Arizona State Makes Strong Case as Contender Against Pac-12 Rival Stanford

1379548315_BT039NxCMAAA4gPWith a pair of wins already under their belt, the No. 5 Stanford Cardinal will get their first taste of legitimate competition — and certainly their first taste of Pac-12 competition — this Saturday when they welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils. The college football odds favor the home Cardinal early, but few expected the visitors to have knocked off No. 20 Wisconsin last weekend.

Now, with 14-1 odds of winning the BCS National Championship, Stanford’s reputation is on the line.

Through two weeks, the Cardinal have looked every bit the top-10 threat they were projected to be out of the gates. Junior quarterback Kevin Hogan has performed admirably under center while senior running back Tyler Gaffney has punished opposing defenses with his ability to rush.

The duo may be hard-pressed to contend for the Heisman this season, but at least Hogan has emerged as an option in the sportsbook with 33-1 odds of taking home the personal accolade.

The Sun Devils, having climbed into the No. 23 spot in the AP rankings, will look to stifle what’s been a prolific Cardinal offense. While victories over San Jose State and Army are little to write home about, they’re not about to underrate their highest-rated opponent of the young season.

Aside from Stanford being the popular choice given its portfolio and pedigree, the Cardinal are also favored on the spread with NCAA odds of -7.5. The spread of more than a touchdown gives bettors reason to take a good long look at Arizona State.

The Sun Devils are undefeated through the first two weeks of the season, and while much of their 43.5 points per game came in a 55-0 blowout over virtual unknown Sacramento State, there’s no denying that this team has kicked off the 2013 campaign ready and able to deal damage in the Pac-12.

In addition to their Week 1 massacre, the Sun Devils gained more than a few fans with a narrow victory over the Badgers in Week 2. It should be clear by now that Arizona State is far from expected to make short work of Stanford in Week 3, but given their performance thus far, it’s not hard to picture them competing with the point spread.

Over the course of the regular season, the Pac-12 conference promises to be one of the more intriguing ones playable in the sportsbook — this mid-September matchup is just one of the latest examples of why.

Photo via Twitter/@FootballASU

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