Missouri Tigers vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Point Spread – Pick ATS

No. 21 Missouri Tigers (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) at Arizona State Sun Devils (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS), Friday September 9th, 2011. 10:30PM EST, College Football Week 2
Sun Devil Stadium Tempe, AZ

By Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: MO +7/ASU -7
Over/Under Total: NL

The Arizona State Sun Devils are slated to host the no. 21 ranked Missouri Tigers this week in a late Friday Night showdown. The Sun Devils blasted UC Davis out of the FCS last week 48-14 and this week Arizona State will get a crack at a top 25 team from the Big 12 by way of the Missouri Tigers. Missouri also moved to 1-0 last week in their season opener with a win over Miami (Ohio). However, the Tigers win was less impressive as they just narrowly escaped being upset by score of 17-6.

Missouri was expected to have an exciting offense in 2011. The Tigers returned 9 starters on the offensive side of the ball from a group that averaged over 30 points per game in 2010. However, the Tigers managed to post just 291 yards of total offense last week as the offense appeared stagnant. Star wide receiver T.J Moe caught 6 passes totaling 56 yards receiving. QB James Franklin was solid both throwing and running the football. The dual threat quarterback led the team in rushing with 14 attempts totaling 72 yards and 1 touchdown on the ground.

Franklin also completed 17 of 26 passing for 129 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Franklin is the x-factor for the Missouri offense this season. The young sophomore has not had a lot of game time experience, but has a lot of potential to be a big time quarterback. Last week Franklin held onto the ball well and did not make many mistakes. Therefore, it will be interesting to see if he can continue to play that way as the competition picks up.

Fortunately for the Tigers, the Missouri defense played well last week which will give them encouragement going forward. The Tigers held Miami (Ohio) to just 270 total yards last week while also forcing a couple of turnovers as well. The defensive front for the Tigers played exceptional allowing just 76 yards rushing and capturing 4 sacks on the game. Missouri defensive lineman Brad Madison led the team with 7.5 sacks in 2010 and captured 2 sacks in the opener last week against Miami. Madison and fellow defensive lineman Jacquies Smith are among the best defensive line combinations in the Big 12. Both guys can get serious pressure on opposing quarterbacks and they will need to do just that next week against a solid Arizona State passing offense.

Speaking of the Sun Devils offense, they return the majority of all starters from their 2010 crusade. The experience unit posted over 500 yards of total offense in their opener over the inferior defense of UC Davis last week. Despite the fact that this is QB Brock Osweilers first full season at quarterback, the junior played well last week completing 19 of 26 passing for 262 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. Osweilers play this season will be vital to the entire offenses success as Arizona State often relies on their passing attack.

Starting tailback Cameron Marshall had a slow start on the ground last week for the Sun Devils offense, but managed to make some big plays out of the back field in the passing game. Marshall caught 4 passes totaling a team high 87 receiving yards receiving. Backup tailback Kyle Middlebrooks carried the ball 10 times for a team high 62 rushing yards. The Sun Devils struggled at times in 2010 to run the ball, but it is an important aspect to their passing success. Therefore, it will be very interesting to see if Arizona State has problems running the ball again this week against that strong Missouri defensive front.

Jays Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I believe a lot of the betting action will favor Missouri in this game given the fact the no. 21 ranked Tigers will be getting 7 points on the road against an unranked Sun Devils team. However, do not be fooled by this trap game. Arizona State will clearly be the better team this Friday night and will cover the points. Take Arizona State -7

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