Mountain West Football: Bowl Season Odds Released
What do Las Vegas’s early betting lines have to say about Mountain West football’s bowl matchups?
Where would you put your money?
With six more games on the horizon in the coming weeks, Las Vegas is already on top of things with the release of early betting lines for bowl season.
All lines taken from OddsShark, as of Tuesday morning on 12/14.
Saturday, Nov. 15
Gildan New Mexico Bowl – North Texas vs. Utah State (-11)
Considering that this game features the highest-scoring offenses in the Mountain West and Conference USA, the initial gap seems surprising. Bettors might be on this already, though, as this opening line has already shifted to 10 and 9 1/2 at different books.
That would appear to be good news for the Aggies, since UNT’s defense gave up quite a few points in conference play down the stretch. Utah State is already 9-3 against the spread on the year, so the lower the line gets, the easier the call gets to bet the favorite.
Put some money on Utah State, then put a little more on the over — it’s 66 or 66 1/2, depending on where you look — and forget about it.
Mitsubishi Las Vegas Bowl – Fresno State (-4.5) vs. Arizona State
N’Keal Harry’s absence from this game hasn’t yet had much influence on the line, but it’ll be interesting to see which way bettors are swayed now that the Sun Devils will be without their number one playmaker.
On the whole, however, this seems a fair line because ASU won’t be helpless without him. They rank in the middle of the Pac-12 in plays of 20-plus yards and it was Eno Benjamin, their star running back, who did most of that heavy lifting with 14 plays of more than 20 yards.
I’d probably still recommend laying the points with Fresno State, but I’m a lot less confident about that for the moment.
Wednesday, Nov. 19
DXL Frisco Bowl – San Diego State vs. Ohio (-3)
It makes a whole lot of sense that Vegas would see these two teams as even on a neutral field. The Bobcats led the MAC in scoring offense, averaging over 40 points per game, but the Aztecs finished second in the Mountain West by allowing just 21.8 points per game.
We all know, too, that SDSU has played a lot of close games this fall, but that hasn’t been much comfort to bettors: The Aztecs are just 3-9 against the spread. Perhaps more so than any other Mountain West bowl game, this seems like the matchup where a lot of people will throw their hands up in frustration.
If I had to pick a side right now, I’d put my faith in Nathan Rourke and the Bobcats. Watch this be a game decided by four points now.
Saturday, December 22
SoFi Hawaii Bowl – Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii (-2.5)
Another matchup between two teams that Vegas sees as even, and it makes sense. Hawaii hasn’t played much defense this year, allowing 36.5 points per game in conference play, which might be good news for a Louisiana Tech team whose own offense (22.8 PPG in CUSA play) could use that shot in the arm.
However, neither team has been very kind to bettors this year. The Bulldogs are just 6-6 against the spread, Hawaii is 4-7-2. Personally, though, I’d bet hard on the Warriors offense to figure things out.
Wednesday, December 26
Servpro First Responder Bowl – Boston College vs. Boise State (-2.5)
Do we have a potential defensive chess match on our hands here? Alexander Mattison and A.J. Dillon will bring the star power on offense, but BC allowed just 26 points per game in ACC action while Boise State gave up just 22.2 PPG in conference play.
Furthermore, the Eagles had 26 takeaways to Boise State’s 24, too, but I like the Broncos’ offensive potential, their ability to at least keep Boston College at bay by 4-7 points, enough to place my faith in them.
Saturday, December 29
Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl – Arkansas State vs. Nevada (PK)
Just imagine Danny DeVito in Space Jam saying “interesting” right here. The line has already shifted a little bit toward the Red Wolves, perhaps owing to the recent news about McLane Mannix’s departure from the program, but it still only amount to Arkansas State -1 for the moment.
Perhaps not coincidentally, both teams have been hard for bettors to rely upon this fall. The Red Wolves and the Wolf Pack both finished 6-6 against the spread, so it comes down to which side you like more. If you’re asking me, I’ll take Nevada’s ability to create big plays and if there’s an opportunity to get points along with it, all the better.