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Pick with Analysis
Arizona State hosts the mighty Oregon Ducks on Thursday night in a PAC-12 game that can be seen live on ESPN at 9 pm est. Oregon State opened as a -10 point favorite at 5 Dimes and Betonline and has since moved to -9 across the board. The total is 68.5 and the early action at Sportsbook.ag has been all Oregon, with 92% of the early wagers coming in on the Ducks.
This series is ties 16-16 and was dominated by Arizona State early on but since roughly 1998 it's been all Oregon. Since 1998, Oregon is 11-3 in the series with many of those games being blowouts. They have also won 7 straight in the series leaving no doubt who the better program has been in recent years.
But, things change, and typically, in a one sided series like this, you can see when things are about to change by going back to last year's game. In 2011, the Sun Devils went toe to toe with the Ducks in Oregon, holding a 24-21 lead in the 3rd quarter in a game that saw several lead changes in the first half. The Ducks eventually prevailed, 41-27. Both teams piled on the yards, 460 for the Sun Devils and 536 for the Ducks, with Arizona state winning the battle through the air (291/209) and Oregon winning the battle on the ground (327/169).
More important than going back to last year's game is taking a look at each teams current season to date performance. When we do that, we see that these two teams have played a schedule even in strength and have performed similarly against those opponents. Oregon is 12th in the nation in yards per point differential. They are 2nd in the nation in ypp on offense to Arizona States 22nd. The Sun Devils hold the edge on defense, ranking 16th to the Ducks 23rd. Very good numbers for both teams.
Both teams can put points on the board. The Ducks have been rolling along as usual offensively with their lowest point production game this year being 49 points. The Sun Devils are no stranger to the end zone either hanging 63, 45 and 51 on the board this year. The Ducks look more vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball, giving up 34 to Arkansas State, 25 to Fresno, 26 to Washington State and 21 to Washington, however we have to keep in mind that some of those points were garbage time points. The Sun Devils have done a good job keeping opponents out of the end zone giving up just 14 points per game on average.
We'll find out Thursday night if Oregon is the big bad monster everyone think they are. We'll find out if they are as good as Oregon team of the past few years. From where we sit, all signs point towards Arizona State being the right side in this one, including our score prediction model which pegs Arizona State as the straight up winner.
We'll watch the board on this one. If +10's show again, we'll likely use Arizona State as a Key Release. For now, early in the week, we'll just put this out as a strong opinion. Arizona State +9
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