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Oregon State

vs.

Arizona State

College Football

Pick

11/16/13

Here's a game of teams going in opposite directions as of late. Arizona State has won four straight and has a one-game lead in the Pac-12 South. A win here would make a showdown of next week's game at UCLA. Oregon State was undefeated in conference play a couple weeks ago, but has since lost two straight. The Sun Devils are rather large -14 point favorites at 5 dimes sportsbook.

The Beavers were looking good and even made a game against Stanford, losing 20-12. However, things went south against USC as the offense fell apart. After tying it 14-14 in the second quarter, the Beavers did not score again, and the Trojans won 31-14. Quarterback Sean Mannion was tossing for 400 yards every game, but hasn't had more than 280 yards in the past two games, to go with two TDs and three INTs.

The Sun Devils squeaked out a 20-19 win at Utah last weekend in improbable form. Taylor Kelly led the offense down for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and then the defense came up with back-to-back interceptions to end the game. Outside of that, Arizona has been dominant at home, beating Washington 53-24 in their last game.

ASU has a strong offense that can score in various ways. While Kelly hasn't had over 300 passing yards in four straight games, it hasn't been needed. He still has a nice 24 TDs and eight INTs on the year to go with seven rushing TDs. Along the lines of less passing yards, running back Marion Grice has been doing more damage as of late, notching at least 94 rushing yards in three straight after not hitting that total in the previous six games. Kelly also likes finding his RBs out of the backfield as D.J. Foster is second on the team with 511 yards, and Grice has 353 yards. Leading receiver Jaelen Strong hasn't done much lately, but this is the type of game he can break out in.

OSU has a mediocre defense and can be exploited by a team like Arizona State. In previous road games, the Beavers allowed 48 points to Utah and 30 points to SDSU.

On the offensive end, it's pass or bust for Oregon State. They average just 2.7 yards per carry as a team, led by Terron Ward and Storm Woods, who are seeing less and less carries each game. Sean Mannion has great numbers with 3,540 yards, 31 TDs and six INTs, but lately the defense has been preying on him. There's no question Mannion can keep up with the Sun Devils in this game, but he can't turn it over (three INTs last game). WR Brandin Cooks is in line for another big day, as he already has 91 receptions for 1,344 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year.

Arizona State has been great defensively lately and stopped a similar pass-heavy squad in Washington State a couple weeks ago, winning that game 55-21.

In last year's matchup, the Beavers won at home 36-26, but had a little more balanced attack as Ward rushed for 146 yards. The game will likely look a lot different this time around.

The Beavers are 21-9-1 ATS in their last 31 road games and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following an ATS loss. The Sun Devils are 6-1 ATS in their last seven home games and have covered in four of their last five conference games. The Beavers are 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings between these teams, while the over has hit six of the last seven times.

The betting public apparently doesn't give Oregon State much of a chance here. They are backing Arizona State to the tune of 97% at sportsbook.com when looking at their betting trends.

We use several different sets of numbers to handicap college football games. When those numbers conflict, we simply have to pass. We have a ton of faith in our college football model, and the model predicts an Arizona State blowout. But when you have a team with a capapble offense like Oregon State going up against a team with a questionalble defense, lie Arizona State, the back door is always open for a cover. As a result we have to stay away. We'll lean towards just that however, an Oregon State cover. Oregon State +14

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