This handicapper notes that Arizona State is 2-0 both SU & ATS vs. rival Arizona the last two seasons, which coincides with the arrivals of coaches Graham and Rodriguez. Here's his best bet for Friday's big game.
Sun Devils-Wildcats Betting Odds
As of Tuesday this game had not yet been lined, because of the injury situation with Arizona quarterback Anu Solomon. Be sure to check our NCAA Football odds page to compare prices once the line is released.
Sun Devils-Wildcats: The Situation
Arizona went off as a 33/1 shot to win the Pac-12 championship this season, with a wins OVER/UNDER of 6.5. At 9-2 SU (just 4-7 ATS) and 6-2 in conference play the Wildcats are tied for first place in the Pac-12 South, with one game to go, and long ago played OVER their total.
Arizona opened this season 5-0, with a near-miracle win over Cal and that upset of Oregon in Eugene. The Wildcats then lost at home to USC 28-26, missing on a 2-point conversion with one minute to play. Arizona then won at Washington State 59-37, but lost at UCLA 17-7. Since then, though, the 'Cats have won three straight, including a 42-10 drubbing of Utah in Salt Lake City last week.
Arizona outgained the Utes 520-384 and won the turnover battle 4-1.
Meanwhile, Arizona State began this season as a 12/1 choice to win the Pac-12, with a wins total of 7.5. At 9-2 SU (6-5 ATS) and 6-2 in conference play the Sun Devils are also tied for first place in the Pac-12 South, and have also already played OVER their total.
ASU started this season 3-0, then got bombed at home by UCLA 62-27. The Sun Devils then won five in a row, beating USC on a Hail Mary, getting a little revenge on Stanford, winning at Washington, nipping Utah in overtime and blowing up Notre Dame 55-31. Arizona State then went up to Corvallis and got upset by Oregon State 35-27. But the Sun Devils stayed alive in the South Division race last week with a come-from-behind 52-31 victory over Washington State, exploding in the second half for the cover as 15-point favorites.
Arizona State trailed the Cougars last week 21-7, then went on a 45-3 run. The Sun Devils actually got outgained by Wazzu 622-330, but won the turnover battle 5-0, setting up several short fields.
Big-picture; UCLA and Stanford kick off at the same time as this game Friday. If the Bruins win, they win the South. But if UCLA stumbles, the winner of this game wins the South. So both teams will be scoreboard watching while playing.
Sun Devils-Wildcats Recent History
Arizona State has taken the last two games in this series, under the new coaching regimes, covering both times out. Two years ago the Sun Devils beat the Wildcats in Tuscon 41-34, winning straight up as three-point underdogs; and last year ASU whipped Arizona in Tempe 58-21, covering as a 10-point favorite.
The Sun Devils jumped out to a 27-0 lead last year, allowed the 'Cats to get within 30-14 early in the third quarter, then put the game away with an interception return for a score.
By the numbers Arizona only got outgained 478-424, but a good portion of the Wildcats' yardage came as they played from behind.
That game played OVER its total of 62 on a long Arizona State touchdown near the end of the third quarter.
Arizona QB Anu suffered an ankle injury last week, left the game and did not return; his status for this game, as of this writing, is uncertain.
Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong, who's caught 71 balls for almost 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns this season, is dealing with some post-concussion symptoms, but is expected to play.
Sun Devils-Wildcats Betting Trends
Arizona is 4-1 both SU and ATS as a home dog under Coach Rodriguez.
The Wildcats are 3-8 on the totals this season, even though their games have averaged 61 points.
The Sun Devils are 5-6 on the totals, even as their games have averaged 64 points.
In six games vs. common foes this season Arizona State is 5-1 SU, 3-2 ATS, while Arizona is 4-2 SU but 2-4 ATS.
Sun Devils-Wildcats Free Pick
Solomon has meant a lot to his Arizona team this season, throwing for 3,200 yards, running for 300 more, compiling a 25/7 TD/INT ratio. But even if he plays we believe Arizona State is the better team. So while it's a little dangerous to offer College Football picks before the pointspread is released, we like the Sun Devils to make it three straight wins/covers in this series.
Free College Football Pick: Arizona State