Pac-10 Expert Picks: Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Wildcats

Arizona State Sun Devils at Arizona Wildcats
Thursday, 12/2/10, 8:00 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Arizona -6
Current Betting Line:  Arizona -5.5
Opening Total:  54.5
Current Total:  54.5
Current Moneyline:  Arizona -230 / Arizona State +190

Arizona Wildcats QB Nick Foles threw for a career-high 448 yards last week and now gets set to face the rival Sun Devils in Tuscon

Arizona State rallied back after falling behind by 17 points in the first quarter to pick up a dominating 55-34 win over the UCLA Bruins last week.  The Sun Devils are 5-6 on the year and due to one of their two victories over FCS teams counting toward the six needed to become bowl eligible, they will need too-few teams to qualify for bowls to participate in the postseason.  “It’s a big game,” said Dennis Erickson.  “When you have two universities in the state, in the same league like we are and like some of the others in our conference, it is huge.”  This will be the 84th Duel in the Desert, with Arizona State trailing in the series, 36-46-1.  The team is 2-0 ATS this season as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points and is listed as a 5.5-point underdog on the college football lines page.

The Sun Devils 55 points last week was their highest total of the season, eclipsing the 54 they scored in the season opener against Portland State.  Arizona State has a new quarterback after 11 games of the season, as sophomore Brock Osweiler took over for starter Steven Threet due to a concussion he suffered in the second series lat week.  He completed 27 of 36 passes for 380 yards and four touchdowns.  “He was outstanding,” said Erickson.  “He didn’t turn the football over and he threw it accurately.”

The offense will still rely heavily on a running game that has 18 touchdowns this season after running for 14 all of last year.

Arizona played No. 1 Oregon tough in the first half and went into the break with a 19-14 lead, but the Ducks were simply too much in rushing for 389 yards in a 48-29 win.  The Wildcats entered the month of November with a 7-1 record, but now enter the regular-season finale with a 7-4 mark.  Offensively, the team has had little trouble moving the ball during its three-game losing streak, compiling 1,324 yards in that span.  The problem has been on defense, surrendering 1,435 yards over that span.  Quarterback Nick Foles threw for a career-high 448 yards last week, but even that wasn’t enough in overcoming the leaky defense.  The team is 4-4 ATS as a favorite this year.

The Wildcats problems begin and end in the red zone, as the offense ranks 112th in the nation by scoring on just 73 percent of its trips.  Arizona will likely not improve upon that ranking due to ranking 4th nationally in red zone defense, allowing only 23 scores on 48 trips.  With Foles throwing the ball around in recent weeks, the team’s average of 314 yards passing per game would set a season record if it holds up, eclipsing the 308.5 yards per game mark that the 2007 squad posted.

Bettors will be interested in knowing that the Sun Devils are 0-5 ATS in December, while the Wildcats are 3-11 ATS in their last 14 games as a home favorite of 3.5 to 10 points.

The college football handicappers at Maddux Sports are enjoying a red-hot season and ready to deliver in the season’s final six weeks!

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