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Washington State vs Fresno State Prediction, Odds and College Football Betting Picks for LA Bowl

The CFP National Championship isn’t the only college football game that SoFi Stadium is hosting this postseason. The second annual LA Bowl is set to take place this Saturday and features a compelling matchup between the Washington State Cougars and the Mountain West Champion Fresno State Bulldogs. Although opening Washington State vs Fresno State odds favored the Pac-12 representative, the Bulldogs have received a lot of love in the college football betting picks market.

The following game preview provides the college football betting odds, trends and FEI Index ratings before sharing our official Washington State vs Fresno State prediction for the LA Bowl matchup.

Washington State vs Fresno State Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

LA Bowl
Washington State Cougars (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (9-4, 7-1 MWC)
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2022
Time: 3:30 p.m. EST
Venue: SoFi Stadium — Inglewood, CA
Coverage: ABC

Simply put, Washington State beat everyone except for the elite teams in the Pac-12 this season. All five of the Cougars’ losses on the year came against teams that finished 9-3 or better in the standings. That said, Wazzu played Oregon, Oregon State Utah and Washington extremely tough in defeat. The Cougs will be without a plethora of personnel for their bowl game including three wide receivers. Both the offensive and defensive coordinators are also gone after being hired to positions elsewhere.

For Fresno State, it took a major turnaround just to become bowl eligible, let alone win a conference title. The Bulldogs started the season 1-4 but haven’t lost a game since October 8th. The return of quarterback Jake Haener from injury is a big reason why. Fresno avenged its loss to Boise State by winning the Mountain West Championship Game on the blue turf. Despite being among the QBs expected to enter the NFL Draft, Haener will play in the LA Bowl.

Jake Haener Washington State vs Fresno State prediction odds college football betting picks LA Bowl game predictions
Credit: Kiel Maddox – USA TODAY Sports

Washington State vs Fresno State College Football Betting Picks and Odds

All college football betting odds for Washington State vs Fresno State can be found at BetOnline Sportsbook.

Moneyline: WSU: (+155) | FSU: (-175)
Point Spread: WSU: +4 (-110) | FSU: -4 (-110)
Total: 52.5 — Over: (-110) | Under: (-110)

College Football FEI Ratings

The following table shares the Fremeau Efficiency Index rankings for both teams involved in this LA Bowl matchup. The purpose of the FEI ratings is to represent the per-possession scoring advantage that a team would be expected to have on a neutral field against an average opponent. The rankings for offense and defense are out of 131 total FBS-level teams.

Fremeau Efficiency Index (FEI) ratings are froFootball Outsiders

TeamOverall FEI (Rk)OFEI (Rk)DFEI (Rk)
Washington State.38 (32).19 (54).41 (32)
Fresno State.16 (54).24 (52).10 (55)
  • Cougars are 7-1 ATS in their last eight games following a straight up loss.
  • Each of the Cougars’ last five non-conference games has stayed UNDER the total.
  • Cougars are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 games against unranked opponents.
  • Bulldogs are 0-5 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
  • Bulldogs are 21-5 ATS in their last 26 games after rushing for less than 100 yards in their previous game.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the Bulldogs’ last five games after totaling fewer than 275 yards of offense in their previous game.
  • Bulldogs are just 1-8 both straight up and ATS in their last nine games against Pac-12 Conference opponents.

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Washington State vs Fresno State Prediction | College Football Betting Picks

In the four games that Jake Haener missed entirely, Fresno State held to 20 points or less on three occasions. Not counting the loss to USC when he got hurt, the Bulldogs have scored 28+ points in every game that Haener has played in. The sheer productivity of the Bulldogs’ offense with Haener compared to without shows just how important he is to this team. 

The college football betting picks market also provided a clear indicator of Haener’s importance two weeks ago. Fresno State was only a three-point road underdog against Boise State in the Mountain West title game. That line was certainly a far cry from the 10-point spread for the regular season meeting that Haener missed.

Unfortunately for bettors, it’s tough to justify backing Fresno State in the LA Bowl considering how far the line has already moved. Knowing that one could’ve previously gotten the Bulldogs as a 2.5-point underdog makes laying a full field goal highly unattractive. 

The sentiment expressed above becomes even more profound when one considers how physical and scrappy Washington State is on defense. The Cougars finished the year ranked 32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency. There’s no denying that this will be a step up in competition for Haener and the Fresno offense compared to some of the awful MWC teams.

All season long, the Bulldogs’ main weakness defensively was against the run. Well, Wazzu’s offense is predicated on Cameron Ward and the passing attack. The Cougars ranked 111th in FBS with only 110.4 rushing yards per game. Given this, FSU should be able to match up well and keep Washington State’s offense in check.

UNDER THE TOTAL will be our official college football betting Fresno State vs Washington State prediction for the LA Bowl.

For what it’s worth, the ESPN Matchup Predictor gives Washington State a 57.2% chance to win this game outright.

Bet: UNDER 52.5 (-110 at BetOnline Sportsbook)

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