Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. Washington College Football Playoff prediction and preview


Sugar Bowl: Texas vs. Washington in the College Football Playoff semifinals

The second of the two College Football Playoff semifinals features the Washington Huskies taking on the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. These two exciting programs will clash at 8:45 pm ET on Monday, January 1. Keep reading for our Texas vs. Washington betting preview and predictions. 


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Texas Longhorns (-4.5, 63.5) vs. Washington Huskies

The oddsmakers didn’t give Washington much of a chance against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game, but the Huskies came away with a 34-31 win as +300 moneyline underdogs. That was Washington’s second win over a very good Oregon team this season, and the Huskies had a good argument to be the top-seeded team in the CFP after that. But Washington will now face a Texas team that blew out Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship Game, setting up a meeting between Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian and his former team. 

Both of these teams are explosive offensively, as the Huskies are 11th in the nation in scoring offense (37.7 points per game) and the Longhorns are 16th (36.2 points per game). However, Texas is going to feel pretty good about its chances of slowing Washington down. The Huskies leaned heavily on the run in the second half of the season, as quarterback Michael Penix Jr. cooled down after a hot start while running back Dillon Johnson really started cooking on the ground. But the Longhorns are giving up only 80.8 rushing yards per game, which is the fourth-best mark in the nation. So, I don’t see Johnson finding many holes against Texas. Also, while the Longhorns secondary is beatable, I do think the pass rush will get to Penix Jr. here — especially if he’s a sitting duck in the pocket, which he was against Oregon. 

It’s also hard to ignore that Quinn Ewers played one of his best games of the year against Oklahoma State, throwing for 452 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Ewers dealt with a somewhat serious shoulder injury in the middle of the season, but that last performance suggests he’s fully back. When you combine his ability to throw the deep ball with the offensive line’s ability to block for a good stable of running backs, Washington’s defense could be in for a long game — especially with Sarkisian being one of the nation’s top play callers. 

On top of all that, Texas fans are likely going to travel in bunches to nearby New Orleans. So, the Huskies might be dealing with a pro-Longhorns crowd.

Lean: Texas -4.5 & Under 63.5 (Stronger lean to Texas -4.5) 

Game Trends from Steve Makinen

CFP SEMIFINAL Allstate Sugar Bowl – Caesars Superdome (New Orleans)

* WASHINGTON is 20-5 Under in the last 25 games vs. efficient offense averaging less than 13.20 yards per point (5-2 to Under this season)

*WASHINGTON is 9-1 Under in the last 10 games with more than 1,500 travel miles (1-0 to Under this season)

System Match: PLAY UNDER the total

* TEXAS is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 games vs Pac-12 teams

* TEXAS is 6-1 ATS in the last seven games revenging a loss (4-1 ATS this season, loss vs Washington last bowl season)

System Match: PLAY TEXAS