The late game on this Monday night (10:15 pm ET) before New Year’s Eve features the 14th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (10-3) of the Pac-12 taking on the Texas Tech Red Raiders (7-5) of the Big 12 in the Holiday Bowl from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. Arizona St. lost to Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game 38-13 on December 7th, but the Sun Devils closed the regular season on a 7 game winning streak that followed their week 6, 37-34 loss to Notre Dame in Dallas. Texas Tech started the season red-hot, winning 7 in a row to open the campaign and rising to 10th in the national rankings. The Red Raiders then proceeded to fall apart, losing 5 in a row starting with a 38-30 week 9 loss to Oklahoma, and culminating with a 41-16 loss at Texas on Thanksgiving to close out the regular season. Both teams run spread offenses and play at an up-tempo pace.
Arizona St. ranks 29th nationally in total offense with 460.8 yards per game and 9th in scoring offense with 41 points per game. Quarterback Taylor Kelly has had a very productive season throwing for 3,510 yards with 28 TDs and 11 INTs for the Sun Devils who rank 28th nationally in passing offense with 276.8 YPG. Running back Marion Grice has run for 996 yards and 14 TDs, and receiver Jaelen Strong leads the team with 71 receptions for 1,094 yards and 7 TDs. ASU ranks 31st nationally in total defense with 363.8 YPG allowed and 57th in scoring defense with 25.8 PPG allowed.
Texas Tech ranks 9th nationally in total offense with 513.3 yards per game and 26th in scoring offense with 35.7 points per game. Quarterback Davis Webb has thrown for 2,315 yards with 16 TDs and 9 INTs for the Red Raiders who rank 2nd nationally in passing offense with 392 YPG. Tight end Jace Amaro has had a huge season as the top target for both Webb and the departing Baker Mayfield with 98 receptions for 1,240 yards and 7 TDs; wide receiver Eric Ward has added 80 receptions for 904 yards and 8 scores. The Red Raiders rank 82nd nationally in total defense with 419.1 YPG allowed and 89th in scoring defense with 31.2 PPG allowed.
Arizona St. vs. Texas Tech Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Arizona St. Sun Devils -14
@ Texas Tech Red Raiders+14
Over 71.5 (-110)
Under 71.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Arizona St. vs Texas Tech Pick
ASU has an 0-3 record in the Holiday Bowl, their most recent appearance was in 2007, a 52-34 loss to Texas. Arizona State won the teams’ only previous meeting, 31-13 in Tempe in September 1999. ASU is 13-12-1 all-time in bowl games, while Texas Tech has a 13-21-1 record in bowl games.
ASU had only lost to Stanford in Pac-12 play, winning 8 games in conference play by an average of 19.7 points, including victories over ranked Washington and UCLA squads. Texas Tech lost their last 4 regular season games by an average of 23.8 points, and allowed an average of 504.6 yards during their 5 losses, including 294.0 on the ground. The Red Raiders will be without the services of Mayfield, the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, who is transferring. ASU should have the services of Grice, who missed the last 2 games with a leg injury.
With Texas Tech’s last season implosion, the Red Raiders look like easy pickings for an Arizona St. team that can put up points on any team except Stanford, a top-20 defensive team. Texas Tech was just 1-3 against top-25 teams this season, while ASU was 3-2 with both losses coming against Stanford. A superior defense, dominant wins during the regular season and a much-better record against good teams make ASU a good bet to cover in this game. Take the Sun Devils and give the points.