It has been a while since the Arizona State Sun Devils have factored into the conference title picture, let alone the national title. The last time they finished a season ranked was back in 2014 (No. 14 Coaches Poll; No. 12 AP). Their only conference title game berth came the year before in 2013.
But they have yet to win the Pac-12.
However, things have been trending in the right direction under Herm Edwards. While it may be asking a bit much to put the Sun Devils in the national title conversation, it appears that oddsmakers see them as legitimate contenders within their division and the Pac-12 during the 2021 college football season:
|Arizona State Sun Devils Odds: 2021/22 Season||PointsBet||BetRivers||DraftKings|
|Conference Championship (Pac-12)||+450||+500||+500|
|Division Winner (Pac-12 South)||+200||+225||+240|
Arizona State Sun Devils 2021 Preview
While they finished the 2020 season with just a 2-2 record, the Sun Devils showed a lot of promise. Their run game was easily the best in the conference (264.2 yards/game), and they led the Pac-12 in scoring as well (40.2 points/game). They also had the top scoring defense (23.2 points/game).
Offensively, it is not hard to see them become even better this season. Quarterback Jayden Daniels is a third-year starter with a great arm and a good head on his shoulders. Last season, he had some talent to work with, but it was inexperienced.
This season—they are experienced, and he’ll have some additional weapons in former Utah Bryan Thompson and Elijah Badger (academically ineligible last season). His offensive line was excellent in pass protection and the run game. With four of five starters coming back, they should be as good, if not better, this season.
Factor in Arizona State’s talented running backs (Rachaad White, Chip Trayanum, and Daniyel Ngata), and the Sun Devil offense looks like must-see television.
On the defensive side of the ball, as good as the offense looks on paper, they will not need to do a whole lot—but they will. The entire secondary is back, including two all-conference talents in Evan Lucas and Chase Fields; Jack Jones could be all-conference this season.
Arizona State’s defense has several guys with all-conference potential. Linebacker Merlin Robertson, a four-year starter, has that kind of potential. The same can be said for defensive linemen Jermayne Lole and Tyler Johnson (second-team all-conference last season).
The Sun Devils defense ranked second in pass efficiency last season and could easily finish 2021 ranked first. With the talent and experience they have on the defensive side of the ball, the unit should be one of the best Arizona State has fielded in years.
Betting Preview And Recommendation
From a practical standpoint, you can probably go ahead and assume the Sun Devils are not going to make the college football playoffs or even factor into the national championship picture at all. However, with their experience on both sides of the ball, it is not hard to make a solid dark horse argument for them.
Is it a good enough one to warrant putting money on them? That depends on if the possibility you could turn $10 into $1250 is worth the risk. But with how dominant Alabama and Clemson have been in recent years, the eventual winner had relatively low preseason odds.
However, since 2001, there have been three national champions who had preseason odds of +4000 or greater (LSU in 2019; Florida State in 2013; Auburn in 2010; LSU in 2003). So, long shots happen…
As for winning their division or the Pac-12, USC is the only challenge they will face in their division. Oregon will probably win the North. It will be an entertaining title game between the Ducks and Sun Devils, but it is easy to see Arizona State coming out ahead.
So, yes—Arizona State is a good bet to win their division and the Pac-12.