The Arizona State Sun Devils, off to a solid start under new head coach Todd Graham, head to Boulder to take on Colorado for a little Thursday night Pac-12 college football action (9 p.m. ET, ESPN).
They face a tougher challenge beating the point spread than beating the Buffaloes, as they face a 22.5-point spread as road chalk (per OddsShark).
"ASU has won and covered all three meetings with Colorado since 2006, but this is a huge spread for a conference road game," said Jack Randall, a football analyst at OddsShark.com.
"And the Buffaloes are just 3-13 ATS their past 16 games as a double-digit underdog, so we are still seeing lots of betting action on the Sun Devils."
Can ASU get to 3-0 in conference play? Can Colorado pull another upset, like a few weeks ago versus Washington State?
Arizona State only returned eight starters this year, four on each side of the ball, for Coach Graham. So there was plenty of work to do, plenty of holes to fill. But so far, things have gone well in Tempe.
The Sun Devils opened this season with a 63-6 victory over Northern Arizona, beat Illinois 45-14, but then lost a tough game at Missouri, 24-20. However, ASU bounced back to beat Utah 37-7, then won at Cal, 27-17, to get to 2-0 in Pac-12 play.
The Devils had last week off.
On the season, Arizona State has scored 24 touchdowns, allowed nine and has outgained opponents, on average, by a 456-276 yards-per-game margin.
Colorado, meanwhile, returned just nine starters for its second season under head coach Jon Embree. The Buffs opened this season with a 22-17 loss to rival Colorado State, then got upset by Sacramento State (FCS), 30-28, and blown out by Fresno State, 69-14.
Colorado then pulled off a minor miracle, rallying from down 31-14 in the fourth quarter to win at Washington State, 35-34.
But the following week, the Buffs fell right back into place, losing at home to UCLA, 42-14.
Colorado also had last week off.
For the season, the Buffaloes have scored 15 touchdowns, allowed 23 and have been outgained by a 474-341 YPG margin.
In the matchup of expectations, Arizona State is 4-1 against the spread this season, while Colorado is 1-4 versus the numbers.
As of Thursday morning, most betting shops were listing the Sun Devils at -23 over the Buffs, with a total of 57.
Last year, Arizona State jumped out to a 24-0 lead on its way to beating Colorado 48-14.
Free Pick: The Sun Devils are responding very nicely to Coach Graham and his systems, while Colorado continues to struggle. But 23 points just seems like a lot in this spot. So we'll go with the home dog and back the Buffs Thursday night (courtesy of PickShark.com).
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