Free Expert NCAA Football Picks: Arizona State Sun Devils at Oregon State Beavers Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 11/12/2014
Arizona State Sun Devils at Oregon State Beavers, Saturday Nov. 15, 10:45 p.m. ET
This is not a marquee matchup. Oregon State is neither very good nor very relevant. They are in tough here. My interest in this game has everything to do with the Sun Devils. Despite some solid wins, it was easy to discard this Sun Devils team as a pretender after they were destroyed by UCLA at the end of September. They bounced back well, though, and their total massacre of Notre Dame last weekend was very clear proof that this team has something to offer in the race for the inaugural College Football Playoffs.
They aren't in the picture yet, but three more wins in their remaining manageable games would get them to 11-1. Combine that with a win over Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship, and the Sun Devils would be very hard to leave out. This game, then, is the first step in the race to the future for Arizona State. And it's a pretty good chance to play spoiler for the Beavers during their otherwise lost season.
Arizona State at Oregon State Betting Storylines
The Sun Devils are coming off their biggest win of the year last week - a stunning decimation of a Notre Dame team that almost beat Florida State. What we don't know about this team is how focused they are going to be right after a win like that. Will they be focused and ready to go, or will there be a letdown? Their previous biggest win was at USC, but that doesn't tell us much. For starters, the next game was against Stanford - a more formidable foe by far than Oregon State. The team also had a bye week after the USC win to get the excitement out of their systems and get back on task.
This isn't a team that is experienced with being nationally relevant. With a playoff berth being a realistic possibility, and two relatively easy games ahead before a season-ending showdown with bitter rivals Arizona, it would be easy for this team to get ahead of themselves and get in trouble here.
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly was hurt earlier in the season. In his place Mike Bercovici stepped in and was solid. Kelly has been back for three weeks now, but it was only against Notre Dame last week that he looked as sharp and effective as we have grown used to seeing him. Quarterback play was not likely to be a huge concern for Arizona State in this one no matter what, but with Kelly healthy and in form again the position becomes a real asset for the Sun Devils. Meanwhile, Oregon State's senior QB, Sean Mannion, is not the factor here that many would have hoped he would be. He had a brilliant season last year, but he has not been able to build on that at all this year. He has taken big steps back in accuracy and general effectiveness. Last year he stole some games in the first half of the season. That hasn't been the case this year in the same way.
When a game appears to be a mismatch on paper, all you can really do is look for reasons that the favorite may not be at their very best. Aside from the letdown potential, the location of the game could be an issue. The game is being played at night. It will be colder and damper by far than the Sun Devils are used to at home in Tempe. There is also rain in the forecast - something they don't see a lot of in the Arizona desert. Both teams face the same conditions, but Oregon State could be better prepared to handle them.
Arizona State Sun Devils at Oregon State Beavers NCAA Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Arizona State favored by 8.5 points, and that quickly jumped to 9.5 points. The Sun Devils have attracted well over 80 percent of bets on this game, so the movement is not surprising, and it's quite possible that we will see it move to and even through the key number of 10. Betting early could be warranted for Arizona State backers, then. The total opened at 61.5 and edged up slightly to 62 in early betting action.
The Sun Devils are 4-1 ATS in their last five games and 5-0 ATS in their last five against teams with losing records. The "over" has gone 4-0-1 in Oregon State's last five games. The Sun Devils are 0-4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams. The road team is 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings.
Arizona State Sun Devils at Oregon State Beavers Expert Predictions and Picks
It's hard not to back the Sun Devils here. There are reasons to be concerned as we outlined, but none are significant enough to overcome the clear edge in talent and execution that Arizona State has exhibited this year. If the Sun Devils are the team that they want us to think they are then they will find a way to win this one fairly easily. Arizona State is the pick.
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