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Missouri hosts Arizona State this week in a game that can be seen on ESPN2 at 7pm est. Saturday Night. The Tigers, fresh off last weeks home loss to Georgia, opened as -7.5 point favorites at both betonline and 5 Dimes but has since been bet down to -6.5. The total at both SBG Global and Sprtsbook.ag is 64.5 in what many expect to be a high scoring affair.
Missouri are newcomers to the SEC this year and are still looking for that first real win of the season. They battled Georgia last week only to fall in the fourth quarter and ended up losing by 21 points. In their first game, the Tigers played Southeastern Louisiana. Being in the SEC, their schedule doesn't get any easier, that's for certain. Not to mention, their two out of conference games are against Arizona State and Central Florida.
Arizona State has looked surprisingly good so far, not because they beat Northern Arizona in their first game, but after the beat down they put on Big Ten opponent Illinois last weekend, 45-14. The Illini usually put up a tough fight, but they could not stop the Sun Devils at all.
That will be Missouri's key against Arizona State, stopping them for the entire game. Against Georgia, the Tigers gave up 24 straight points to end the game, that's not going to cut it.
When these teams faced off last year, Arizona State was favored by 10 points at home. The final result showed what we could expect from these teams again, a high-scoring 37-30 affair, but this time around Missouri are favorites at home. The obvious difference from last season is that Brock Osweiler is gone from ASU's lineup.
This year, the Sun Devils are led by Sophomore QB, Taylor Kelly. He only has two touchdowns on the year, but he also has 496 yards and a 76.7 completion percentage. Talk about efficient. Most of those passing routes are opened up through their ground game though where they have rushed for 497 yards on the year.
Marion Grice (125 yards) and D.J. Foster (104 yards) have led the way so far, but their No. 1 RB is actually Senior Cameron Marshall who has 21 carries, yet just 66 yards. As a team they rush for 5.6 yards per carry and have 10 rushing TDs.
Arizona State's leading receiver, and man that needs to be stopped, is tight end Chris Coyle. Through the first two games he has 12 catches for 196 yards and two TDs.
The Tigers have a very similar balanced attack with James Franklin at the helm. While he hasn't been as efficient as Kelly, Franklin still has 400 yards, three TDs and had to face Georgia. In the backfield, speedster Kendial Lawrence is almost guaranteed to break a big run. He currently has 18 carries for 162 yards and two TDs.
Franklin has a few WRs that he can spread it out to in Marcus Lucas, L'Damian Washington and T.J. Moe. Those guys have accounted for 22 of Franklin's 38 completions and 303 of his 400 yards.
Arizona State is a team hoping to improve on their disappointing finish in the 2011 season. They finished 6-7 and lost their last five games, but showed promise throughout the season, beating Missouri and USC.
Missouri knows they are playing in a harder conference and probably just want to compete in the SEC. Their 8-5 record from last year will be tough to retain.
There will be points in this game and the numbers back it up. The over has hit in the Sun Devils last five road games and the same can be said about Missouri's last four games in September.
This is a crucial game for Missouri. It's their third straight home game and they hit the road for two in a row following this, next week at South Carolina. With teams like Alabama and Florida after South Carolina, thinking ahead to a potential bowl game starts now. Missouri is a good football team with same youth on the roster, including an offensive line that was rearranged on the fly against Georgia. They held a 17-9 lead over Georgia into the 3rd quarter but sloppy play and turnovers opened the game up for Georgia.
A sportsbetting 101 lesson. If you make a habit of taking +6.5 on games that were once +7.5, you WILL lose money over the long run. That's a fact, and that's the situation here in this game. +7.5 was available initially, and then +7, through Monday. That's not to say the +7's won't come back. If you like Arizona State here, wait for the 7's.
We don't love this game, but we're going to side with Missouri. It looks like a good spot for the Tigers to grab an important win. If you look ahead on the Tigers dance card, there aren't too many games where you can pencil in a "W". You have to get the "winnable" games, and this is a winnable game. Missouri -6.5
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