Arizona Bowl Pick – Ball State vs. San Jose State – 12/31/20

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The Arizona bowl will be played on New Years Eve at 2 pm est. and will feature the 6-1 Ball State Cardinals taking on the Undefeated at 7-0 San Jose State Spartans. San Jose opened as -7 point favorites and early action has diven that line to as high as -9.5. The total is 64.

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Every year in college football, we fall in love with a team or two. These are teams that are usually undervalued by the public, initially at least and teams that we see potential in early on. For us, in 2020, San Jose State was one such team.

Little Was Expected from Spartans

Early on, we saw a team with a solid defense that could run the ball. The Spartans were a team that wasn’t expected to do much in 2020, in off of a 5-7 2019 season, going just 2-6 in conference play.

What a difference a year can make. We used San Jose State as a Key Release a couple of times this year and tried to use them a couple of other times, but COVID got in the way.

The Spartans were not only undefeated straight up this year, they were also undefeated against the spread, going 6-0-1 against the number, winning all of their games by 10 points or more.

Great Year for Ball State Too!

Ball State had a fantastic season of their own. After dropping their first game in early November to Miami Ohio, they rattled of 6 straight wins and captured the MAC title with a 38-28 win over undefeated Buffalo.

Ball State’s season was unimpressive until that Buffalo win. Sure, they won games, but barely. They lost to Miami Ohio and barely got by Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois. Those are bad teams in an incredibly weak MAC.

But the Buffalo win was impressive. Buffalo dominated teams in the MAC this year and yet Ball State came away with the title. Can they do it again?

San Jose owns some nice wins. They beat Air Force, San Diego State, Nevada and Boise State. It’s certainly a more impressive resume than that of the Cardinals and again, all wins were by 10 points or more.

Is -10 Too High?

As much as we love this San Jose team, as this line inches towards -10, we may have to back away. Buffalo was similar to the Spartans. They ran the ball incredibly well and were stingy defensively. But they came up short against Ball State.

The Cardinals, by all accounts, are pumped to be here and won’t lack confidence or motivation.

Our model suggests the Spartans pull out a 30-22 win. Which would mean, no cover.

Our gut tells us San Jose is the better team with the higher quality wins and has all the tools needed to net themselves yet another win by 10+ points or more.

But that Ball State win over a dominant Buffalo team is standing there staring us in the face, suggesting the Cardinals are an extremely live dog.

Our Pick

For a selection on this game, we’ll instead look to the total. If San Jose State controls this game with their running game, which they figure to do, they’ll control the pace and the points on the scoreboard.

All of the Spartans games this year saw totals in the 50’s or less. So, we’ll make a slight recommendation on the under in this game, thinking that the running game and the defense figure prominently.

San Jose State/Ball State UNDER 64