College Football Territorial Cup Betting Preview: #13 Arizona State Sun Devils at #11 Arizona Wildcats

#13 Arizona State Sun Devils at #11 Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Stadium – Tucson, Arizona

Friday, November 28, 2014, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Opening Line: Arizona -2 1/2
Current Line: Arizona -2 1/2
Opening Total: 62 1/2
Current Total: 62 1/2
Opening Money Line: Arizona -135 / Arizona State +115
Current Money Line: Arizona -135 / Arizona State +115

Arizona and Arizona State meet Friday in Tucson in a battle of top 15 teams.
Arizona and Arizona State meet Friday in Tucson in a battle of top 15 teams.

Both the Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State are 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the Pac 12 South Division. The two teams are both in the top 15 in the college football playoff standings as they meet in their annual battle for the Territorial Cup Friday in Tuscon. The Wildcats and Sun Devils are tied with UCLA for the Pac 12 South Division lead. However, both teams lost to UCLA so the Bruins will clinch a berth in the Pac 12 Championship game against Oregon next week with a win Friday against Stanford. However, if the Bruins were to stumble in that game then the winner of Arizona and Arizona State would win the division.

Arizona leads the series 47-39-1 against Arizona State including 29-19 in Tucson. The Sun Devils have won the last two games in the series including 58-21 last year in Tempe. The road team had won 4 straight games in the series until the ASU win last season.  The two teams have been playing for the Territorial Cup since 1899, 13 years before Arizona was granted statehood. This is the first time since 1986 that both teams are ranked coming into the game and first time since 1975 that both have at least 9 wins.

Arizona State is coached by Todd Graham. The only losses came at home to UCLA 62-27 and at Oregon State 35-27. The Sun Devils have home wins over Weber State 45-14, Stanford 26-10, Utah 19-16 in overtime, Notre Dame 55-31 and Washington State 52-31 last week . The Sun Devils have road wins over New Mexico 58-23, Colorado 38-24, USC 38-34, and Washington 24-10. ASU is 6-5 ATS and the total is 5-6 this season. The Sun Devils were 14.5 point favorites against Washington State  and the total was 71.5.

Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez. Arizona has losses at home to USC 28-26 and at UCLA 17-7. The Wildcats have home wins over UNLV 58-13, Nevada 35-28, Cal 49-45, Colorado 38-20 and Washington 27-26, along with road wins at UTSA 26-23, Oregon 31-24, Washington State 59-37 and last week at Utah 42-10. Arizona has won 3 straight games. Arizona is 4-7 ATS and the total is 3-8 as well. The Wildcats were 4.5 point underdogs against Utah  and the total was 53.5.

Arizona State is outscoring teams 37-26 this season. The Sun Devils are #18 in scoring nationally. Arizona State is averaging 453 yards per game including 277 passing yards and 175 rushing yards. The Sun Devils are #32 in total offense and #29 in passing nationally. On defense, ASU is allowing 426 total yards per game including 267 passing and 160 rushing yards. Arizona State is #110 in pass defense nationally out of 128 teams.  The Sun Devils are +12 in turnovers with 23 takeaways. ASU averages 36 penalty yards per game and opponents average 58. The Sun Devils are 73/185 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 73/198. Arizona State has forced 35 sacks and allowed 30 this season. The Sun Devils are 48/53 scoring in the red zone with 32 touchdowns and opponents are 30/40 with 21 touchdowns. ASU has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns and has allowed 5 this season.

Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly injured his foot against Colorado and missed 3 games. Back-up Mike Bercovici started those 3 games, but has only taken one snap in the five games since Kelly returned. Kelly has thrown for 1,730 yards with 18 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, and also has 74 carries for 234 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bercovici has thrown for 1,322 yards with  10 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, along with 30 rushing yards.

Running back D.J. Foster has 170 carries for 968 yards and 9 touchdowns, plus 52 catches for 586 yards and 3 touchdowns. Demario Richards has 64 carries for 369 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kalen Ballage has 3 rushing touchdowns and a receiving touchdown. Receiver Jaelen Strong has 71 catches for 982 yards and 9 touchdowns. He is probable with a concussion. Cameron Smith has 34 catches for 541 yards and 6 touchdowns. Four defensive players are questionable or out for the Sun Devils.

Arizona is outscoring teams 36-25 this season. The Wildcats are #22 nationally in scoring. Arizona is #14 in total offense  averaging 495 yards per game including the 15th best passing attack at 299 yards per game . The rushing game is #42 out of 128 teams at 196 yards per game. On defense, the Wildcats are allowing 440 yards per game including 276 passing and 164 rushing yards per game. Arizona is #116 nationally in pass defense and #98 in total defense. The Wildcats are +12 in turnovers with 22 takeaways. Arizona is 87/203 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 80/197. Arizona averages 58 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 83. The Wildcats have forced 30 sacks and allowed 24. Arizona is 42/53 scoring in the red zone with 29 touchdowns, and opponents are 31/35 with 20 touchdowns. Arizona has 2 special teams and three defensive touchdowns this season.

Arizona freshman quarterback Anu Solomon has been very good this season. He has completed 57.6% of his passes for 3,216 yards with 25 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and he also has 99 carries for 329 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with an ankle injury suffered in the Utah win. If he can’t go Jesse Scroggins will start. Scroggins has only completed 4 of 7 passes for 73 yards, and also has 29 rushing yards.

Running back Nick Wilson has 180 carries for 1,085 yards with 12 touchdowns, plus 12 catches for 90 yards and a touchdown. Terris Jones-Grigsby has 105 carries for 513 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 11 catches. Receiver Cayleb Jones has 60 catches for 803 yards and 8 touchdowns. Austin Hill has 38 catches for 541 yards and 4 touchdowns. Samajie Grant, Trey Griffey and Davonte’ Neal will also get a lot of targets. Receiver Nate Phillips is out for the season with a foot injury. Seven defensive players are questionable or out.

Arizona State is 5-0 ATS after rushing for less than 100 yards, 4-1 against teams with winning records and on grass, 5-2 overall, 15-33-3 against teams with winning home records, 3-8 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 1-4 after scoring more than 40 points and after a straight up up win  pf 20 points or more. The road team is 13-6 ATS in this series recently. The underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 games in the series. The Sun Devils are 4-1 ATS in the last 5 games against the Wildcats and 7-2 ATS in Tucson.

Arizona is 7-1 ATS in Friday games, 4-9 in Pac 12 games, 17-39 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 3-7 overall, 2-5 after scoring more than 40 points, 7-20 in November, 2-6 against teams with winning records, 2-9 after a straight up win, 1-5 after allowing less than 20 points, 1-6 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 0-5 at home and after a cover, and 0-7 on grass. The under is 9-4 in this series recently.

Both these teams are pretty evenly matched if Solomon is healthy. Even if he plays though we don’t know how effective he will be. I think Arizona State wins a shootout on the road.

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