Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:30 AM EST.
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
Saturday, December 29, Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
1:15 PM EST. Nevada is 854 miles away from the site of the Arizona Bowl, while Arkansas State is 1,400 miles away, so neither team should have much of a crowd edge, thus we’re trying to understand why the Wolf Pack are favored here. Is it because they reside in the Mountain West while the Red Wolves reside in the Sun Belt? Perhaps. The records, both in-conference and overall are almost identical so the market can’t be influenced by a better record. The Mountain West features some well known programs like San Diego State, Boise St, Fresno State, Colorado State, Air Force and Utah State while the Sun Belt features nothing that can compare. Other than App State, no other programs in the Sun Belt have market credibility, which is very likely the reason why the market is attaching its hitch to Nevada’s wagon. What we see is the better team with more emotion taking back a price.
This bowl features two teams going in opposite directions. Nevada ended the season in a non-cover to San Jose State and a straight-up loss to UNLV. Arkansas State won five of its last six games, only losing a 4-point game to ULL. Third-down conversions favor Arkansas State as well, ranking 40th in the nation while Nevada’s conversions percentage is 116th in FBS. In fact, we’re going to give an edge to the Red Wolves on both offense and defense.
Arkansas State has been practicing hard and brings a lot of emotion into this game, as the Red Wolves coach’s wife is battling breast cancer and is along for the trip. This is more than a football game for the Red Wolves and we also like that (head coach) Blake Anderson is in his fifth bowl while this is the first for Jay Norvell. That matters when teams are off for a month, as we saw with Cal’s Justin Wilkens against TCU where the Golden Bears looked like it was their first football game ever for 60 plus minutes. This is not only a play on emotion and coaches experience in an evenly priced game, but it’s also a play on the superior team. State outright is the call.
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Arkansas State +109 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.18)