College Football Expert Picks Arizona To Cover Against Stanford

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 8:30 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 8:30 PM UTC

Arizona is looking for its first Pac-12 win of the season when it hosts the struggling Stanford Cardinal in Tuscon on Saturday night. Early money is on the Wildcats, as they look to be the college football pick.

 Stanford Cardinal (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS)

Where has the offense gone? After racking up 37.8 points per game last season, Stanford posts just 17.0 in 2016. Only South Carolina (16.9), Kansas (16.2), and Rutgers (13.7) scoreless against FBS competition out of Power 5 programs. The Cardinal have put up a total of 45 points combined in their last 4 games and scored below the betting market’s projections in every contest this season.

The offense is armed with one of the most versatile and talented running backs in Christian McCaffery, who returned from injury last time out. He is second to Washington’s Myles Gaskin (103.9) with 102.0 rushing yards per game. The passing game is too meager, however, to support his workload. The Cardinal have 1,121 yards, 5 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions on 102 of 171 passes this season.

A stout defense keeps the team competitive in nearly every game. Its 0.29 points per play rank 26th in efficiency nationally. Expect the Cardinal to unsettle Arizona’s passing game. They’ve set down the quarterback 23 times for 123 yards in 7 games this year, second most in the Pac-12.

Stanford is 9-2 SU and 8-2-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings with Arizona, winning by 9.8 points per contest.


Arizona Wildcats (2-5 SU, 1-6 ATS)

Arizona is laying an egg in the betting market this season, covering just one contest all season. It’s playing 9.8 points below the spread per game, in large part to a shoddy defense. The unit has allowed opponents to score above their team total in all but two matchups.

The Wildcats are 3-11 SU and 5-9 ATS in their last 14 played against conference opponents. They’ve allowed 41.3 points on 497.9 yards per game during this stretch.

In 2016, the defense yields 35.0 per game, 101st in the country. Safety Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles and linebacker and Michael Barton carry the load, credited with 85 tackles combined.

Head coach Rich Rodriguez’s squad can almost always move the ball. It’s picking up solid 6.1 yards per play this season. The rushing offense is third-best in the Pac-12 behind Oregon and Washington, accruing 223.1 yards per game. Turnovers—the Wildcats cough it up 2.0 times per contest—and inefficiency in the red zone stifle scoring.


Final Analysis

Minus a star quarterback, Stanford fails to make up much ground on teams when and if they fall behind in a contest. Arizona will force the Cardinal to score, the offense matching up with their best strengths on defense. The Wildcats, for example, have yielded only 11 sacks all season. Stanford may eek out the win, but not by much. Arizona, coming off a bye week, makes it competitive throughout. Arizona +6  is the free college football pick.

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Free College Football Pick: Arizona +6Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

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