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San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: #18 Washington State Cougars and #16 Michigan State Spartans

Cougar Pass Attack Tests Spartan Tenacious Defense

The San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl will be played at 9 p.m. E.T. on Thursday, Dec 28 as the #18 Washington State Cougars (9-3) battle the #16 Michigan State Spartans (9-3). A third-place finish was what the Cougar’s 6-3 record got them in the Pac-12 North. They were 3-2 for their last five games, but lost their final game of the season 41-14 to rival and #18 Washington. The Spartans finished 7-2 and third in the Big 10 East. They come into the Holiday Bowl on a two-game winning streak and having gone 3-2 for their last five games. Our Washington State plays Michigan State 2017 Holiday Bowl pick offers Washington State at -2.0 and the over/under at 47.0.

Washington State Overview

The Cougars are going to pass; it’s that simple. With an offense that’s averaging 31.4 PPG, you can count on this team tossing the ball a lot. Of their 446 YPG of offense, they’ve been averaging 375 YPG in the air. Senior QB Luke Falk (88.9 COMP%, 30 TDs, 9 INTs) is a savvy competitor and top-notch passer. Five receivers have 50 or more catches apiece. WR Tavares Martin Jr. (70 REC, 831 YDs, 11.9 AVG, 9 TDs) is the team’s top pass catcher. Jamal Morrow is the team’s primary running back with 86 carries for 522 yards. He’s averaging 6.1 YPA and has four TDs. Morrow also has 56 catches for 479 yards and five TDs.

The Washington State defense is tough on the pass, allowing teams an average of just 167 YPG in the air. They are giving up 142 YPG to opponent ground attacks while allowing on average 24.4 PPG. The D has more than 90 TFL and they have nailed 35 sacks. They also have 16 picks and just under 25 PD. DE Hercules Mata’afa is a major force on the field. He has 9.5 sacks and 21.5 TFL. Safety Jalen Thompson leads the team with 69 tackles and four picks.

Cougars Summary

  • Premium passing game
  • D is tough versus pass
  • QB Falk is a top-notch player

Michigan State Overview

The Spartans are averaging 23.1 PPG on offense. They’ve been rushing for 168 YPG while throwing for 215 YPG. This is an offense that relies on its very determined and tough defense. QB Brian Lewerke is the team’s second-leading rusher with 109 carries for 486 yards and five TDs. He’s also passed for 17 TDs while tossing seven picks. L. J. Scott is the team’s top running back, as he has 183 carries for 788 yards and six scores. WR Felton Davis III has 51 catches, eight TDs, and 658 yards.

The Michigan State defense is holding teams to 20.3 PPG. Teams are averaging 298 YPG against this D, including a mere 101 YPG on the ground and just 197 YPG in the air. The Spartans have a dozen interceptions, 43 PD, and 25 sacks. Plus, they have nailed 63 TFL. DB David Dowell has grabbed five picks, while DE Kenny Willekes has garnered 5.5 sacks and 13.0 TFL.

Spartans Summary

  • Michigan State rush offense is solid
  • Defense is tough on all levels
  • Spartans need to complete some passes

Three Holiday Bowl Takeaways

Here are our Washington State plays Michigan State 2017 Holiday Bowl pick takeaways-

  1. Offensive edge to Washington State
  2. Defensive edge to Michigan State
  3. Depth advantage- Cougars

Our San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl Pick

The over/under is low at 47.0. We are going with the over despite the fine defenses. There’s enough offense on both teams to toss over 47 points up on the scoreboard. Our Washington State plays Michigan State 2017 Holiday Bowl pick is the over at 47.0. We also like the Cougars at -2.0.

Summary Washington State at Michigan State Picks- Washington State at -2.0 and over 47.0


Paul has been writing about sports betting and sports for more than a decade, offering picks on the NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA, as well as on college sports and European football. He's written thousands of season and post-season previews, innumerable articles on sports betting strategies, and various books on sports and sports betting.

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