The first official betting line I’ve seen on the Washington-Eastern Washington game is out, listing the Huskies as 18-point favorites.
You can find it here from VegasInsider.com — games are listed by Eastern time so scroll down a ways to find the UW game.
Using the trusty Phil Steele magazine as a reference, it looks like that would be the biggest spread in UW’s favor since the Huskies were 24-point favorites in the 2009 Apple Cup, a game Washington won 30-0. UW was also a 20-point favorite that year against Idaho, a game it won 42-23, so getting the win but not the cover.
Other than those two games, you have to go back to the 2006 season opener against San Jose State to find another similar spread. That year, UW was a 20-point favorite against the Spartans but won just 35-29 as SJSU scored a few times late to make the game close.
A couple of months ago, I actually guessed that UW would open as a 19-point favorite against Eastern, so I can legitimately say the line is about what I expected.
I would also guess now that the line might go up in UW’s favor as kickoff approaches as bettors might think that just a tad low for a Pac-12 team hosting a lower-division team.
And worth reiterating here that the lines are set essentially to try to get even action on each team — to set a line that will entice basically half the people to bet on each side (that way, the book wins, guaranteed its take of the vigorish (defined here). If a lot of action comes in on one side or the other, the line is adjusted to try to get more action back on the other side.
In other Pac-12 openinig week lines:
— Arizona is a 27.5-point favorite over visiting Northern Arizona;
— Utah is a 28-point favorite over visiting Montana State;
— Oregon State is a 27.5-point favorite over visiting Sacramento State;
— WSU is also a 27.5-point favorite over Idaho State (the Pac-12 getting lots of chances to prove its superiority over the Big Sky);
— Arizona State is a 35.5-point favorite over visiting UC-Davis;
— Houston is a 3.5-point favorite over UCLA in a key game for Rick Neuheisel’s hot seat;
— USC is a 21-point favorite over a visiting Minnesota team starting over under new coach Jerry Kill;
— Stanford is a 27.5-point favorite over San Jose State;
— Cal is a 10-point favorite over Fresno State in a game at Candlestick Park;
— Oregon is a 1-point favorite over LSU;
— and finally, Hawaii is a 7-point favorite over visiting Colorado, an interesting clash of two teams UW will face in the first half of the season.