Arizona State Sun Devils at Stanford Cardinal (-5.5, 51.5)
Arizona State is coming off a thrilling yet controversial win, but the Sun Devils have no time to celebrate as they face a tough challenge with Saturday’s road game against Stanford. The 23rd-ranked Sun Devils emerged with a 32-30 victory over Wisconsin last week when the Badgers mismanaged the clock and failed to get off a last-second field goal. Arizona State was fortunate to defeat Wisconsin, but a matchup with No. 5 Stanford should provide another stiff test in what easily could be a Pac-12 title game preview.
The Cardinal have three matchups with ranked teams in the next five weeks, so they will need senior running back Tyler Gaffney (236 yards, three touchdowns in 2013) to be on top of his game. Of course, they won’t be getting any sympathy cards from the Sun Devils, who are in the midst of a six-game stretch that includes four ranked opponents. Arizona State has a standout running back of its own, as Marion Grice rushed for four touchdowns in the bizarre win over Wisconsin.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE: Stanford opened as a 7.5-point home favorite and has been bet down as low as -6. The total has moved from 48.5 to 51.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid 60s with a 40 percent chance of showers and winds blowing west at 9 mph.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE (2-0, 1-1 ATS): “This is the game our players have looked toward all offseason,” said Arizona State coach Todd Graham, who added that Saturday’s showdown “is a great opportunity for us to take a step forward as a program.” For that to happen, the Sun Devils will need improved play out of a rushing offense that, despite Grice’s touchdown production, ranks just 85th in the nation with 137.5 yards per game. On the bright side, Taylor Kelly set a career high with 352 passing yards against Wisconsin and has thrown for at least 300 yards in both games this season.
ABOUT STANFORD (2-0, 0-2 ATS): The Cardinal defense, which statistically was the best in the Pac-12 last season, returns eight starters from 2012. However, Stanford has won its first two games on the heels of a dynamic offense led by Gaffney and junior Kevin Hogan, who has five passing touchdowns on the season, two of which have gone to Ty Montgomery. The Cardinal have scored exactly 34 points in each of their first two games – wins over San Jose State and Army – though it’s their pass defense (seventh nationally) that has really turned heads through the season’s first two weeks.
* Favorite is 4-0-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 4-1 in the last five meetings.
* Home team is 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 meetings.
* Sun Devils are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Sun Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings in Stanford.
1. The Cardinal and Sun Devils have not faced each other since 2010, when Andrew Luck led Stanford to a fourth-quarter comeback win at Arizona State.
2. Stanford is 8-2 at home against ranked opponents since 2009.
3. Arizona State’s All-American DT Will Sutton has had a quiet start to the season (three total tackles) after leading the Pac-12 with 23.5 tackles for loss in 2012.