Stanford holds the advantage in the recent series with Arizona State, winning five of the last six meetings straight up, going 3-2-1 against the spread along the way. But can the struggling Cardinal keep that run going when they dance with the Sun Devils on Thursday night in Tempe?
College football point spread: The Cardinal opened as three-point favorites, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
College football betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 31.2-28.2 Sun Devils (College football picks on every game)
Why the Stanford Cardinal can cover the spread
Stanford started this season 4-0, with wins over Pac-12 South leader USC and North Division rival Oregon. But the Cardinal are now hoping to snap a two-game losing skid, after falling to Utah two weeks ago 40-21. Stanford then had last week off.
The Cardinal, playing without star running back Bryce Love, fell to the Utes two weeks ago 21-0 in the second quarter, rallied to within 27-21 in the third quarter but faded from there.
On the night, Stanford actually out-gained Utah 423-421, but four turnovers, including two interceptions inside the Utes red zone, one of which went the other way for a pick-six, basically cost the Cardinal about 23 points. The good news for Stanford is Love is expected to play Thursday night.
Why the Arizona State Sun Devils can cover the spread
ASU started 3-2 this season but is looking to bounce back from a 28-21 loss at what was then an unbeaten and ranked Colorado outfit two weeks ago. The Sun Devils then also had last week off.
Arizona State led the Buffaloes 7-0, 14-7 and 21-14 in the third quarter, fell down by a score but had a chance to tie the game with a first-and-goal at the Colorado 3-yard line early in the fourth. Unfortunately, the Sun Devils came up empty on four plays, then allowed the Buffaloes to run the final seven minutes off the clock.
Arizona State already owns one home upset of a quality opponent this season, a 16-13 victory over Michigan State back in Week 2. And that Spartans team just beat Penn State.
Smart betting pick
The key to this game is Love; if he's healthy and effective Stanford is the better team and the better bet. But if he's less than healthy and ineffective this one's up for grabs. Bettors might want to get a better read on his status before getting down on this contest.
College football betting trends
The total has gone under in seven of Stanford's last nine games vs Arizona State.
Arizona State is 5-0 SU and ATS in its last five games at home.
The total has gone under in five of Arizona State's last seven games at home vs teams with winning records.
All college football odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report's official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week's top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.