Sun Devils vs. Utes Predictions with College Football Odds Week 8
Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Utah Utes, Saturday October 19, 6 p.m. ET
If you had asked me before the season started about this matchup, I am not even remotely lying when I say that I would have told you that I expected Utah to be ranked. I really liked this team before the season, and that hasn't changed. But if you had tried to tell me that they would be hosting an also-ranked Arizona State squad, with the divisional title quite possible on the line, I would have suggested you find a residential clinic to check into and get yourself sorted out. The hiring of Herm Edwards seemed like a horrible idea when it happened. He's a poor man's Jon Gruden. And it still seems like a horrible idea that is going to end badly, even if somehow it is going pretty well right now. Both teams are at 5-1, and 2-1 in the Pac-12. Both have a loss they would like back - ASU's against Colorado far more than Utah's at USC. And with a win here, either team would be the solid favorite to win the division and, likely, play Oregon for the Pac-12 title. This is a very important game going down in Salt Lake City on Saturday evening . Far more than any sane person could have seen coming.
Arizona State at Utah Betting Storylines
If the definition of a good football game to you is one in which ground games are humming, then you'll probably want to make alternate plans for Saturday night. This one is not going to be won on the ground. Arizona State's run defense has been a highlight, ranking 11th nationally in run yards allowed. They are up against a Utah run attack that is competent though not overwhelming, ranking 22nd nationally. Utah should be able to run a bit, but not like they are used to. And on the other side is where things get ugly. Utah's run defense is incredibly stingy, allowing a second-best nationally average of just 52.8 yards per game. They are a wall. And this time they are lining up against an ASU run 'attack' that is averaging just 134.3 yards per game, which ranks 96th in the country. Chances are very good that the Sun Devils will be running a one-dimensional offense - not by their own choice. QB Jayden Daniels has been shockingly good as a freshman so far this season for Arizona State, but his two worst games have notably come against his two best opponents. Utah is the best team he has faced, and he will never have had to carry so much of the load as he will here. This is a big test for him.
While Arizona State has been really strong against the run, they have been porous when the ball is put in the air. They rank 102nd nationally in passing yards allowed, sacrificing north of 260 per game. Utah's is not the most prolific aerial attack in the league by any means, but it is very efficient. Senior QB Tyler Huntley has completed more than three-quarters of his passes on the season, and he has yet to throw a pick. If there are holes to be found in this pass defense - and it's a given that there will be - Huntley is well equipped to find them.
Arizona State at Utah Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with Utah as massive 13.5-point favorites at home. It has stayed there in early betting, but the market still clearly doesn't agree with the number - three-quarters of bets have been on the underdog. The total has been stable early on at 48.5.
The Sun Devils should like the surface - they are 5-1 ATS in their last six games played on Fieldturf. The Utes are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 conference games but just 1-4 ATS in their last five at home and 1-6 ATS in their last seven against teams with winning records.
Arizona State at Utah Predictions and Picks
This number, to be frank, sucks. It's too high to make Utah - the team with the clear edge - attractive. But it's not high enough to make ASU attractive enough to pack any value. It's a well-set number, in other words - and I hate those. I think Utah wins handily because of their decisive edge on offense, but I am not confident that they win enough to cover this spread enough times to make a bet make sense. If forced I would bet Utah, but I'll be looking elsewhere for juicier plays.
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