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2005 Arizona State Sun Devils Handicapping Review


By Tom Wilkinson


After a 2001 season in which they finished 4-7 straight up with four losses in their final five games against the odds, Arizona State seemed to have turned things around in 2002 as they posted an 8-6 record, made the Holiday Bowl, and beat the sports betting odds in eight of their final twelve games. At that point many sports betting bloggers proclaimed this team as reformed under head coach Dirk Koetter and the Sun Devils were expected to be a perennial Pac Ten Conference contender, bowl team, and to be a regular on the lists of football picks for many sports bettors. But 2003 turned into a cold slap in the face for both the Sun Devils and many of those same sports betting bloggers who were touting them at the start of the season. ASU finished 5-7 straight up and a red ink drowning 2-9 against the odds. By the end of 2003 the only lists of football picks that the Sun Devils were making were those in which they served as the opposition. ASU thus entered the 2004 season as a question mark and many sports betting bloggers posted a wait and see approach to ASU.

Just as 2003 was a violent sports handicapping market correction for Arizona State, so was the start of the 2004 season. The Sun Devils bolted out of the gate with five consecutive wins and covers including victories against 2003 bowl teams Northwestern, Iowa, Oregon State, and Oregon. After the fifth win and cover, a 28-13 triumph as 2.5-point dogs at Oregon, Arizona State was again the darlings of the online sports betting blog boards and as they headed into a showdown at USC against the defending national champion Trojans, the Sun Devils were being highly touted as a “live dog” that would appear on many lists of football picks.

As impressive as their perfect 5-0 start was, it decimated Arizona State’s value and shot expectations up to an unrealistic level. As 10.5-point dogs at USC, the Sun Devils were blown out in a matter of minutes, losing by a final score of 7-45. This cold slap in the face was a reality check and ASU appeared on significantly fewer lists of football picks for sports bettors the rest of the season as online sports betting blog posts wrote them off as frauds after the USC debacle. The loss at USC began a string of four consecutive failures against the odds for Arizona State, who then rallied to cover two of their final three games including their Sun Bowl win over Purdue, (27-23 as 7.5-point dogs). ASU finished in the black at 7-5 against the odds.









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