After great starts to the season, it’s been a troubled last few weeks for both Stanford and Arizona State. The only positive is that both are coming off a bye ahead of this Thursday matchup. Stanford, tied with Four other teams with one Conference loss in the Pac-12 North, opened as a -2 point road favorite as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Cardinal needed the bye a little more, not only because it lost its last two by at least 19 points, but also to get Bryce Love back on the field. The talented running back was already struggling to get things going when playing and missed his second Game of the season in the loss against Utah. He’s the main player to focus on for this Game after he went for a ridiculous 301 yards and three touchdowns in last year’s 34-24 win. Both rushing attacks had success in that matchup, but Stanford’s 331 yards trumped ASU’s 214 yards and it didn’t help that Manny Wilkins threw a couple picks. Take away those interceptions and it could’ve been a different result, which is why the Sun Devils are in a great spot for an upset.
While Stanford has been blown out in recent Games, Arizona State has yet to lose by more than seven points and all of those came on the road. In fact, the Sun Devils haven’t lost at home and already beat Michigan State. This is a great spot for another home win in a standalone Game under the lights.
The goal for quarterback Manny Wilkins is to not turn the ball over and so far he’s done that with 11 touchdowns and only one interception this season. But what’s going to win the Game for ASU is Eno Benjamin and the ground Game, which has been fantastic this year. Benjamin has hit 100 yards in Four Games and faces a run defense that’s having issues allowing 164 rushing yards per Game. That was the main problem in the loss against Utah, as the Cardinal gave up 222 rushing yards and that could be an issue again with Benjamin ready to pounce. As long as Wilkins plays it safe with top receiver N’Keal Harry, there’s no reason ASU can’t win.
The question is what the Sun Devils can do defensively because while they’ve been better this year and haven’t allowed more than 28 points in a Game, they’re still giving up loads of yards on the ground (162 per Game). With a couple weeks of rest, Love should be ready to go, though that may not mean much. The stud running back is at just 4.3 yards per carry behind a struggling offensive line after he was at 8.1 ypc a season ago. If those struggles continue and K.J. Costello (12 TDs, 6 INTs) continues to be reckless with the ball, Stanford could find itself with a third-straight loss.
The Cardinal are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 Games following a straight-up loss, while the Sun Devils are 5-1 ATS in their last six home Games. The home team is 10-4-1 ATS in the last 15 meetings between these schools and the under has hit in five of the last six.
Our Pick – Arizona State +2