College Football Predictions: Arizona State at Stanford Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 9/19/2013
Both these teams come into this important Pac-12 showdown unbeaten, though Arizona State is very lucky to be that way. If it weren’t for the bizarre end to the Wisconsin game last week, things could be different, and this game might be quite so compelling. The controversy surrounding that game and the subsequent apology by the officiating crew is just one part of what has been an eventful week for the Sun Devils.
Todd Graham was a controversial hire when he arrived because he left Pitt in the lurch. He has done very well here, though, and was rewarded with an extension this week. Of course, contracts aren’t worth the paper they are printed on these days — especially for someone like Graham — but the vote of confidence should be a boost for the coach and his team this week.
Motivation can be an important issue for teams in college football. In this game we could have different levels of motivation. The Sun Devils don’t play Oregon this year, and USC and Notre Dame have been diminished already. This is the biggest game on the schedule for Arizona State, and they have been open this week about how this is a game they have had circled on the calendar since the summer. This would be a defining win for the Graham era, and the impact couldn’t be overstated. For Stanford, though, this is just another game against a good opponent — no more significant than upcoming games against Washington or UCLA. For them, November games against Oregon and Notre Dame matter much more than this one.
Arizona State at Stanford Betting Storylines
A big key for the Sun Devils coming into this season was that promising quarterback Taylor Kelly needed to take a step forward. So far, so good. In his opener against outclassed Sacramento State he threw for 300 yards and five scores. Against a much tougher Wisconsin team he threw for a career-high 352 yards, though he had an interception and no touchdowns. Now, though, he faces a defense that is seventh in the country against the pass. The Cardinal are not nearly as good against the run, but the Sun Devils have struggled to establish a meaningful run game this year. This is a huge test for this offense, and it’s a real question of whether they will be up to the challenge.
Of course, we don’t really know if Stanford’s offense is up for their challenge, either. They have scored 34 points in each of their two wins, but neither means that much since they came against San Jose State and Army. Stanford probably should have scored more against both opponents, and they haven’t broken any records statistically. In fact, they are pretty much in the middle of the pack nationally — and their 206 passing yards per game is worse than that. They have the tools to be much more dangerous — Kevin Hogan is a very promising QB, Ty Montgomery is an elite receiver, and Tyler Gaffney can run the ball. This week, though, we really need to see them shake off the uncertainty and reach for their potential. Hogan faces a real challenge lining up across from DT Will Sutton, though the all-American hasn’t been nearly as sharp this year to date as we expect him to be.
Arizona State at Stanford College Football Odds and Betting Trends
The game opened with the Cardinal favored by eight points. That has fallen to the key number of seven despite more than 60 percent of bets coming in on Stanford. That would suggest that the sharp money could have faith in the Sun Devils. The total sits at 50.5.
Thanks to a quirk in Pac-12 scheduling, these teams have not met since 2010. While it doesn’t mean a lot, then, the Sun Devils are 3-1-1 ATS in the last five games. Stanford is 8-2 since 2009 when they have hosted ranked teams. Stanford is 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games.
College Football Predictions: Arizona State at Stanford Betting Picks
I like the direction the Sun Devils are moving in, but they aren’t ready for primetime yet. This is a very seasoned team they are facing, and they have to face them at home. They will make a contest of it, but in the end the passing defense for Stanford is going to be too good, and the challenge will be too much. Stanford will pull away late to cover this spread.
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