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Arizona State

vs.

Arizona

College Football Rivalry Pick

11/23/12

The Duel in the Desert is usually a close battle. No matter how good an offense or defense is playing, this game usually ends up coming down to the fourth quarter. The past three games between these schools have been decided by a total of seven points. The road team came away victorious in all of those games and the underdog covered in all of them, as well. Arizona is at home and that's what separates these teams in the line with the Wildcats coming in at 3-point favorites in most top rated sportsbooks.

Each team comes into this game with a 4-4 Pac 12 record and has lost to most of the same teams. The difference being Arizona losing at Stanford and Arizona State losing at USC. However, that's where the similarities end. The Wildcats are second in the conference in total offense while the Sun Devils are second in the conference in total defense. The Wildcats have won four of their past five games while the Sun Devils were on a four-game losing streak before a win last weekend.

Arizona State is led by their defense which ranks first in the nation in sacks and is second in tackles for loss. Those are some pretty solid numbers for a Pac 12 school and their offense isn't that bad either. Sophomore QB Taylor Kelly has taken over for Brock Osweiler just fine. He has 25 touchdowns compared to nine interceptions for the season. However, in losses he only has more TDs than INTs in one game. If they want to beat Arizona, Kelly will have to limit his turnovers as all nine of his INTs were in the team's five losses. Kelly also has some ability to move on the ground with 393 rushing yards. Out of the backfield, Cameron Marshall and D.J. Foster split most of the load. The two have totaled 946 yards and eight TDs. Foster is also used plenty in the receiving game with 34 receptions. Even then, running back Marion Grice leads the team with 14 total TDs.

Arizona's defense is not quite at the same level as their opponent and that's why this game will be close. They allowed 31 points to Colorado -- a team that scores 16.3 points per game -- if that says anything about them. With an all-out attack on offense, they can stick with anyone, though.

The Wildcats have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and receiver for the first time ever. In his first year being a full-time starter, Matt Scott has played well with 21 TDs and nine INTs and that's after missing the game against Colorado. Scott returned from a concussion last weekend at Utah and didn't look the best completing only 44% of his passes, but he should be ready to go again for this game. Ka'Deem Carey is having an unbelievable season on the ground with 1,585 yards which leads the nation. He'll be hoping to become the first RB in Arizona history to do that. He also has 19 TDs thrown on top of there. Carey had 92 yards in last year's meeting. Austin Hill leads the receiving corps with 68 grabs for 1,119 yards and eight touchdowns.

The Sun Devils are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall while the Wildcats are only 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games following a ATS win. The road team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings and the underdog has covered in seven of their past eight games. The over is 6-1 in Arizona's last seven games overall and 4-1 in Arizona State's last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record. However, the under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between these schools.

As of this writing there are mostly -2.5's on the board. However you can still get +3 at 5 Dimes with Arizona State and that's the way we're going to go here. Our model sees this one close but with the Sun Devils on top by anywhere from 1 to 3 points depending on the time frame of the data used. A little revenge motive doesn't hurt either. Not only did Arizona State lose last year but they have lost 3 of the past 4 in the series. The series history is 38-36-1 in favor of Arizona. Let's call it 38-37-1 after this one. Arizona State +3

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