College Football Odds, Picks, Predictions for Stanford vs. Arizona State: Why to Back the Cardinal
Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Tanner McKee.
- Coming off a massive upset over Oregon, Stanford travels to Tempe to take on No. 22 Arizona State in a Friday night Pac-12 duel.
- While the Cardinal are coming off their biggest win of the season, the Sun Devils defeated UCLA on the road last week.
- Roberto Arguello breaks down this Week 6 showdown and offers up his best bet.
Stanford vs. Arizona State Odds
|Stanford Odds||+13.5 (-120)|
|Arizona State Odds||-13.5 (+100)|
|Moneyline||+375 / -510|
|Over/Under||53 (-120 / +100)|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.|
The Stanford Cardinal travel to the Valley of the Sun to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils in a Friday night edition of #Pac12AfterDark.
Both teams are coming off of huge upsets over the then-favorites to win the North and South Divisions, as Stanford beat Oregon at home as eight-point underdogs while Arizona State blew out UCLA on the road as three-point underdogs.
Both teams will look to further their momentum as Stanford now controls its destiny to win the Pac-12 North, and Arizona State controls its destiny to win the Pac-12 South.
Which team will establish itself as a dark horse to win the Conference of Champions with a win on Friday night?
Stanford vs. Arizona State Betting Preview
If the Cardinal cover or pull the upset, it will be because quarterback Tanner McKee has a huge night.
The Stanford offense will be without several key contributors as top receivers Michael Wilson (who has yet to play this season) and Brycen Tremayne are out, and running back E.J. Smith also remains out. Stanford’s kicker and kickoff man Joshua Karty will miss Friday’s contest, but right guard Branson Bragg will return after missing the Oregon game.
The Stanford offense under coach David Shaw has always been built upon running the football, but this year, the Cardinal have had more success passing than running. They rank 90th in Rush Success Rate but 35th in Pass Success Rate.
McKee has stepped in and excelled since becoming the starter in Week 2 for Stanford, posting 11 touchdown passes and zero interceptions on the season. His signature moment thus far came last week when he led the Cardinal on an 11-play, 86-yard touchdown drive to tie the game at 24 against Oregon, connecting with receiver Elijah Higgins on a fade on an untimed down.
After Stanford had just one (Nathaniel Peat) of its top four running backs available against UCLA — Peat ran for 2.1 yards per carry — Cardinal running backs averaged 4.5 yards per carry against Oregon. Both starting running back Austin Jones and reserve back and return man Casey Filkins returned to action.
Running the football hasn’t been the Cardinal’s strength this year, but if the offensive line can get some push and take some pressure off of McKee, it will be a tremendous help against the best defense they have seen so far this season.
The Stanford defense hasn’t impressed in terms of key statistics, but the Cardinal defense has stepped up with its back against the wall.
Stanford kept Oregon scoreless in the first quarter last week then got a huge stop with about two minutes to play to give McKee and the offense a chance to tie the game. The defense then got a walk-off four-and-out in overtime to seal the victory.
The defensive line outside of Thomas Booker still leaves a lot to be desired, but the linebackers and secondary have consistently stepped up this season.
The linebacking corps is finally healthy after a couple of years of significant injuries, and this key unit in Lance Anderson’s 3-4 defense has a plethora of strong and athletic tacklers.
The Stanford defense ranks a poor 122nd in Rush Success Rate allowed, but it does rank an impressive 20th in Defensive Line Yards. It will need to hold its ground against Arizona State’s elite rushing offense.
The Stanford defense ranks just 117th in Havoc created, and if it pulls the upset in Tempe, it will need to win the turnover battle.
— GoStanford Notes (@gostanfordnotes) October 7, 2021
The secondary, led by standout cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly, has had a handful of inexperienced players like Jimmy Wyrick, Alaka’i Gilman, Nicolas Toomer, and Jaden Slocum step in without the defense missing a beat.
The Stanford defense ranks 33rd in Pass Success Rate allowed, 32nd in big plays allowed, and 63rd in pass rush.
Arizona State Offense
Arizona State’s offense has stepped up this season thanks to elite offensive line play. The Sun Devils rank sixth nationally in Line Yards and second in Pass Blocking.
