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No. 3 Texas is a four-point favorite over No. 2 Washington

The betting line favors the Longhorns to successfully exact revenge for last year’s Alamo Bowl loss to the Huskies.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Valero Alamo Bowl Photo by John Rivera/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the 24 days since the No. 3 Texas Longhorns earned a spot in the College Football Playoffs against the Washington Huskies in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1, the betting line has continued to favor the Longhorns, moving from 4.5 points to four points during that time, according to DraftKings.*

Given the undefeated record of the Huskies and last year’s 27-20 win over the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, that’s perhaps a bit of a surprise given the firepower of Heisman Finalist quarterback Michael Penix Jr. leading Kalen DeBoer’s explosive offense, a relationship that dates back to their time together with the Hoosiers.

“From my end, I knew what we had and I knew we had a really good quarterback that if he was in charge, we were going to be able to have one of the better ones in the country,” DeBoer said on Tuesday after arriving in New Orleans. “I think as time gone on, he has really pushed himself to the new levels. The talent, the skill set has always about there. I think his instinctiveness, his football IQ, I knew this back four years ago that it was elite. But he’s had guys now surround him that can make plays, can protect him.”

But line favors Texas perhaps in part because the Longhorns don’t have opt outs this season and perhaps in part because this team has improved over the last year, growth put on full display during the last two games in which Steve Sarkisian’s team outscored its opponents 106-28.

The avatar for that improvement is quarterback Quinn Ewers, who has lost weight, matured, and grown into his role as a second-year starter.

“I think the thing you see is that he’s had continual growth from a year ago. That’s not just Quinn but also just the rest of the team, along with his skill group, are in sync. You can see they’re executing at an extremely high level. I think his command of the offense has continued to improve from a year ago,” DeBoer said.

“And so we’re expecting a much different football team than we saw, which was a very good football team, even a year ago. And so he’s protected. He understands, I think, just from a football sense, it’s another year into your career. And so been very impressed. He can deliver the ball, put it wherever he wants. We know we’ll have our hands full trying to slow Quinn and the offense down.”

Kickoff is at approximately 7:45 p.m. Central on Jan. 1 on ESPN, pending the conclusion of the other semifinal at the Rose Bowl.

Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.