College Football Picks: Bet Arizona State To Keep it Close Against Utah

Willie Bee

Friday, October 16, 2015 8:58 PM GMT

Ranked No. 4 in the latest AP poll, the Utah Utes are home Saturday for a big Pac-12 showdown against Arizona State.  Join us for a preview and a free college football pick.

The SEC isn't the only league with games this week that will have a major impact on the national scene as well as within the conference. While games like Alabama at Texas A&M and LSU hosting Florida are garnering much of the attention, and deservedly so, there's a matchup out in the Pac-12 that college football bettors and fans alike need to keep an eye on.

In control of the Pac 12-South, the Utah Utes have two big games coming up on their slate beginning with a visit from the Arizona State Sun Devils. The two schools are currently running 1-2 in the division as they head into their 10 PM (ET) Saturday boot with ESPN providing the broadcast from Rice-Eccles Stadium.

The late-night kickoff means much of the nation will go to bed not knowing the outcome of the contest which currently finds the Utes -6½ at 5Dimes after the college football odds sat a half-point higher most of the week. The total has come down a bit from the opener to 55½.

Though this is still a relatively new rivalry within the Pac 12, the Sun Devils and Utes are not strangers to each other having been co-conspirators in the WAC for many years. The schools got together on a gridiron 22 times between 1961 and 1993, Arizona State taking 16 of those matchups. The Sun Devils have won all four meetings since Utah joined the conference before the 2011 campaign, and Saturday marks the first time in the new era the Utes have been favored.

The last two confrontations have been defensive battles with Utah covering both and 'under' bettors taking home the cheddar. Last year's battle in Tempe went to overtime before ASU pulled off a 19-16 victory.

 

Sun Devils Playing 'With A Chip On Shoulder'
Despite Arizona State (4-2 straight up, 2-4 against the spread) dominating this rivalry and beating Utah all four times as Pac 12 foes, senior quarterback Mike Bercovici says it's the Sun Devils who will be playing this game "with a chip on our shoulder." I believe he meant they had more to prove after getting dumped on by Southern Cal in Week 4.

Bercovici and the Sun Devils rebounded in a big way from that loss to upset then-No. 7 UCLA and tuned up for this tilt with a 48-23 victory over Colorado a week ago, covering both spreads after beginning the campaign wit 4-straight losses at the college football betting windows  Bercovici connected on five touchdown passes in the win over the Buffaloes to leave him with a 16:4 TD/INT ratio, but he's often been pressured with Arizona State allowing 16 sacks on the season, a number that puts the ASU line 106th in the country protecting their QB.

The Sun Devils may have to rely even more on their aerial attack this week without leading rusher Demario Richard. The sophomore, who is also a key target for Bercovici out of the backfield, injured a knee in the win over Colorado and is questionable this week.

Check Out Arizona State vs. Utah Betting Props Market.

Utes Primed For 1st Win Over ASU
Utah (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS) suffered a little bit of a letdown last week in a 30-24 win over California. The final wasn't enough to cover the TD spread, but it was to be expected after Kyle Whittingham's club destroyed Oregon a week earlier in Eugene, 62-20.

The Utes are not a team that will bowl you over statistically, ranking 70th in total offense (401.8 ypg) and 67th in total defense (392.0 ypg). They do the little things very well, however, and are especially adept at protecting the football and taking advantage of mistakes made by their opposition. Utah has turned it over just seven times in five games while taking the ball away 17 times, and their offensive line has allowed only two sacks to this point.

The weatherman is calling for a cloudy evening in Salt Lake City with a slight chance of rain and the thermometer in the mid-60s for kickoff. My free college football pick will be on the underdogs in what should be a close game decided by a field goal.

College Football Pick: Arizona State +6 at Heritage

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