College Football Picks: Sacramento State vs. Arizona State

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, September 4, 2013 8:08 PM GMT

The Arizona State Sun Devils may get caught looking past their season-opening opponent, as they take on the Sacramento State Hornets Thursday night.

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Let’s take a closer look at the college football odds for this non-conference matchup at Sun Devil Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 10:00 p.m. ET. The season is just starting so choose your sports picks carefully. 

Unable to score

Sacramento State was handed a 24-0 loss by the San Jose State Spartans as 18.5-point road underdogs last Thursday—despite managing to hold onto the football for 36' 08''.

The Hornets return 17 starters from last year’s team that finished 6-5 overall and 4-4 in the Big Sky Conference—a group that includes junior quarterback Garrett Safron.

Season opener

Arizona State was idle last week as it prepares for one of the nation’s toughest schedules through the beginning of October, as it gets set to play Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame after this affair.

The Sun Devils have won their last 14 home openers by an average of 32 points per game. Also, it’s important to point out that the program has won its last 19 games against Big Sky foes.

A valuable weapon

College football handicappers don’t have a lot of information on the Hornets. Sacramento does, however, possess one of the top punters in the country, with senior punter Justin Weldon continuing to perform at a high level.

Weldon averaged 46.8 yards on five punt attempts against the Spartans, while he managed to tally two 68-yard punts a season ago.

Arizona State is going to score points, but the offense may have to travel far distances to do so.

Fast start

There’s no doubt that Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly wants to get off to a fast start, as he set a school record in completing 67.1 percent of his passes in 2012.

Arizona State scored first in 11 of its 13 games a season ago, while it outscored opponents by a 145-69 combined margin in the opening 15 minutes.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Hornets in their college football picks, as they’ve picked up victories over Pac-12 opponents in the previous two seasons.

[gameodds]6/238954/?r3=19-43-349-192-999997-118/dec&r-1=43-349-192-19/us[/gameodds]

NCAA FB Pick: Sacramento State Hornets +37 points on the spread at 5Dimes

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