The Stanford Cardinal will get their 2013 season started with a home game against the San Jose State Spartans. Stanford was one of a few teams that didn’t playing during opening week. The Spartans won and covered at home, knocking off Sacramento State 24-0 as a 20-point favorite. These two teams met in the opener for both schools in 2012. Stanford narrowly escaped with a 20-17 home win as a 24-point favorite. Kickoff for this year’s matchup is scheduled for 11:00 pm EST on Saturday at Stanford Stadium and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network. Despite last year’s close game, oddsmakers have listed the Cardinal as 26.5-point home favorites over the Spartans.
Why San Jose State Will Cover:
I was shocked to see the Spartans listed as a bigger underdog than they were a year ago on the road at Stanford. While San Jose State has just 12 returning starters and are in the first year under head coach Ron Caragher, they get back the most important piece in senior quarterback David Fales. Against the Cardinal last season, Fales completed 24 of 35 attempts for 216 yards and a touchdown. There are a lot of experts who feel Fales is one of the Top 10 quarterback prospects in the country for next year’s NFL Draft. Anytime you have a player with that kind of talent at the quarterback position, you have an excellent shot at covering a large spread like this.
San Jose State has not got the credit they deserve from oddsmakers. With their win cover against Sacramento State the Spartans are now an impressive 12-2 ATS over their last 14 games and a perfect 8-0 ATS in their last 8 non-conference matchups. A lot of that has to do with them going 11-2 ATS in 2012, but if you go back to 2011, San Jose State is 13-4 ATS following a game in where they covered, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 non-conference games and 11-2 in their last 13 when they are listed as the under.
With their win cover against Sacramento State the Spartans are now an impressive 12-2 ATS over their last 14 games and a perfect 8-0 ATS in their last 8 non-conference matchups.
Stanford is clearly the more talented team overall and come into this season with the expectations of winning the Pac-12 and potentially running the table and playing for a BCS Championship, but they didn’t exact blow teams out last year. Only two of their 12 wins came by more than 27 points, one of which was a 48-0 road win over a horrible Colorado team. While Stanford head coach David Shaw would like to see a better performance against the Spartans, his number one goal is to get a win and stay healthy before conference plays gets going.
Why Stanford Will Cover:
You almost get the feeling that the oddsmakers know something here and that’s why we see Stanford listed as a bigger favorite than a year ago. Anyone who looks back at the game last season between these two teams and sees that San Jose State returns an elite quarterback would instantly jump on the points, especially given the Spartans track record against the spread.
I started looking closer for what might be the big difference in this year’s game that would allow Stanford to win big. The first thing that stuck out was the Spartans defense lost a lot from last year. They had just five returning starters and star outside linebacker Vince Buhagiar suffered a shoulder injury late in fall practice that has him out indefinitely. San Jose State also has just one starter back on the defensive line. While they were able to hold their own against Sacramento State, they could be in for a long night against one of the top offensive lines in the country.
The Cardinal also feature a stronger offense this time around with sophomore Kevin Hogan at quarterback. In last year’s game Josh Nunes completed just 16 of 26 attempts for 125 yards and a touchdown. Hogan, who started the final five for Stanford, not only was a more efficient passer but he also has the ability to beat defenses with his feet.
The last thing is the Stanford defense didn’t play anywhere close to their potential against the Spartans last year. Look for a much stronger performance on that side of the ball this time around. The Cardinal had no idea just how good Fales was (first career start) and the defense likely didn’t take San Jose State all that seriously after holding them to just 6 points and 237 yards of total offense in a 51-points blowout win in 2011. Expect Shaw and defensive coordinator Derek Mason to have a much stronger game-plan for Fales this time around.
Early Lean – Stanford -26.5
- College Football Home Field Advantage
- Odds to Win Heisman Trophy
- College Football National Championship Odds
- Who Will Be Ohio State’s Starting Quarterback in 2015?
- Oregon Ohio State Odds
- GoDaddy Bowl Odds
- Birmingham Bowl Odds
- Cactus Bowl Odds
- Alamo Bowl Odds
- TaxSlayer Bowl Odds
- Armed Forces Bowl Odds
- Citrus Bowl Odds
- Outback Bowl Odds
- Orange Bowl Odds