Arkansas State -1.5 (o/u 57.5) vs Nevada
After a 4-4 start to the season, Arkansas State rattled off 4 straight wins against the Sun Belt conference’s bottom-dwellers to finish 2nd in the West Division and qualify for a bowl appearance. While the competition may have been suspect, Red Wolves QB Justice Hansen put up some really strong numbers. He completed 67% of his passes for 3,172 yards and 27 TDs with only 6 interceptions. He also ran for another 6 TDs on the ground. The reality is the offense was very efficient, showing good balance and the ability to stay away from costly turnovers. Arkansas State’s defense was very tough against the pass to finish 12th in the NCAA for yards allowed passing (175.9 YPG), though not really playing any good passing teams.
The Nevada Wolf Pack also finished the season with verve as they won 4 of its last 5 games to secure a spot in the post season. Mid-season losses at home to Mountain West Conference powerhouses Fresno State and Boise State made it clear Nevada was a cut below the best. However, they did manage to win the games they were expected to win. The offense was almost a mirror image of today’s opponent. A passing attack that ranked 39th in the NCAA with more than 285 YPG was led by QB Ty Gangi, who passed for 3,131 yards and 23 touchdowns with 11 interceptions. The rest of the offensive unit was steady enough to help Nevada average 32.3 PPG. The defense struggled a bit to keep opponents out of the red zone but did well to keep them out of the endzone.
Prediction: This one figures to be a very close contest. Neither offense is particularly explosive, which means fans can expect conservative play-calling. The only advantage either of these teams has over the other is Arkansas State might have a better defense. With that said, Nevada played against superior competition. Play Nevada +1.5