Arizona State Betting Odds Preview
It only took two years for head coach Todd Graham to get the Sun Devils to the Pac-12 championship game. They choked on it, getting blown out at home by Stanford, but last season still saw the most excitement in Tempe since the days of Jake the Snake.
Now the only goal left for Arizona State is to win the Pac-12 championship, and reap the benefits of what that might bring. But the Devils have a lot of holes to fill this season – more than any other team in the conference. And the competition in the Pac-12 South hasn't gotten any easier. Graham has this program headed in the right direction, but Arizona State might take a step back this year.
Arizona State Odds to Win Pac-12: 12/1 at Bovada
Arizona State Odds to Win College Football Championship: 100/1 at Bovada
Arizona State Regular Season Win Total: 7.5 at Bovada
Arizona State Betting Props: Taylor Kelly to Win Heisman 100/1 at Bovada
Arizona State opened last year 2-0, with help from that controversial victory over Wisconsin, but then opened Pac-12 play with a blowout loss at Stanford. The Sun Devils then put up 62 points in beating USC, but fell to Notre Dame. ASU then won six games in a row, routing Colorado, Washington and Washington State, rallying to win at Utah, beating Oregon State, winning at UCLA and crunching in-state rival Arizona. But in the Pac-12 championship game the Devils ran into the Cardinal again, and again got punked. ASU then followed that up by getting upset by Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl. So a season that almost resulted in a conference title instead ended with two thuds.
Arizona State is now 18-9 SU, 15-12 ATS in two seasons under Coach Graham.
This year the Sun Devils return just eight starters, second-fewest in all of FBS ball. Six starters are back on offense, including QB Taylor Kelly, who's thrown for 6,600 yards and run for 1,100 more over the last two seasons, last year's top two receivers, and three along the offensive line. But only two starters return on defense, none on the front four.
Arizona State games averaged 67 total points last year, and that figure might increase this year.
The Sun Devils open this season with three totally winnable games, then host UCLA and visit USC. So ASU's chances of winning the South again might be decided by early October. From there the Devils host Stanford, Notre Dame and Washington State, and have to play at Washington, Oregon State and Arizona. But they miss Oregon again.
Nonetheless, repeating as champions of the South looks like a very tough task.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at Bovada as of August 5
Arizona State 12/1
Oregon State 33/1
Washington State 50/1
Arizona State faithful couldn't ask for too much more from the first season of the Todd Graham era last year.
Coach Graham took a team that hadn't posted a winning season in five years and won eight games, including a bowl, and basically came a field goal away from winning the Pac-12's South Division. This year ASU should field its best team in a half-dozen seasons, with a very simple goal in mind; playing in the Pac-12 championship game.
ASU had a league-low eight returning starters for its first season under coach Graham last year, but there was some talent in place, and a bowl berth seemed like an attainable goal. The Sun Devils then took advantage of some opponents' tough luck to get off to a 5-1 start, including a 3-0 start in Pac-12 play. But Arizona State then lost four games in a row to some teams it's going to have to learn to beat, getting blown out by Oregon, falling on a late field goal to UCLA, then getting soundly defeated by Oregon State and USC.
The Devils recovered to trounce Washington State and rallied to win their rivalry game against Arizona in Tuscon, then put up 62 points on Navy in the Fight Hunger Bowl. So Arizona State finished 8-5 overall, 5-4 in Pac-12 play, and 8-5 ATS, thanks in part to a +6 turnover ratio. This year the Devils return 15 starters; seven are back on an offense that averaged 38 PPG last year, led by QB Taylor Kelly (29/9 TD/INT ratio last year), leading rusher Marion Grice, and three along the offensive line; and eight return on a defense that led all of FBS in tackles-for-losses last year, led by All-American DT Will Sutton. But that defense also gave up 183 YPG on the ground, so there's room for improvement in that department.
This year's schedule is a little tougher than last year's slate. ASU opens with what should be a scrimmage with Sacramento State, but then hosts Wisconsin in a very interesting Pac-12/Big Ten bout. The Devils then jump right into conference play with a road game at Stanford and a home date with USC. They then get a chance to show their stuff on a big national stage when they take on Notre Dame at Cowboys Stadium on October 5.
From there on out Arizona State hosts Colorado, Washington, Oregon State, and Arizona, and visits Washington State, Utah, and UCLA. They also miss Oregon, which is nice. The Sun Devils might only be favored in one or two of their first five games, but they could be chalked in six of their last seven.
Pac-12 Championship Odds at 5Dimes as of August 11
Oregon State +1050
Arizona State +1100
Washington State +6000