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Southern Utah Thunderbirds vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Odds & Game Pick (2021)

by August 31, 2021

The 2021 Arizona State Sun Devils will debut on Thursday following an offseason plagued by scandal and controversy. Internally dismissed as nothing more than allegations and minor violations, the verdict is still out as the NCAA investigation looms over the program. For the visiting Thunderbirds, last week’s loss at San Jose State was an opportunity to get some much-coveted reps as they come into this one for one final “Pay Day” before starting their FCS slate.

Let’s take a closer look at where the value remains in this David vs. Goliath showdown.

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Despite a shortened 2020 season that saw the Thunderbirds finish 1-5, almost every game was close as each of their five losses came down to one possession. Sophomore gunslinger Justin Miller is back for a team that runs a balanced offense, but as we saw already last week leaves a lot to be desired.

The defense is keyed around linebacker La’akea Kaho’ohanohano-Davis, a future NFL prospect and one of the top defensive talents in all the FCS.

In their first game of the season last week in ‘Week 0’, the Thunderbirds were rocked by the Spartans by a final score of 45-14 after going down by 21 in the first 15 minutes of the game.

For the Sun Devils, sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels returns for his third season at the helm, with the best team around him he’s had to date. Returning more production than any team in the country, the 2021 Sun Devils brought back nearly every yard and tackle of production from last season.

Considered by many a dark horse to win the PAC-12, the Sun Devils have arguably the most talented team they’ve had in the program’s history if they can bring it all together.  The only potential roadblock as I see it is the shadow looming over the program from the recruiting scandal that the NCAA is still investigating. If they can keep their key players and coaches on the field and sideline and somehow limit the distractions, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say no one wants to play this team this season.

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  • In 2020, the Sun Devils went 3-1 ATS in their shortened regular season
  • The Sun Devils have gone UNDER in 5 of their last 6 games played in week 1.

Bottom Line 

Headlined by defensive lineman Tyler Johnson, I think we see this Arizona State defense take a big step forward this year, and that gets started on Thursday with what should be a pissed-off team looking to take out their aggression. Despite already playing a game, this is a Southern Utah defense that couldn’t stop Nick Starkel from throwing for over 400 yards, and if Herm Edwards lets him, Daniels should easily eclipse that.

This is  Devils or nothing play for me here. They’ll look to make a statement.

Pick: Arizona State -44.5

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Johnny Perun is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Johnny, check out his archive and follow him @JohnnyCovers.

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