Fittingly, the Arizona State Sun Devils are off to a hot start to the season.
Back-to-back victories, each by 27 points, earned ASU a No. 19 ranking in the latest Associated Press Poll. But this weekend brings on the Devils’ toughest test to date.
On Saturday, the team heads to Provo, Utah, to take on the 23rd-ranked BYU Cougars.
It will be the first ranked matchup for both teams. Yet even with Arizona State playing on the road, oddsmakers have the Sun Devils pegged as the favorites heading into the game. Still, the Cougars are looking to prove the experts wrong once again after an upset win over then-No. 21 Utah last week.
Some might consider this a “measuring stick game” for the Sun Devils before the team heads into Pac-12 Conference play.
Arizona State slight favorites against battle-tested BYU
The Sun Devils are coming off convincing early-season wins over Southern Utah and UNLV. In both games, ASU was a double-digit favorite.
But heading into Saturday’s big matchup with BYU, the Sun Devils are just modestly favored by mobile betting apps in Arizona, with a spread of , according to FanDuel Sportsbook Arizona. Meanwhile, Caesars AZ lists the ASU spread at them as a .
FanDuel puts the over/under at total points for the game. Through two games, ASU has averaged 39 points per contest. In comparison, BYU has scored 25 points per game.
As the Sun Devils got off to a 2-0 start, the Cougars defeated a pair of Pac-12 opponents to open the season. After an expected victory over Arizona, BYU booked a relatively shocking win over Utah as a seven-point underdog.
So far, quarterback Jaren Hall has held his own leading the Cougars in the post-Zach Wilson era. The redshirt sophomore threw for three touchdowns against the Utes and added 92 yards on the ground. This season Hall has done a great job of limiting mistakes and keeping the Cougars efficient in the red zone.
No. 19 Arizona State (2-0) at No. 23 BYU (2-0)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 18
Time: 7:15 p.m. MST
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium – Provo, Utah
TV Coverage: ESPN
ASU win may hinge On Heisman hopeful QB Jayden Daniels
While BYU has a first-time starter at quarterback, Arizona State is running out a signal-caller that is no stranger to big games. Historically, quarterback Jayden Daniels has performed excellently in the spotlight. Most notably back in 2019 when he led the Sun Devils to a thrilling 31-28 win over Justin Herbert and the 6th-ranked Oregon Ducks.
After only playing four games during a pandemic-stricken 2020 season, Daniels has come out guns blazing in 2021. He is both ASU’s leading passer (307 yards) and leading rusher (165).
A big night Saturday could vault Daniels up the Heisman Trophy rankings. Right now, the college football betting odds put Daniels at to be named college football’s best player. That puts him in a tie for ninth-best odds to win the Heisman after starting the season in a tie for 10th.
Daniels has a reputation of playing big in the fourth quarter of close games. And given the expectations for Saturday night, ASU will need his clutch playmaking to leave Provo with a win.