Every week, the Star’s Michael Lev, Justin Spears and Alec White will pick the winner of the Arizona football game and others throughout the Pac-12.
This week, the guys pick the Arizona-Arizona State game and six other Pac-12 games. For in-depth breakdowns of each matchup, check out the latest episode of the Wildcast Podcast on Apple, Spotify or The Wildcaster App.
Arizona at Arizona State (-20): Saturday at 2 p.m. on Pac-12 Arizona
The pick: Arizona +20
Despite a lopsided loss last week at Washington State, the Wildcats are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last five games. ASU is 1-4 ATS in their last five after its road loss to Oregon State.
However, the Sun Devils have won the last four matchups against the Cats and Arizona hasn’t won in Tempe since 2011.
With this weekend’s spread, the Wildcats have been underdogs of 20 or more points in four games this season. In the previous three instances (Oregon, USC, Utah), Arizona has covered the spread while losing outright.
All three reporters are backing Arizona to cover the large spread, with one of them even picking the Cats to pull off the upset win.
Lev on why Arizona wins: “ASU has seven wins this season and only one of them is against a team that currently has a winning record (UCLA)... Do they have incentive in this game, the Sun Devils? Do they have motivation beyond just the Territorial Cup? Probably not as much motivation as Arizona has, after last year… I’m going to take Arizona to win the game outright. Talked myself into it here.”
Spears on why ASU wins, but Arizona covers: “Arizona last year, there were so many times where they’d get down big in game and just completely fold over. This year’s team has a lot of fight to it. While I do think Arizona will lose this game, it’s a rivalry and a lot of emotions go into it. The whole ‘It’s Personal’ mantra inside the program will really be personified this weekend… With that being said, I feel like ASU just has better personnel.”
White on why ASU wins, but Arizona covers: “There is a path for victory for Arizona and to me and having a healthier Jamarye Joiner run some of the gadget/Wildcat offense and be effective… but it’s going to be tough for Arizona’s defense to slow down ASU’s rushing attack. And ASU has gone under the radar defensively, having one of the best defenses in the Pac-12.”
Lev’s pick: Arizona wins 26-24
Spears’ pick: ASU wins 31-21
White’s pick: ASU wins 28-20
Over/Under: 52.5 points
The pick: Under 52.5
The Territorial Cup has been a high-scoring affair in recent history, with 70 or more points scored in 8 of the last 9 meetings between the two schools. The lone time the total was held under 70 points since 2012 was in the 2019 game where ASU won 24-14 in Tempe.
ASU allows the fewest yards per game (323) among Pac-12 schools this season and the third-fewest points (21.5). Arizona’s defense has improved compared to last season, ranking seventh in the conference in yards allowed (377) but has given up 38 or more points in three of their last four games.
All three reporters are siding with the total to go under the projected 52.5 points.
Other Pac-12 games
Colorado at Utah (-24): Friday at 2 p.m. on Fox
Lev’s pick: Utah wins, but Colorado covers
Spears’ pick: Utah wins and covers
White’s pick: Utah wins, but Colorado covers
Washington State at Washington (+1): Friday at 6 p.m. on FS1
Lev’s pick: Washington wins straight up
Spears’ pick: Washington wins straight up
White’s pick: Washington State wins and covers
Oregon State at Oregon (-7): Saturday at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN
Lev’s pick: Oregon wins but Oregon State covers
Spears’ pick: Oregon wins and covers
White’s pick: Oregon wins and covers
Notre Dame at Stanford (+20): Saturday at 6 p.m. on Fox
Lev’s pick: Notre Dame wins and covers
Spears’ pick: Notre Dame wins and covers
White’s pick: Notre Dame wins and covers
BYU at USC (+7): Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
Lev’s pick: BYU wins and covers
Spears’ pick: BYU wins but USC covers
White’s pick: BYU wins and covers
Cal at UCLA (-6.5): Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on FS1
Lev’s pick: UCLA wins, but Cal covers
Spears’ pick: UCLA wins, but Cal covers
White’s pick: Cal wins straight up
Lev: 31-24 straight up, 30-24-1 against the spread, 6-5 picking the over/under
Spears: 28-27 SU, 27-27-1 ATS, 5-6 O/U
White: 36-19 SU, 26-28-1 ATS, 7-4 O/U