The 2012 bowl season gets under way Saturday afternoon (1pm ET) with the New Mexico Bowl from University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM featuring the Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5) out of the Mountain West Conference and the Arizona Wildcats (7-5) out of the Pac-12 Conference. Both teams struggled to close out the season after strong starts to the season with Nevada coming out of the gate with a 6-1 record, and Arizona dropping their finale to in-state rival Arizona St., preventing them from finishing with a winning conference record. Nevada is 3-9 ATS this season and the Wolf Pack has failed to cover is seven of their last eight games. Arizona is 6-6 ATS this year and covered in only one of their last four games this season.
The Nevada offense ranks 20th among FBS teams with 37 points per game scored on average and 11th in the nation in total offense with 502.8 yards per game. Defense has been the Achilles heel for the Wolf Pack, as they have allowed 32.5 PPG (96th among FBS teams) and 431.2 YPG to rank 89th nationally in total defense.
Arizona has averaged 37.2 PPG on offense to rank 17th in the nation in scoring offense, and an impressive 521.8 YPG of total offense to rank 7th in the nation in that category. Defensively it has been another story for Coach Rich Rodriguez’s crew, as the Wildcats rank 103rd among FBS teams in scoring defense with 34.2 PPG allowed and 120th among FBS teams in total defense with 485.7 YPG allowed. Arizona has fielded a horrendous secondary in the pass-happy PAC-12, and ranks 121st among FBS teams with 295.9 YPG allowed through the air.
Nevada vs. Arizona Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Nevada Wolf Pack +9.5
@ Arizona Wildcats -9.5
Over 75.5 (-110)
Under 75.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Nevada vs. Arizona Pick:
Nevada has a 2-8-1 record ATS in their last 11 non-conference games, a 1-7-1 record ATS in their last 9 games against teams with a winning record and a 1-7 record ATS in their last 8 games overall. The Wildcats are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games against a team with a winning record and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against teams from the Mountain West. The under is 5-1 in Nevada’s last 6 bowl games, 4-1 in their last 5 neutral site games and 5-2 in their last 7 non-conference games. The over is 4-1 in the Wolf Pack’s last 5 games against PAC-12. The over is 7-1 in Arizona’s last 8 games overall, 21-7 in their last 28 games on grass and 5-0 in their last 5 games against teams with a winning record.
These are two of the most prolific offenses in the country, especially in terms of the running game, with both teams ranking in the top 15 among FBS teams in rushing offense with Nevada averaging 260 YPG (7th nationally) and Arizona averaging 230.4 YPG (15th nationally). With both teams also possessing two of the worst defenses in the country, especially against the run, this should without question be a shootout. The Wildcats do not play in low-scoring games, with only one of their last eight games coming in under. Take the over in this game, in what should be an exciting game that will get the bowl season off to a flying start.
PICK = Over 75.5