College Football Week 5 Picks: Arizona State Sun Devils vs. California Golden Bears

Arizona State Sun Devils at California Golden Bears
Saturday, 9/29/12, 4:00 PM EST, TV:  FX
Opening Point Spread:  California -2
Current Betting Line:  California -2.5
Opening Total:  54
Current Total:  54
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The California Golden Bears have dominated this Pac-12 Conference series in recent years

Arizona State is coming off an impressive 37-7 win over the Utah Utes as seven-point home favorites, as it won the statistical battle by a significant 303-yard margin.  “That was a good football team,” commented Sun Devils head coach Todd Graham.  “We totally dominated them.”  The Sun Devils are 14-17 all-time in this series, as they look to snap a four-game losing streak against the Golden Bears.  Ball security will be paramount in this contest, as the team turned the ball over four times in its first road game at Missouri.  Arizona State is 0-3 ATS as a road underdog of three or fewer points, which is important to note when making your NCAA football picks this weekend.

The Sun Devils have been able to jump on opponents early and late during the 2012 campaign, outscoring opponents by a 49-10 margin in the first quarter, while not allowing a point in the fourth (40-0).  Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly threw for a career-high 326 yards in last week’s win, while the defense allowed just 209 total yards.  Don’t get too excited in backing this program, considering its lost seven-straight conference games in the Golden State.

California will play its Pac-12 Conference home opener at Memorial Stadium after dropping back-to-back games against the Ohio State Buckeyes and USC Trojans on the road.  The Golden Bears made five trips into the red zone against the Trojans last week, but came away with just nine points.  “I have a lot of confidence in the chemistry of this team,” stated Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford.  California is 8-3 ATS as a home favorite the last two-plus seasons.

The Golden Bears rank fourth in the conference in averaging 175.8 rushing yards per game, but the other side of the ball has been a huge problem.  California ranks 11th in the conference in surrendering 31 points per game.  There’s definitely a chance of a bounce-back performance in this spot, considering the program has won 42 of its last 53 home games.  Wide receiver Keenan Allen will need to have a big game, as the passing game will face a defense that leads the Pac-12 in allowing just 139.8 yards per game through the air.

Sports bettors will likely back the Golden Bears due to their 6-0 ATS mark in this series at home, while the Sun Devils are 0-4-1 ATS away from the desert.

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