A pair of 7-5 teams will kick off college football betting bowl season as Arizona and Nevada meet in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, and you could see a lot of points scored on Saturday afternoon.
Nevada Wolf Pack vs. Arizona Wildcats
Odds: Arizona -9.5
How The Wolf Pack Can Win
Nevada lost four of their last five down the stretch to stumble into the New Mexico Bowl, and they’re ranked 96th in the nation in points allowed, so offense is probably their best bet of winning their fifth bowl game in 13 chances. Stefphon Johnson is second in the country in rushing and he may have to carry the load for the Wolf Pack and keep Arizona’s formidable offense off the field. Nevada is seventh in the NCAA in rushing and 11th in total offense, and they may have to ride that into bowl season.
How The Wildcats Can Win
The Wildcats may actually have the same plan as they are seventh nationally in offense, but they’re more balanced than their Nevada counterparts, ranking 15th on the ground and 29th through the air. Ka’Deem Carey leads the country in rushing and a big game here could vault him to the top of the list in regards to next season’s Heisman odds. The Wildcats lost three straight early in the season, but they were against then-#3 Oregon in Eugene, then-#18 Oregon State at home and an overtime loss to then-#18 Stanford on the road. Even losses late in the season at UCLA and against their rivals from Arizona State at home shouldn’t be considered that bad.
Outlook & Pick
The Pac-12’s Wildcats are favored by 9.5 points as they’re going for their seventh win in 17 games, and they’ve lost two postseason games in a row. The Mountain West’s Wolf Pack has made one appearance in the New Mexico Bowl before as they were blanked by the University of New Mexico 23-0 back in 2007. Arizona has never participated in the New Mexico Bowl, but a win is well within their reach.
Arizona is slightly better against the run than Nevada, and that could be the difference on their way to a bowl victory. Carey is poised to have a monster of a game and if you hear that he ran for over 200 yards on Saturday, don’t be surprised. Even though ‘Zona is ranked 103rd in points scored, that ranking is misleading as they allowed 41 points or more in four of their five losses. Nevada may have to reach that point total in order to keep up with the Wildcats, who should be still a little upset at losing to Arizona State, which cost them a shot at a better bowl. This should be an exciting game with lots of points, but Arizona will eventually run away with the victory over Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl and cover the NCAA football betting spread.
College Football Betting Pick: Arizona -9.5