For another look at today’s bowl game, check out our brief video:
Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. Nevada Wolfpack
NCAAF: Saturday, December 29, 2018 at 1:15 PM EST
In the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl, 8-4 Arkansas State is a slight betting favorite facing Nevada. The Red Wolves ended the season well winning their last four games of the season and they finished in 2nd place in the Sun Belt West Division. In their four-game win streak to end the season, the Red Wolves played great on both sides of the ball averaging 36.5 ppg and only giving up an average of 13.5 ppg. Arkansas State was solid on offense and defense for the season, especially on offense where they ranked 21st in the nation in ppg.
Nevada had won four in a row before losing their last game of the season and they finished in 2nd place in the MWC West Division. The Wolfpack were legit on D in winning four in a row before giving up 34 points in their last game, which is a concern in this bowl game facing a solid offense of Arkansas State. Nevada ranks 52nd in the nation on defense and if their D does not show up in this bowl game the Red Wolves may light up the scoreboard.
These teams have not met since the 1999 season.
Offense gets it done again
In their last game of the regular season, Arkansas State won on the road, 33-7 over Texas State. In their last four games, they averaged 36.5 ppg. In the win over Texas State, the Red Wolves had 493 yards, including 217 rushing yards, and even in a blowout win they did give up 242 rushing yards, Justice Hansen passed for 276 yards with two TD and no INT and Kirk Merritt had a big game with 153 receiving yards. Hansen was the Sun Belt Player of the Year.
— Arkansas State Football (@AStateFB) November 29, 2018
Warren Wand rushed for 145 yards and a TD and that was his first +100 rushing yard game of the season. Arkansas State ranks 23rd in the nation in passing yards per game and 54th in rushing yards per game.
— Arkansas State Football (@AStateFB) December 28, 2018
Hansen passed for 3,172 yards with 27 TD and 6 INT on the season and in the Red Wolves four-game win streak to end the season he had 12 TD and no INT. Nevada ranks a respectable 34th in the nation defending the run, but only 84th defending the pass.
Hold onto the rock late
Nevada was on the road in their season finale, losing to UNLV 34-29 where they had two interceptions in the 4th quarter, which were costly. For the game, they had more yards (464-409) and had balance on offense, but they did give up 226 rushing yards and had three turnovers. Ty Gangi passed for 295 yards with two TD, but accounted for all three turnovers with three picks. He has a solid WR corps and RB Kelton Moore rushed for 129 yards in the loss to UNLV.
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) December 27, 2018
Gangi has to avoid the pick in this game and he has four INT in his last two games. Toa Taua led the Wolfpack in rushing yards on the season and after going for 121 yards on the ground in a Nevada win he only rushed for 30 yards on 11 carries in the loss to UNLV. The Pack will be facing a Red Wolves D that ranks 12th in the nation defending the pass, but only 102nd defending the run.
The Nevada Wolfpack are:
- 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a straight up loss
- 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games in December
The Arkansas State Red Wolves are:
- 2-6 ATS vs. a team with a winning record
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games
Updated on Dec 28 at 1:30pm EST
Update prepared by our editoral staff
Public Money / Line Movements
The public is betting on Nevada (53%) right now on the spread but 62% on the money line. The spread opened as a pick and has moved to Nevada -1.5. The total opened at 58.5 and moved down to 56.5.
Injury / Weather Report
The weather in Arizona is cooler than normal at 51 but sunny.
TE Javonis Isaac (thigh) is questionable. He has 12 catches for 210 yards and four TDs on the season.
no key injuries as of late.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Arkansas State won their last four games of the season while Nevada lost their season finale. The Red Wolves covered the spread in their last four games, but have failed to cover in their last four non-conference games. Nevada played a tougher schedule and they have depth and in this bowl game they will get the W and cover the spread snapping the Red Wolves’ win streak sending them back home with a bowl loss.
Prediction: PICK: Nevada
Full-Game Total Pick
Most of the betting trends for both of these teams point to the Under and that is the winning pick in this bowl game. I think both teams will try to run the ball early and often and there will not be much scoring, especially in the first half. Take the Under in this Arizona Bowl, which will be close game.
Prediction: PICK: Under