Ducks vs Sun Devils NCAA Football Spread/Handicapping
The third-seeded Oregon Ducks are going up against their toughest competition of the season this week, and while the Arizona State Sun Devils haven’t played anybody of real significance thus far, they’ll be looking to spoil the Ducks’ BCS dreams Thursday night on ESPN.
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No. 3 Oregon Ducks (6-0) vs Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1)
Thursday October 18, 2012
Sun Devil Stadium, TEMPE, AZ
9:00 PM ET
Moneyline: Oregon -335 , Arizona St. +275 from SportsBettingOnline.ag
Spread: Oregon -9
The game should be tight most of the way through, as this could be both team’s toughest contest yet.
The Oregon Ducks should be well-rested coming off their first bye of the year, but they must also be well-prepared, as their trip to Sun Devil Stadium will mark their first true road game of the entire 2012 season. The Ducks traveled up to Seattle to play Washington State in week five, but with the game being played at Century Link Field—not Martin Stadium—the home-field advantage wasn’t so much a factor.
If there were ever a game at this point in the year that will test redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota, this is it. The kid has had the benefit of playing almost every game at home—and almost every game against a lesser-quality opponent. As a result, he’s thrown for 15 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards.
However, stopping the Ducks offense is going to mean more than stopping Mariota. He has multiple weapons in the passing game, including Heisman hopeful De’Anthony Thomas. The true sophomore is just as dangerous in the receiving game as he is rushing, and it takes just one missed tackle before he’s gone the other way looking at six points.
As good as Thomas has been, the workhorse for this team has been Kenjon Barner. If Mariota struggles in his first road contest, expect Barner to take over. Chances are, head coach Chip Kelly is smart enough to figure this out beforehand, and he’ll give the ball to Barner two or three times a down anyway to ensure his quarterback doesn’t need to be the hero.
Arizona State Sun Devils
The Arizona State Sun Devils have started the season extremely strong with a 5-1 record, but like the Oregon Ducks, week eight will prove to be a challenge in an otherwise underwhelming schedule.
As strong as Oregon is using the run, rattling young quarterback Marcus Mariota is going to be crucial for the Sun Devils on Thursday. Arizona State is fifth in the nation in pass defense, allowing just 128.5 yards per contest. If they can put pressure on the youngster and make him get rid of the ball early, he’ll have less of a chance to break out to the outside where he can make plays with his feet or his arm while on the run.
Arizona State’s defense has been strong all year, but against the offensive prowess of the Ducks, they must score points to keep up. The team has averaged a more-than respectable 40.5 points per contest, so if they can hold that average, they’ll be on the right path. The problem is, the Ducks have a tendency to wear down opponents in the second half, so the Sun Devils must start scoring early and carry that momentum with them late into the game.
Both teams are going to be challenged in this contest, but if all goes according to plan, it should be the Ducks coming out with the victory. Their offense is too good and they’ll likely be the ones to bring the other team back down to reality.
The Sun Devils will test Oregon, and this could be the Ducks’ closest contest to date; but when it’s all said and done, Oregon’s BCS hopes should still be alive when the clock strikes zero.
- Sun Devils are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Sun Devils are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
- Sun Devils are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Over is 5-0 in Ducks last 5 games following a ATS win.
- Over is 8-2 in Ducks last 10 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Over is 7-0 in Sun Devils last 7 Thursday games.
- Over is 5-1 in Sun Devils last 6 vs. a team with a winning record.
Score Prediction: Oregon 38 – Arizona St. 31