This bowl matchup is a bit disappointing to say the least. Two Mountain West teams face off in the Arizona Bowl, a meeting the MWC isn’t too happy about. These teams didn’t play each other this year, but have plenty of experience against each other. Colorado State is a -3 point favorite (at Betonline Sportsbook) against Nevada.
While these schools didn’t play this year, they did meet in 2013 and 2014 with CSU winning and covering in both matchups. The Rams had too much offense in those Games and that was enough. Will that be the case again?
Colorado State had a solid year with new head coach Mike Bobo, finishing 7-5 overall. However, they struggled a bit against the better teams in the MWC. The Rams were throttled by Utah State, Boise State and San Diego State, never showing much fight. But at the least, picked up a couple wins against teams with winning records vs. Air Force and New Mexico. They closed the season with Four straight wins (three on the road) and at least have that going for them.
Nevada is kind of in the same boat with a 6-6 record, but only had one win against a winning team (New Mexico). Other than that, the Wolf Pack didn’t really do much to impress. Earlier in the year they lost at home to UNLV and then at Wyoming, two of the worst teams in the MWC. In addition, they closed the season with back-to-back road losses.
Nevada’s play has been uneven this year and there’s no reason to think they can win this Game.
But Colorado State’s weak spot is stopping the run and that’s one area Nevada excels at. The Wolf Pack have two running backs with over 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns on the year in James Butler and Don Jackson. It’s almost a given that those two will hit nearly 40 combined touches, as long as Nevada doesn’t fall behind early. The Rams give up more than 200 rushing yards per Game and 4.9 yards per carry, which will be a problem. Tyler Stewart has been fine in his first season as Nevada’s starting quarterback, but he’s not a guy to rely on if needed. That was seen in their last two losses to USU and SDSU.
Nevada also has an issue stopping the run, but Colorado State is a little more well rounded on offense. Still, Dalyn Dawkins and Izzy Matthews should get plenty of carries against a Wolf Pack defense that allows 4.8 yards per carry. But the Rams can at least move the ball through the air. Nick Stevens, also a first-year starting QB, hasn’t been great, but his 21 TDs has been enough for the most part. He’ll target stud wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who had his numbers split in half this season because of the change at quarterback.
Colorado State has the better overall team and Nevada lost too many Games to weaker teams to trust them in this situation. If the Rams can get out to an early lead, that may be all they need.
The favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings between these schools, while the under has hit in five straight between them. The Wolf Pack are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five Games overall, despite losing their last two. The Rams are 3-1 ATS in their last Four Games as favorites.
Really no edge to be found here either way. When in doubt, take the points which is wht we’ll be doing here, in what amounts to another “garbage bowl”.
Our Pick – Nevada +3