October 12, 2018
There is one pick tonight.
Arizona +15 spread against Utah for 3% of the bankroll.
The Utah Utes are coming off their biggest (an arguably) most impressive win of the season, defeating Stanford on the road in Palo Alto. The strength with Utah has always been their hard-nosed defense. They have a big front 7 that employs their will inside the trenches and allows their offense to keep the chains moving. The struggle with Utah however has always been their offense. They are not an explosive style offense and instead, typically play a grind-it-out style of football that makes it difficult to create separation on the scoreboard. We believe that style will be their downfall tonight. Prior to their win over Stanford, they had lost two straight, so it is not like this team has been setting the world on fire as of late.
The Arizona Wildcats have certainly fell short of their lofty expectations this season. Khalil Tate has been struggling under center after a breakthrough campaign a season ago. He seems to be turning more into a pocket-style passer, which while it will help him in the long run, it doesn't do the Arizona offense any favors in the meantime. That being said, his newfound style does give this team balance on offense. They can run the ball, and with Tate developing as a passer, it does allow them to sling the ball downfield. Utah puts a ton of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and while we haven't seen Tate's explosiveness on the ground this season, we wouldn't be surprised if this was the matchup where he finally breaks out.
Although they are playing at home, the Utes could be in for a bit of a letdown following their huge victory over Stanford. Arizona is coming off somewhat of a 'fortunate' victory themselves, utilizing a couple of defensive scores to drown the Cal Golden Bears in their most previous game. The expectations were put so high on Arizona, that is seems like many people have already written them off. This is still a team with a lot of talent that appears to be getting better, each time they step on the field.
While this isn't an ideal matchup for Kevin Sumlin's team, this is one that they have the ability to keep close. Pulling off the outright upset will take a full 60-min (and near perfect effort) however, we wouldn't be surprised to see them pull off some big plays and get behind the Utah defense and give them all they can handle. On a weeknight and on a short week, we simply feel this is too many points to expect Utah to cover. Even if they march out to an early / big lead, Arizona has the offense to perhaps put up a late score or two to narrow the gap and pull off a backdoor cover. We believe the value lies with the points in this one.
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