This year’s Las Vegas Bowl will feature the Fresno State Bulldogs facing the Herm Edwards led Arizona State Sun Devils.
The Las Vegas Bowl is one of several bowl games in which a prominent player has chosen to skip a bowl game and prepare for the NFL Draft. Yet, while you consider that, also realize that bowls are always very unpredictable situations in which motivation level, the unfamiliarity of the opponents, and coaching transitions enter into play.
Las Vegas Bowl Betting Analysis
The Arizona State Sun Devils will be without their best receiver in this game. N’Keal Harry could do just about anything a receiver is expected to do for Arizona State. He caught short passes and turned them into longer games. He caught long passes even when the defence was expecting a long pass. He won jump balls in the air with his long and muscular frame. He used his route running ability to get separation from defenders. He is a very strong NFL prospect… and he will prepare for the NFL Draft instead of playing in this bowl game. That is the big betting angle to note for the Sun Devils.
The Fresno State betting angle worth noting is that the Bulldogs played a game on Dec. 1, whereas Arizona State last played on Nov. 24. Arizona State has more rest, but Fresno State was basically able to take one week off, then practice and prepare for its final game of the season. Will Fresno State’s rhythm or Arizona State’s extra rest become a bigger advantage in this game?
Fresno State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs played a terrible game at Minnesota on Sept. 8 which they lost. They did not look very good in the first three games they played this season. Then they began to take off, hammering Toledo, 49-27 in Week 5. Their defence then dominated, allowing only 36 points in the next five games, all of them decisive victories. Fresno State’s defence hasn’t allowed more than 27 points in any game this season.
The only time in October or November when Fresno State allowed more than 17 points was on Nov. 9 in a 24-17 loss at Boise State. They have allowed 14.3 points per game in its last three contests. The Bulldogs won the Mountain West championship by defeating Boise State in a rematch of the November game, 19-16 in overtime. They finished the regular season 11-2 under head coach Jeff Tedford.
Arizona State Sun Devils
The Sun Devils went 7-5 this season. They defeated Michigan State early in the season, but Michigan State did not turn out to be nearly as good as many expected. Arizona State became a team which played the majority of its games close to the vest. They won four games by three points or fewer, and they lost four games by seven points, a fifth game by two points. They won three games by 18 or more points, one of them against a smaller school, Texas-San Antonio. The other blowout win came against Oregon State, one of the worst teams in college football and easily the worst team in the Pac-12 this season.
ASU generally plays close games and depends on its defence. This is why the N’Keal Harry departure is hard to ignore as a big factor in this game. Arizona State’s most recent game was a rivalry win over Arizona, 41-40. The defence did not play well, but quarterback Manny Wilkins led a 20-point fourth quarter surge to overcome a 40-21 deficit. Both teams’ most recent games were thrilling wins. Motivation should be a wash in this game, as should coaching. There are no major coaching transitions on either staff.