NCAAF Sugar Bowl Betting Preview: No. 3 Texas vs. No. 2 Washington

Written by:
Tyrone Black
Published on:
Dec/26/2023

The second semifinal in the College Football Playoffs goes New Year’s Night in New Orleans, with the Sugar Bowl offering the No. 3 Texas Longhorns (12-1, 8-1 in Big 12) taking on the Washington Huskies (13-0, 9-0 Pac-12).

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Ironically, both teams bolted their conferences, Texas to the SEC, Washington to the Big Ten.

Texas has won its last seven, having stumbled only against Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry. The final two games of the season (Texas Tech and Oklahoma St.) saw the Longhorns win by a combined score of 106-28.   

Washington has been pristine this season, though not always in the easiest of ways. The Huskies whipped the Oregon Ducks by a field goal in the title game of the Pac-12. That was the fourth consecutive (seventh overall) one-possession win of this season (twice against Oregon).

Both teams can flip the scoreboard, Washington averaging 37.7 points per game (eighth in NCAA), Texas at a 36.2 points/game (13th) clip.

Texas is a four-point favorite (total at 63½), according to college football odds.

Moneyline is Longhorns -180, Huskies at +155.

Texas is leading the all-time series, 3-2. 

Turnaround in Texas

It's been a much better year in Austin, that after the Texas Longhorns barely cracked the Top 25 last season.

Quarterback Quinn Ewers (3,161 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, six interceptions) has completed more than 70 percent of his throws, coming off a four-touchdown effort against Oklahoma St. in the title game of the Big 12.

Ewers has solid acquaintances in wideout Xavier Worthy (73 receptions, 969 yards, five touchdowns) and Adonai Mitchell (51 receptions, 813 yards, 10 touchdowns).

Running back Jonathon Brooks (1,139 yards. 10 touchdowns. 6.1 yards/carry) was lost (torn ACL), a void the ‘Horns may not fill.

Defensively vulnerable through the air, Texas surrendered just 80.8 yards/game on the ground. 

Hail the Huskies

The Washington Huskies did everything they needed to do to roll a baker’s dozen this season, much of it in the defensively-challenged Pac-12.

Lefty quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (4,218 yards, 33 touchdowns, nine interceptions) spearheads an offense averaging an NCAA-leading 343.8 air yards per game. The former Indiana Hoosier has been somewhat of wild card this season, picked off in six of his last eight,

Wide receivers Rome Odunze (81 receptions, 1,428 yards, 13 touchdowns) and Ja’lynn Polk (60 receptions, 1,000 yards, eight touchdowns) are as lethal a tandem as there is in the college game, providing the Longhorns quite the test.

It’s a defense that surrendered close to 400 yards/game during the season, so the “Horns figure to exploit that during the game.  

Washington is Sweet

As is the case in all bowl games, check opt-outs, transfer portals and coaching-staff changes.

While the Texas Longhorns have put together a terrific season in 2023, this may just be a magical run with the Washington Huskies (7-1 [+700] to win the title, as per college football championship odds).

Washington has won close games all season, generally by outscoring the other guys.

Expect the Huskies +4 (moneyline +155) to advance to the with a win in the Sugar Bowl.

Go under, too.

- Tyrone Black, Gambling911.com

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