College Football Picks: Arizona State at Arizona Betting Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/2/2010
It’s our final Thursday night NCAA regular-season preview of the season, and it’s not exactly a great finale as Arizona State visits Arizona for the Territorial Cup, which apparently is recognized by the NCAA as the nation's oldest trophy game. So there’s that.
The Wildcats (7-4) enter on a three-game losing streak, but those losses were to three pretty good teams: Stanford, USC and Oregon. Last week against the Ducks, Arizona was up 19-14 at the half. But Oregon outscored Arizona by 17 in the third and rushed for 299 yards in the second half, more than tripling its first-half output. Nick Foles passed for a career-high 448 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona.
ASU (5-6) might have saved Dennis Erickson’s job in last week’s 55-34 win over UCLA, which ended a two-game slide for the Sun Devils. Backup QB Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and four touchdowns for ASU.
There are bowl implications for both teams – possibly. Arizona already has clinched a bowl berth, probably either the Alamo or Holiday Bowl. Arizona State would get to six wins with a victory, which normally is all a team needs to get bowl eligible. But two of the Devils’ wins are over FCS schools, an NCAA postseason no-no if you only have six total wins, so Arizona State has sent paperwork to the NCAA requesting a bowl waiver if it wins this game. If Arizona wins there could be as few as three Pac-10 bowl teams this season (depending on what Washington does in the Apple Cup).
Arizona has beat ASU in the past two seasons and leads the all-time series 46-36-1.
Arizona State at Arizona Predictions: Team breakdowns
Osweiler will start this game for the Devils. He rescued them last week when they were down 17-0 in the first quarter and starter Steven Threet went out with a concussion. Even if Threet is medically cleared to play, he will only back up Osweiler, who was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts against the Bruins.
If it comes down to special teams, that could benefit ASU. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 with their three kick returns for touchdowns. And they have blocked four kicks this season, the most for the school in 14 years.
Arizona has one of the nation’s best receivers in Juron Criner. His 67 receptions this year are the 6th best single-season mark in UA history. His 1,091 receiving yards are the fourth most in school history. His eight TD catches are three short of tying the school record. And he hasn’t even been 100 percent healthy most of the year. Tonight’s game likely will be his last at UA as he is expected to go pro.
Foles and Criner could hook up often as ASU is just No. 8 in the Pac-10 against the pass, allowing 243.4 yards per game. The Sun Devils also have only two sacks the past two games.
The Wildcats rank 112th among FBS teams in red-zone success, scoring on just 73 percent of their opportunities. ASU is fifth nationally in red-zone defense, allowing just 28 scores on 43 trips.
Arizona State at Arizona betting odds
Arizona is a five-point favorite with the total at 55, according to college football odds. Currently the Wildcats are getting about 70 percent of the lean. The line has moved toward ASU as much as 1.5 points since its opening at some books. The total has been steady. Arizona is 6-5 ATS and 3-3 at home. ASU is 7-2-2 ATS and 3-1-1 away.
Arizona State at Arizona betting trends
ASU is 4-0-1 ATS vs. teams with a winning record
Arizona is 4-0 ATS in its past four Thursday games
The ‘under’ is 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings
The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings
Arizona State at Arizona Betting College Football Picks
Do you realize ASU has played three of the BCS Top 5 teams this year? The Devils could well have beaten both Stanford and Wisconsin and they also gave Oregon fits for a while. And while the Devils are 1-4 on the road, they had a chance to win all but one of those games (Cal crushed them). I also think playing Oregon takes something out of teams the next week, so that’s a negative for Arizona. Take the Sun Devils to cover here. And the ‘over’.
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