This has allowed the offense to rank sixth in Rush Success Rate, eighth in big plays, and 20th in Finishing Drives.
Arizona State’s 51.7% third-down conversion rate leads the Pac-12 and ranks seventh nationally.
The Arizona State offensive line will be plenty motivated to win the game because of its potential to win the Pac-12 South, but it will also want to send a message to Stanford for starting right guard Henry Hattis, a graduate transfer who started his career in Tempe.
Running backs Rachaad White and DeaMonte Trayanum lead the way for the offense, as they have averaged over five yards per carry apiece. Quarterback Jayden Daniels has also stepped up this season, and he is coming off his best game of the season in the win over UCLA.
Daniels connected with receiver Ricky Pearsall twice in the second quarter for scores of 65 and 54 yards against UCLA’s aggressive defense in Cover 0. Daniels averaged 15.1 yards per pass in the win, as big plays carried the Arizona State offense.
Top-Graded @PFF Offensive Players thru Week 5
89.1—Jayden Daniels, ASU
86.1—Zach Charbonnet, UCLA
85.6—Drake London, USC
83.8—Chance Nolan, OSU
83.3—Kellen Diesch, ASU
82.7—T.J. Bass, UO
81.9—Curtis Hodges, ASU
80.7—Case Hatch, ASU
80.3—Rachaad White, ASU
— SportsPac12 (@SportsPac12) October 5, 2021
The Sun Devils may not make as many big plays against a more conservative Stanford defense that ranks 32nd in big plays allowed, so moving the ball consistently and making smart decisions to take what the defense gives them will be imperative for a home win and cover.
Arizona State Defense
The Arizona State offense was quite impressive in the win against UCLA, but the Sun Devils defense was arguably more impressive as they held UCLA scoreless in the second half and got three key stops on fourth downs.
They will face a challenge against Stanford, as McKee is the best pocket passer they have faced this season.
The Arizona State defense has been solid so far this season as it ranks among the top 51 units in Defensive Line Yards, Pass Success Rate, pass rush, Havoc created, and big plays allowed.
However, the Sun Devils will be without captain and leading tackler Kyle Soelle for the first half on Friday after he was ejected for targeting in the second half of the UCLA game.
Standout redshirt senior cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Jack Jones will need to have strong performances against the big and physical Cardinal receivers — whom McKee loves to throw fades to — for the Sun Devils to win and cover.
Stanford vs. Arizona State Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Stanford and Arizona State match up statistically:
Stanford Offense vs. Arizona State Defense
Arizona State Offense vs. Stanford Defense
Pace of Play / Other
Stanford vs. Arizona State Betting Pick
The Sun Devils are a better team than the Cardinal so far this season, but there is no way they should be laying nearly two touchdowns in this matchup. Stanford is a team that won’t turn the ball over or shoot itself in the foot, while both teams play at a slow pace (both rank 120th nationally in plays per minute).
The Cardinal rank second in the nation with just two turnovers through five games, but both of those turnovers were interceptions by now-backup quarterback Jack West in the opener against Kansas State. McKee hasn’t made many poor decisions at quarterback, so the Sun Devils offense will likely need to score touchdowns — and do so relatively quickly — to cover.
This also feels like an excellent chance to sell high on Arizona State. It turned heads with flashy big plays in the win over UCLA last week, but it won’t have the same opportunities to burn the more conservative Stanford defense over the top.
The Cardinal also have a better secondary that much better in coverage and tackling than the Bruins.
Overall, the Cardinal have won seven of their last eight against Arizona State, and they have won four of their five games against the Sun Devils under David Shaw.
They will likely be the more disciplined team on the field, and I will gladly back the Cardinal on the spread while sprinkling the moneyline.
I recommend betting 80% of your money on the spread and 20% on the moneyline as the Cardinal are undervalued on both lines. Stanford has been an underdog by more than a touchdown twice this season (at USC and vs. UCLA), and it picked up a 14-point outright win over the Trojans.
I love the Cardinal on the spread this week, although they have grown from 10-point underdogs to 13.5-point underdogs.
I recommend waiting until Friday to see if this line gets to the key number of 14, but I would still be aggressive in betting this at anything more than 10 points on the spread.