Utah vs Arizona State Odds, Picks and Predictions: Thomas Flattens Sun Devils Rush Defense

After Herm Edwards' firing added more dysfunction to an already discombobulated program at Arizona State, the Sun Devils now host a Utah team finding its footing after an opening-week loss. The Utes and RB Tavion Thomas will run all over AZ State.

Last Updated: Sep 24, 2022 8:21 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Tavion Thomas Utah Utes College Football NCAA
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Utah begins its defense of the 2021 PAC-12 Championship with its first conference game of the season.

Kyle Whittingham’s bunch will head to Tempe for its PAC-12 opener against an Arizona State squad mired in uncertainty following the ousting of coach Herm Edwards. Losing to Eastern Michigan 30-21 was the final straw and Edwards was fired shortly afterward.

Will the Utes continue to roll against conference opponents?

Check out our college football picks and predictions for the Utah Utes and Arizona State Sun Devils to find out. 

Utah vs Arizona State best odds

Utah vs Arizona State picks and predictions

Utah won its first-ever PAC-12 championship in 2021 and appears primed to make a strong run toward a repeat. The Utes will eventually have to get past strong teams like USC and Oregon if they hope to take home back-to-back titles, but Week 4 should be a more manageable task. 

Simply put, Arizona State is down bad. The program remains in a state of uncertainty due to an ongoing investigation regarding recruiting violations. Herm Edwards was reportedly fired on the field following last week’s loss to Eastern Michigan. The Sun Devils were -20.5 favorites in that contest and lost straight up by 9 points — things are not going well.

The Eagles ran all over Arizona State’s defensive front in that contest, gaining 315 rushing yards on 49 attempts. They gained 25 first downs and Samson Evans led the way with 258 yards and a score on the ground. EMU is far from a powerhouse and is more of a passing-oriented team, having gained only 118.8 rushing yards per game on 3.4 yards per carry a season ago. Even considering I had low expectations for Arizona State this season. it was still a jaw-droppingly terrible performance.

If a middle-of-the-road (at best) MAC school can run all over Arizona State, I hesitate to think of the carnage that Utah should inflict in Week 4. The Utes are gaining 216.7 rushing yards per game on 5.5 yards per carry. Running back Tavion Thomas leads the way with 222 yards and four touchdowns on the ground, and it’d be very, very surprising if he didn’t find success on Saturday. Thomas, a Cincinnati transfer, burst onto the scene last year with 1,108 rushing yards and a whopping 21 touchdowns, the third-most rushing scores of any back in the country. 

You’ll have to lay a little juice (-185) to play this one, but I think it’s more than fair considering this should be -250 or above in my opinion. Since earning the lead role last season, Thomas has scored at least one touchdown in all 11 games, amassing 23 rushing scores.

My best bet: Tavion Thomas Over 0.5 rushing touchdowns (-185 at DraftKings)

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Utah vs Arizona State betting preview

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Spread analysis

Utah has now won two straight after the disappointing opening loss to Florida. And that loss can be excused to an extent, as the Utes had to open the season in a hostile environment in the swamp and still nearly pulled out the victory, gaining over 300 yards of offense in the second half but ultimately came up empty on a Cam Rising interception in the end zone to end the game. 

The Utes have been very profitable to back when they won the previous week, going 16-5 ATS in their last 21 games following a straight-up win. 

On the other hand, Arizona State has played fairly well at home, going 4-1 ATS in their last five games at Sun Devil Stadium.

Sometimes a team will rally around the interim head coach and see a slight surge after a firing. I’m not sure that’ll be the case with the Sun Devils. Edwards was in hot water for a while and it’s not like it was a secret. There’s very little coaching experience left on the staff compared to most programs after they cleaned house following the news of the investigation into recruiting improprieties.

Over/Under analysis

Utah ran roughshod over the PAC-12 a year ago after switching to Rising at quarterback. His dual-threat ability makes this team very difficult to account for, and this should be one of the nation’s best offenses. Rising is completing 67.1% of his passes for 8.2 yards per attempt and eight touchdowns through three games. He has two of the country’s best receiving tight ends in Brant Kuithe (191 yards, three touchdowns) and Dalton Kincaid (174 yards, two touchdowns).

Utah has gone 7-0 to the Over in its last seven road games and should find success against a bad Arizona State defense that ranks 89th in success rate allowed. The Utes are 9-2 to the Over in their last 11 games following an ATS win.

As for the Sun Devils, dual-threat Emory Jones is averaging 7.5 yards per attempt in the air while adding three rushing scores. Wyoming transfer Xazavian Valladay has been a revelation, gaining 361 rushing yards for four touchdowns. With linebacker Devin Lloyd off to the NFL, Utah’s defense appears to have taken a step back this season, ranking 72nd in success rate allowed. 

There are some injury concerns for the Utes. Clark Phillips III, an integral part of the secondary, left last week’s win over San Diego State in the third quarter and did not return while starting linebacker Mohamoud Diabte missed the game entirely.

Utah vs Arizona State betting trend to know

Utah is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games following a straight up win. Find more NCAA betting trends for Utah vs. Arizona State.

Utah vs Arizona State game info

Location: Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2022
Kick-off: 10:30 p.m. ET

Utah vs Arizona State key injuries

Find our latest College football injury reports.

Utah vs Arizona State weather

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