By W.G. Ramirez

While the college football betting week began last night with Clemson and N.C. State entrenched in a rivalry battle in Raleigh, N.C., and continues tonight in Fresno, with Boise State and Fresno State in Mountain West action, there are plenty of big games on Saturday to be intrigued by.

The most intriguing for me is Stanford and Arizona State at Palo Alto; and the Cardinal is laying 6.5 points. Stanford beat San Jose State (34-13) on Sept. 7 and won at Army (34-20) last Saturday, a pair of rather easy games. But for ASU, it’ll be its second straight test after it won a controversial decision last Saturday against Wisconsin, 32-30.

The Sun Devils opened their 2013 campaign with a 55-0 blitz of Sacramento State, but escaped their game last week against the Badgers, who drove to Arizona State’s 13-yard line with 18 seconds left and confusion began over a misconstrued fumble. Without getting into detail – it’s confusing, trust me – the Pac 12 officials offered an apology, and the Badgers left pretty pissed off.

So, can the Cardinal take advantage of an ASU team that might be a bit hung over, yes, even a week later? Checking the betting numbers, The Cardinal is a mere 1-6 ATS in its last seven when laying points at home and 2-8 ATS over its last 10 in that role. Nonetheless, ASU was just 1-4 at the window as an underdog last season. Make note that teams favored in ASU-involved games are on a 12-3 ATS win streak since Todd Graham took over last season.

In other interesting college matchups for Saturday:

Tennessee at Florida (-16.5) The 19th-ranked Gators have won eight straight in this series, while they’ve covered six of those games – winning the last six by an average of 19 points per game. Tennessee’s defensive line has some serious depth issues and will most certainly be tested against Florida’s rushing attack.

West Virginia at Maryland (-5) Off to their best start since 2001, the unbeaten Terrapins have opened the season both 3-0 straight-up and against the number, while they’ve covered their last four since last season. On the other hand, West Virginia is on a 6-2 ATS run as an underdog since 2011. The Mountaineers are in rebuild mode, and it’s apparent, after sandwiching wins against William & Mary and Georgia State around a road loss to No. 14 Oklahoma.

Utah State at Southern Cal (-7) Southern Cal coach Lane Kiffin is on the hot seat – not quite as scalding as Mack Brown’s in Texas – but it’s pretty hot. And Kiffin comes into this very dangerous contest mired in a 4-12 ATS slide since last season. Also, the Trojans are in on a 1-5 spread kid when facing non-conference foes. On the other hand, USU is on a 13-3 ATS win streak dating back to 2012, not to mention a 7-2 streak at the window away from Logan.

Michigan State at Notre Dame (-6) The Irish have won and covered the last two meetings, while covering the last three overall versus Michigan State. Conversely, the Spartans have covered their last four as the road pup. Michigan State ranks No. 1 in the nation in total defense and pass efficiency defense, fourth in rushing defense and fifth in passing yards allowed.


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