Texas vs Washington Prediction: Sugar Bowl Odds and Picks

Texas and Washington are two of the most explosive offenses in the country, but one side has an edge on the other side of the ball. See where our college football picks have found value in this Sugar Bowl matchup.

Jan 1, 2024 • 19:06 ET • 4 min read
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The second College Football Playoff semifinal matchup should be a sweet one when the Washington Huskies take on the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl.

Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies kept proving their doubters wrong by winning all the way through the Pac-12 Championship, where they defeated Bo Nix and the Oregon Ducks as 10-point underdogs to finish the season 13-0. 

On the other side, the Texas Longhorns are back with a vengeance. They went 12-1 and won their first Big 12 title since 2009 while arguably securing the biggest win of the college football season, upsetting Alabama by 10 points as touchdown college football odds underdogs in Tuscaloosa.

This is a matchup of two of the most prolific offenses in the country, so is the total an easy mark here? I take a look at the bowl game odds for this CFP Semifinal and bring you the best bet in my Sugar Bowl free college football picks and predictions for Texas vs. Washington on Monday, January 1.

For more Sugar Bowl bets, check out our Texas vs. Washington prop picks!

Texas vs Washington best odds

Texas vs Washington picks and predictions

Washington and Texas are led by two of the best offenses in the country, so the Sugar Bowl should be compelling for college football fans.

The Huskies and their high-octane offense is led by quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who was the runner-up in the Heisman voting, throwing for 4,218 yards with 33 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Overall, Washington ranks fifth in the country in yards per play, sixth in EPA, first in passing yards per game, and 11th in scoring offense putting up 37.7 points per game. 

And despite being undefeated, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses this season for Washington. The Huskies got off to a great start, and a midseason win over Oregon had them riding high. But thanks to the offense sputtering a bit and a sub-par defense, Washington went just 2-6 ATS in their final eight regular season games, having to gut out several close games against lesser opponents.

So, by the time the Huskies got to the Pac-12 title game, everyone expected them to lose to Oregon the second time around, and were 10-point underdogs. But Washington proved everyone wrong and hunted the Ducks for a second straight game, punching its ticket to the Sugar Bowl.

Texas’ road to the Sugar Bowl was just as intriguing. The Longhorns started the season with a bang by heading to Tuscaloosa and upsetting Alabama as 7-point underdogs. 

They were cruising into the Red River Showdown, but fell to rival Oklahoma on a last-minute touchdown. But where old Texas teams would have crumbled after that heartbreaking defeat, this version rallied. And while every game wasn’t pretty, they never lost again.

QB Quinn Ewers might be playing his best football of the season, and if wideout Xavier Worthy is good to go, Texas arguably has the edge when it comes to skill position players. Overall, Texas ranks 14th in yards per play, but is a much more balanced offense than Washington, ranking 18th in passing yards per game and 24th in rushing yards per game.

But the biggest thing that Texas has that Washington doesn’t — and what could be the deciding factor in this CFP semifinal — is impact players on defense, particularly on the interior defensive line. The Longhorns have two future NFLers in T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II. Both defensive tackles, Sweat was the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, and Murphy was the Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year. 

Not only do Sweat and Murphy stuff the run, they pressure the quarterback as well. And no quarterback on Earth likes seeing pressure come up the middle right at them. Even Penix.

They lead a Longhorns defense that ranks 26th in yards per play, and 13th in opponent EPA. Against the pass, they rank 36th in opponent yards per attempt and are limiting opponents to a 59.6 completion percentage.

If there's a team in the country that can keep up with the Huskies on offense it’s the Longhorns. But those Texas defenders will be the difference here. Those guys will force Penix into a couple of mistakes which will allow the Longhorns to take advantage, punch their ticket to the CFP National Championship Game, and cover the spread all in one fell swoop. Texas is back.

My best bet: Texas -4 (-110 at DraftKings)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.

Texas vs Washington same-game parlay

Texas -4

Ja'Tavion Sanders Over 41.5 receiving yards

Jaydon Blue anytime TD

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I expected Texas to cover because it has an edge on defense, and the offense will do its part as well.

Now, Worthy and Adonai Mitchell get all the headlines when it comes to the Longhorns’ pass catchers, but don’t forget about Ja’Tavion Sanders. The Texas tight end would be the top tight end in the upcoming NFL Draft if Brock Bowers didn’t exist. But the secret is, Sanders is almost as good.

Sanders was Ewers' third-favorite target this season, hauling in 33 balls for 549 yards when the two played together. That’s an average of 49.9 yards per game. His receiving yards total is set at 41.5, and he went Over that number six times in 11 games with Ewers under center. With Worthy and Mitchell clearing out the defensive backs on the outside, I like Sanders to do his thing over the middle. Take the Over 41.5 yards.

It's Texas’ depth that makes them so dangerous. They lost starting running back Jonathan Brooks to a knee injury midway through the season. But CJ Baxter and Jaydon Blue have stepped up in his absence. 

Baxter has been the early-down guy, while Blue has been more versatile and is the home-run hitter. Blue gashed Texas Tech for 121 yards on the ground and has caught nine passes for 83 yards over the last three games. He’s found the endzone in each of the last two games. I like him to make it three in a row.

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Texas vs Washington spread and Over/Under analysis

The line for the Sugar Bowl opened with Texas as a 4-point favorite, and it has bounced back-and-forth between that and 4.5. But both numbers are still out there as of early Friday morning. So, if you like the Longhorns find a -4, and if you are backing the Huskies get yourself a +4.5.

For what it’s worth, Washington covered both games as an underdog this season. That said, Texas looks to be peaking at the right time and has covered the spread in three straight. Oh. And did I mention it beat Bama. In Tuscaloosa.

When it comes to the total, it hit the board at around 64, and with two of the best offenses in the country going at it, the Over looks like easy money right? Well, hold on.

The early money has come in on the Under with the total down to 63.5 and even some 62.5s are starting to pop up. 

Surprisingly, both teams played to the Under more than the Over this season. I would say it’s more surprising in Washington’s case considering its combination of good offense and sketchy defense. 

If you like the Under, I would guess public money will drive this number up again once kickoff gets closer, so I would wait for a better number. If you like the Over, act now. Oregon is a similar comp to Texas, and both those games would have gone Over this number. The number looks pretty good, so a real lean here for me.

Texas vs Washington betting trend to know

Washington has only hit the Over in six of its last 14 games for -2.8 units. Find more college football betting trends for Texas vs Washington.

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Texas vs Washington game info

Location: Caesars Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Date: Monday, January 1, 2024
Kickoff: 8:45 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN

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