers per game forced. While the Longhorns are 107th in turnovers per game forced and 21st in turnovers per game.
Both defenses rank outside the top-100 in opponent’s completion rate. This goes back to my original point: “A lot of running clock”.
The offenses in Texas-Washington will be able to move the chains but will settle for 3s instead of 6s when inside the red zone.
Alamo Bowl Best Bet: UNDER 67 in Texas-Washington at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to 65
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