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NY Post
New York Post
30 Sep 2023

NextImg:Arizona State vs. California prediction: College football odds, picks

Betting on ASU football certainly isn’t for the faint of heart, but I see value in backing the struggling Sun Devils this weekend.

Specifically, I’m betting on ASU’s defense and taking Cal to go under 30.5 points.

If the spread pops up to ASU +13, I’ll sprinkle that as well, but the consensus remains +12.5 as of this writing.

The Golden Bears have scored over 30.5 points in three of their four games, but two of those performances resulted in 31 and 32 points, so they’re not exactly blowing past this number.

ASU’s defense has also played well – or at least above expectations – this season.

The Sun Devils rank in the middle of the conference in yards per game and, yes, they are in the bottom of the conference in points allowed per game, but those numbers are skewed after facing USC’s prolific offense last week and covering for an offense that turned the ball over eight times in the week prior.

Cal has also had issues scoring at times this season.

The Golden Bears rank 59th in finishing drives, which isn’t terrible, but isn’t elite either.

Conversely, I expect ASU to have some offensive success, which would help keep Cal’s offense off the field.

The Golden Bears rank a miserable 128th in defensive finishing drives and although ASU’s offense has struggled this season, there’s reason for optimism.

First, Kenny Dillingham has taken over play calling duties.

With Dillingham calling the shots, ASU’s offense was noticeably better last week.

Cameron Skattebo

Cameron Skattebo
Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Sun Devils were both more aggressive and played with a better rhythm.

Also, Trenton Bourguet is expected to start at quarterback.

Does Bourguet have the highest ceiling on this roster? No.

However, he started five games last season – including a stunning upset over Washington – and completed 71% of his passes.

Bourguet is an efficient passer, makes quick decisions and delivers the ball on time, which will be crucial given the patchwork offensive line he’ll be working behind.

ASU running back Cameron Skattebo is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and coming off a monster do-it-all performance against USC.

If ASU can establish success on the ground – and utilize Elijhah Badger and Jalin Conyers in the short passing game – it can keep Cal off the field.

For Cal to score 31 points, it’ll not only have to get the Sun Devils off the field, but will also need its offense to generate some explosive plays.

Cal running back Jaydn Ott headlines the offense and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry.

That may help Cal move the ball, but moving the ball methodically down the field via the rushing attack isn’t the best way to cash an over.

The Golden Bears rank in the middle of the Pac-12 in both yards and points per game.

Neither offense is particularly explosive and ASU’s defense is better than many may realize.

The Sun Devils should at least make Cal work for its yards, which will chew up the clock and help us cash this under.

Bet the Golden Bears to stay under 30.5 points and sprinkle some on ASU +13 if the line becomes available.