College Football Pick
Suddenly, this Pac-12 matchup between two 4-3 teams has some meaning. With a couple of top teams in the Conference going down last weekend, neither Oregon nor Arizona State is fully out of the race in their respective divisions. Arizona State is currently a -1.5 point favorite at 5 dimes sportsbook.
Oregon has possibly been one of the most disappointing teams of the season already with three losses. The Ducks haven’t hit that number since 2009, Chip Kelly’s first year with the team. They haven’t really looked like themselves yet this season and maybe we’ll never see that dominant version. The Ducks lost a respectable Game to Michigan State in their second Game, but back-to-back home losses to Utah and Washington State were not expected. Their defense has failed and in return, the offense hasn’t been able to get going, part of the reason being Vernon Adams’ finger injury.
On the other side, Arizona State has been unpredictable as well. The Sun Devils started slow at 2-2, which wasn’t surprising, but then won by 15 points out of nowhere as a double-digit underdog at UCLA. They went back to their losing ways at Utah in their last Game losing 34-18.
But still, there is hope. Utah lost its first Game last weekend and was thoroughly handled by USC, who also has a 4-3 record. The South remains wide open with Arizona State one of three teams with a 2-2 Conference record. Stanford has a hold on the North, but Oregon could mix some feathers by winning at the Cardinal a few weeks from now.
Nevertheless, none of that will matter for these teams if they can’t win here. Neither can be trusted at this point, which makes this a difficult Game to bet.
Vernon Adams returned to the starting lineup at Washington last Game and finished with a couple touchdowns, although only completed 14-of-25 passes. However, he’s still a step above backup Jeff Lockie and that’s been obvious through the short season. With Adams getting extra rest/practice reps ahead of this Game, one would think the Ducks have an edge. Running back Royce Freeman has been a lone bright spot with 997 yards and nine touchdowns, while Bralon Addison has been the only consistent receiving threat for the Ducks with 31 grabs for 365 yards and three touchdowns.
ASU’s defense isn’t outstanding by any means, allowing 42 points to USC and 34 to Utah in recent meetings, but also containing UCLA to 23 between those Games. The interesting part for the Sun Devils is that none of their Games have been decided by less than 14 points. This Game could buck that trend though, as both teams should be able to score.
Oregon’s defense has been worse than Arizona State’s and that could give the Sun Devils the final advantage. Before that Utah loss, ASU quarterback Mike Bercovici seemed to have things figured out. He struggled against the Utes, but Oregon’s defense isn’t at the same level. Bercovici (14 TDs) should be able to move the ball on this secondary and he’ll get help from leading running back Demario Richard (529 yards, 4 TDs), who is set to return to action.
Oregon has won the last eight meetings between these teams, but they haven’t met since 2012. Both teams have contrasting over/under trends, while the Ducks are 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight meetings and the Sun Devils are 8-1 ATS in their last nine October Games.
Our Pick – While these two teams haven’t met since 2012, Arizona State is still certainly aware of the series dominance favoring Oregon. They are also aware of the Ducks reputation in college football over the last several years. When you get a chance to take down a team like Oregon, at home on a Thursday Night National TV Game, you HAVE to take advantage of the opportunity.
Our numbers suggest Arizona State is fully capable of taking advantage of the opportunity as we have them winning this Game by 10+. Arizona State -1.5