The game of the week in the PAC-12 Conference features the 23rdranked Arizona State Sun Devils (2-0) traveling to Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, CA to take on the 5th ranked Stanford Cardinal (2-0)this Saturday night (7:00pm ET). ASU cruised to a 55-0 win in week 2 over Sacramento State, and won a nail-biter at home last week over Wisconsin 32-30 in a game with a controversial ending with a poorly executed kneel-down play that prevented the Badgers from attempting the winning field goal as time expired. Stanford won 34-20 at Army last week and opened in week 2 with a 34-13 win over San Jose State at home.
ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly has thrown for 652 yards with 5 TDs and 1 INT to follow up and outstanding first season as a starter last year in which he threw for over 3,000 yard with 29 TDs and 9 INTs.Arizona State ranked 14th nationally in scoring last season, and put up 468 yards of total offense against the Badgers last week with Kelly throwing for 352 yards with an interception. The defense allowed an astounding 7.2 yards per rush (231 yards rushing) against Wisconsin, and Melvin Gordon averaged 12.9 YPC; that is a weakness that Stanford is very capable of exploiting with one of the best rushing attacks in the country.
Stanford is hard-nosed team that more often than not wins the battle upfront with dominating performances from their offensive and defensive lines and utilizes multiple formations on offense to confuse opposing defenses and exploit mismatches. The running game is led by back Tyler Gaffney (236 yards rushing) and Anthony Wilkerson (5.8 YPC).
Quarterback Kevin Hogan (62.2% completion percentage, 200 YPG passing this season) is 7-0 in his career as a starter after taking over at the end of last season. The Cardinal boast a rugged run defense that held San Jose State to 35 yard on the ground in the opener, although they did give up 284 yards rushing to Army’s triple-option attack last week. Head Coach David Shaw has feasted on PAC-12 teams with a 16-2 record in his 3 season at the helm.
Arizona St. vs. Stanford Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arizona State Sun Devils +8
@Stanford Cardinal -8
Over 48.5 (-110)
Under 48.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Arizona St. vs. Stanford Pick
Stanford is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games, 5-2 ATS in their next game following a game which they did not cover the spread and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record. ASU is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 2-5 ATS against a team with a winning record, and 2-7 ATS in their next game following a game which they did not cover the spread. The home team is 8-2-1 ATS in the last 11 meetings between the two teams. The last meeting between the two teams was in November of 2010 when the Cardinal at the time the 7th ranked team in the country, won 17-13 in Tempe.
The fact that ASU beat a team as physical the Badgers should provide the Sun Devils the confidence and experience against massive offensive and defensive lines of the Cardinal, which are among the best in the country on both sides of the ball. On the other hand, ASU played a very sloppy game last week and had an inability to stop the run; they were lucky to come out with a victory against a Badgers team that lost to Stanford 20-14 in the Rose Bowl last season. Stanford has not had to bring their “A” game so far this season with two games against over-matched opponents they have sleepwalked through the early part of the season. The call here is that they wake up in a big way for this game and exploit their advantage upfront to pound the ASU defense by running the ball on offense and attacking the quarterback on defense. The total is a shaky play in this game as both teams are capable of playing a low-scoring, grinder type of game or a shoot-out. The call here is that the Stanford advantage upfront and their experience on defense will be too much for ASU to overcome, Stanford is a disciplined and experienced team that will be up for their conference opener and will should cover the line at home. Take the Cardinal to cover by more than a touchdown in this one.