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This season two of my colleagues — Steve Rivera of GOAZCATS.com and Anthony Gimino of TucsonNewsNow.com — and I will pick the outcomes of Pac-12 games. Odds listed are of the Westgate Superbook in Las Vegas. …
Remember that catchy phrase “En Fuego” that ESPN once had? Well, Rivera is trying his best to make it hip again. The GOAZCATS.com writer and long-time Tucson media personality is 8-0-2 in his Pac-12 picks against the spread in the last two weeks. Overall, he is 16-7-2, so if you gambled based on his picks you’d be very much in the money right now. On to tonight’s Oregon-ASU game. Who will Rivera pick? …
OREGON (4-3, 2-2) AT
ASU (4-3, 2-2)
7:30 p.m., ESPN
Pointspread: ASU favored by 2.5 points
— Oregon and Arizona State, a pair of teams that have failed to live up to preseason expectations, will play what’s essentially a Pac-12 elimination game tonight in Tempe.
— Arizona State started the season ranked No. 15, but sputtered through the first seven games, playing well some games, falling flat others. Oregon (4-3, 2-2) had even higher expectations despite losing Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota, opening at No. 7 in the AP Top 25 preseason poll. The Ducks have floundered their way through a season that includes a blowout home loss to Utah and a double-overtime loss to Washington State.
— ASU is first nationally with 9.9 tackles for loss per game, but 97th in giving up plays or 20 or more yards with 38.
— Oregon QB Vernon Adams appears to be finally healthy. He must get balls out quick or use his elusiveness to extend plays and beat Arizona State’s blitzing pressure.
— Despite their struggles, the Ducks are still one of the nation’s most explosive teams. Oregon is 11th nationally in total offense with 516.3 yards per game and 12th at 39.3 points per game. Though they’re a spread team, the Ducks still primarily rely on the run, in particular they dynamic Royce Freeman. The sophomore is seventh nationally with 997 yards and has scored nine touchdowns.
— Oregon has controlled the series with the Sun Devils, winning eight straight and 12 of the past 15 meetings, including seven straight in Tempe. The games have not exactly been close with an average score of 47-21.
— Arizona State has had one of the nation’s best offenses in each of Todd Graham’s four seasons as coach. The Sun Devils have sputtered a bit on that side of the ball this year. ASU is 53rd nationally with 419.7 yards per game and is 68th in scoring, averaging 29.1 points per game. The Sun Devils also are coming off one of their worst offensive performances under Graham, failing to score an offensive touchdown while managing 257 total yards against Utah.
Oregon is 12-5 ATS in its last 17 games
Oregon is 19-5 SU in its last 24 games
Oregon is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Oregon is 7-1 SU in its last 8 games on the road
Arizona State is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 games
Arizona State is 14-6 SU in its last 20 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Arizona State’s last 7 games
Arizona State is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games at home
My pick: Oregon will win and cover
Steve Rivera’s pick: Oregon will win and cover
Anthony Gimino’s pick: Oregon will win and cover
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SCRIBES SPREAD SELECTION STANDINGS
SU: Straight-up pick. ATS: Against-the-spread pick.
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CHECK OUT STEVE, ANTHONY AND MATT MORENO IN THEIR WEEKLY “SPORTS GUYS” SHOW
Site founder and award-winning sports journalist Javier Morales has published his first e-book, “The Highest Form of Living”, a fiction piece about a young man who overcomes a troubled upbringing without his lost father and wayward mother through basketball and hope. His hope is realized through the sport he loves. Basketball enables him to get past his fears. His experience on the court indirectly brings him closer to his parents in a unique, heartfelt way. Please order it at Amazon (for only $4.99) by clicking on the photo:
Next question: Can Arizona State play a complete game against Oregon? https://t.co/JjFn89QKHn