Pac 12 Territorial Cup Betting Preview: Arizona Wildcats at Arizona State Sun Devils

Arizona Wildcats at Arizona State Sun Devils
Sun Devil Stadium – Tempe, Arizona
Saturday, November 21, 2015, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Arizona State -7
Current Line: Arizona State -7 (-115)
Opening Total: 68 1/2
Current Total: 68 1/2
Opening Money Line: ASU -280 / Arizona +240
Current Money Line: ASU -280 / Arizona +240

Arizona State takes on rival Arizona Saturday in Tempe. The Sun Devils need a win to become bowl eligible.
Arizona State takes on rival Arizona Saturday in Tempe. The Sun Devils need a win to become bowl eligible.

The Arizona Wildcats and Arizona State Sun Devils had pre-season dreams of competing for the Pac 12 title. Those hopes were rather quickly dashed and now both teams are just trying to either qualify for a bowl or improve their bowl destination. Still, they can make their season with a win Saturday over their arch-rivals, as the Sun Devils host the Wildcats. ASU is 5-5 overall and 3-4 in Pac 12 play. The Sun Devils need at least one win in their final two games in order to become bowl eligible. Arizona is 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the Pac 12. The Wildcats are already bowl eligible.

These two rivals first met in 1899, thirteen years before Arizona was granted statehood. Arizona leads the series 48-39-1 but Arizona State is 20-18-1 in Tempe. The Wildcats won last year in Tucson 42-35. The Pac 12 South title was on the line for both teams in that game.

Arizona is coached by Rich Rodriguez. The Wildcats have home wins over UTSA 42-32, Northern Arizona 77-13, Oregon State 44-17, and last week against Utah 37-30, along with road wins at Nevada 44-20 and Colorado 38-31. Arizona has home losses to UCLA 56-30 and Washington State 45-42, along with road losses at Stanford 55-17, Washington 49-3, and USC 38-30.

Arizona was a 5.5 point underdog against Utah and the total was 61. Arizona led by 10 points three times in the first half but would lead 20-17 at halftime. Utah took a 27-20 lead in the third quarter, but Arizona tied it up at 27 with four minutes left in the third. Neither team scored again in regulation. Both teams exchanged field goals in the first overtime. Arizona scored a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage in the second overtime. Utah was unable to score as Arizona snapped a three game losing streak, knocking the Utes out of a potential playoff bid in the process. Each team had over 440 total yards but also had 2 turnovers apiece. Arizona is 6-5 ATS and the total is 8-3 this season.

Arizona State is coached by Todd Graham. The Sun Devils have home wins over Cal Poly 35-21, New Mexico 24-7, Colorado 48-23, and Washington 27-17 last week, along with a road win at UCLA 38-23. ASU has a loss to Texas A&M 38-17 in Houston, home losses to USC 42-14 and Oregon 61-55 in quadruple overtime, plus road losses to Utah 34-18 and Washington State 38-24.

Arizona State was a 2.5 point favorite against Washington and the total was 51. Washington led 17-0 midway through the second, but Arizona State scored 27 unanswered points. Washington had 547 total yards to 397 for ASU but the Huskies were unable to overcome four turnovers. The Sun Devils are 3-7 ATS and the total is 3-7 this season.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 37-34 this season. The Wildcats are #24 in scoring and #105 in points allowed nationally. Arizona averages 498 yards per game on offense, including 261 passing and 238 rushing yards. The Wildcats are #34 or better in all three categories nationally. On defense, Arizona is allowing 454 total yards including 271 passing and 183 rushing. The Wildcats are #85 in rush defense, #109 in pass defense and #108 in total defense. Arizona has forced 9 turnovers and has 13 of their own. The Wildcats average 47 penalty yards per game and opponents average 66 yards per game. Arizona is 76/174 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 82/172. The Wildcats have forced 19 sacks and allowed 22 this season. Arizona is 42/51 scoring in the red zone with 34 touchdowns and opponents are 42/44 with 34 touchdowns. The Wildcats have two defensive touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown.

Quarterback Anu Solomon has completed 62.7% of his passes for 2,338 yards with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions. He has also rushed for 186 yards on 61 carries with 2 touchdowns. He left the Utah game with a concussion and is questionable against ASU.  Back-up quarterback Jarrard Randall has thrown for 483 yards with 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and also has 74 carries for 680 yards and 5 touchdowns. Brandon Dawkins could take a few snaps, but he hasn’t played in several games. He has thrown for 33 yards, but has 101 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Running back Nick Wilson has 127 carries for 718 yards and 8 touchdowns, plus 4 catches for 52 yards. Jared Baker has 116 carries for 689 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Orlando Bradford has 36 carries for 147 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Receiver Cayleb Jones has 46 catches for 665 yards and 4 touchdowns. Johnny Jackson has 43 catches for 532 yards and 5 touchdowns. Nate Phillips has 39 catches for 519 yards with 4 touchdowns. David Richards has 39 catches for 504 yards and 5 touchdowns. Samajie Grant has 30 catches for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Four linebackers and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Star linebackers Scooby Wright III and Jake Matthews are both out with foot injuries.

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Arizona State is outscoring teams 31-30.7. ASU is #91 in points allowed. The Sun Devils average 454 yards per game including 275 passing and 178 rushing yards. ASU is #32 or better in passing and total offense nationally. On defense, Arizona State is allowing 423 total yards including 298 passing and 125 rushing yards. The Sun Devils are #122 in pass defense nationally but #22 in rush defense. ASU has forced 15 turnovers but has 17 of their own. The Sun Devils average 38 penalty yards per game and opponents average 52. ASU is 84/193 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 75/182. Arizona State has 36 sacks but has allowed 33 this season. The Sun Devils are 38/46 scoring in the red zone with 25 touchdowns, and opponents are 30/35 with 22 touchdowns. ASU has allowed three special teams/defensive touchdowns, and has a kick return for a touchdown.

Quarterback Mike Bercovici has completed 59.8% of his passes for 2,732 yards with 20 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 89 carries for 71 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns.

Running back Demario Richard has 151 carries for 814 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 27 catches for 271 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kalen Ballage has 90 carries for 486 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 9 catches for 41 yards.

Receiver Devin Lucien has 40 catches for 540 yards and 3 touchdowns. D.J. Foster has 40 catches for 498 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 42 carries for 245 yards. Tim White has 40 catches for 463 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 69 rushing yards. Gary Chambers has 21 catches for 392 yards and a touchdown. Kody Kohl has 27 catches for 291 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Grant Martinez is questionable with a knee injury. Another tight end Dan Vear is out for the season. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Arizona is 4-0 ATS after gaining more than 450 total yards and in November, 4-1 on grass, 5-2 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, and 1-5 after passing for more than 280 yards. The underdog has covered 8 of the last 11 games in this series. The over is 4-1 in this series recently.

Arizona State is 2-8 after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 3-9 overall, 2-7 against teams with winning records, 1-4 after a cover, 1-5 after a straight up win, and against teams with winning road records, and 1-6 after allowing more than 450 total yards. Five of the last six games in Tempe in the series have gone over the total.

Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Arizona, this should be a high scoring game. Both teams struggle on defense and have good offenses. ASU needs a win here or against California next week in order to secure a bowl berth. I like the Sun Devils to win a close game.

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