Utah vs. Arizona State betting preview and pick – Big showdown in Pac-12 South

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LAS VEGAS – One of two big games in the Pac-12 South division will be happening in Tempe at Sun Devil Stadium. The Utah Utes take their 6-1 record and meet the Arizona State Sun Devils, who are also 6-1. Against the spread, though, Utah is the more profitable team at 6-1 ATS on the season. Utah and ASU will be the latest contest on the board this Saturday night (11 p.m., FOX Sports 1).

The Line: Arizona State -5.5, Total: 58.5

Line movement: Arizona State opened as low as a 5.5-point favorite at The Wynn and remained at that number through early wagering.  As of Thursday, the spread ranged from ASU -5 to -6.  The total opened at 56.5 at the Westgate and was bet up to 58.5. For updated lines from around Las Vegas, visit our live odds page.

Trends that matter: Utah is 6-1 in its last seven games overall....The UNDER is 4-0-1 in Utah's last five games overall and 5-2-1 in Utah's last eight road games.....The UNDER is also 4-0 in Arizona State's last four games following an ATS win.

Here to stay? Utah has enjoyed a great season, beating the likes of UCLA and USC. However, the Don Best/Linemakers Poll has the Utes ranked as the fifth best team in the Pac-12 South.

Utah bettors have had a fantastic year, as well. The only slip up both straight-up and against the spread for the Utes was a contest against pass-happy Washington State. Utah blew a 21-0 first quarter lead against the Cougars in a game where WSU committed three turnovers.

More bad news for Utah is leading receiver Dres Anderson (knee) is out for the season. Quarterback Travis Wilson has eight touchdowns and zero picks on the year, but he only completes about 56-percent of his passes. Now, Wilson will be without one of his best targets.

The Utes' strength lies in their running game and defense, though. Junior running back Devontae Booker averages 5.8 yards per carry and has eight touchdowns on the ground this year. Meanwhile, the defense gives up just 21.6 points per game. That includes high-scoring UCLA where Utah was able to keep that game UNDER the posted total of 64.

Utah is very stout against the run, giving up 2.83 yards per carry. However, it's the passing attack for ASU that the Utes need to be concerned with.

On a roll: Arizona State began this season at just 1-3 against the spread. Since being annihilated at home against UCLA, the Sun Devils have won and covered three in a row.

Quarterback Taylor Kelly, who has missed time this season, should be good to go after suffering a head injury last week. ASU averages 303 passing yards per game and puts up an average of 36.6 points on the board. Even if Kelly has to miss any part of this game, backup Mike Bercovici has filled in very well. The two have combined for 18 touchdown passes and only three interceptions.

Lately, though, the Sun Devils defense has really stepped up. ASU has allowed only 10 points for two games in a row. Granted, their opponents were not the most prolific offenses in Stanford and Washington, but give them credit. Arizona State also forced five turnovers in those last two contests.

Utah has been trending to the UNDER, and if ASU can force a couple of turnovers and keep the Utes offense in check, the Sun Devils could be looking at their own streak of three straight to the UNDER.

This is a huge game in the Pac-12 and even possibly, the College Football Playoff.

Injuries that matter: Utah safety Tevin Carter is questionable with an undisclosed injury.

Arizona State's Christian Westerman (leg) is also questionable for Saturday.

Weather: The forecast calls for warm temperatures, around 80 degrees, with mostly clear skies and winds 10 to 15 mph. Visit Weather Underground for the latest forecast.

Handicapping tools: Matchup analysis | UTAH team page | ASU team page

The Linemakers' lean: When the better defense is getting points, we're usually on the dog.  But since we have Arizona State rated significantly higher than Utah, we're willing to lay the points here.  The ASU defense is improving, allowing just 10 points to each of its last two opponents, and the Sun Devils have been outplaying their rating, covering their last three games.  We'll lay up to 6.5 with Arizona State and also make a play on the UNDER.

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