Ohio vs Nevada – Idaho Potato Bowl Pick – January 3rd

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for… In the blue corner, with a record of 6-6, the Bobcats of Ohio. And fighting out of the red corner, with a record of 7-5, the Nevada Wolf Pack.

The Idaho Potato Bowl is this Friday! What? Distracted by all of the intriguing NFL Playoff matchups and the Wild Card games of this weekend or looking forward to the Trevor Lawrence vs Joe Burrow National Championship Game?

Hey, I feel ya but Ohio and Nevada don’t play each other every year. This is a big one! We need a win too, so let’s break this one down with the attention to detail of a surgical scholar.

The spread is currently at 8 points with the Ohio Bobcats sitting at a 3 to 1 favorite on the moneyline. The latter will be hard to touch but there may be some value on the minus 8. I’m looking at yards per play over the season for each team and I’m seeing quite the disparity.

Now, you don’t have to watch this game but I believe you should bet on it.

Ohio might run away with this thing but I don’t care if it’s an instant classic, staring at that eyesore of a blue field in Boise is something I refuse to do.

Let the great state of Idaho host the national championship or even the Super Bowl. I’m not watching. Fields are green. We should keep them that way.

Unless, of course, you are Sting and in that case, you’re golden.

Betting odds provided to us today by the lovely folks over at BetOnline.ag. Let’s get to the betting odds and predictions for the Idaho Potato Bowl Ohio and Nevada.

Spread:

  • Ohio -8 (-115)
  • Nevada +8 (-105)
Money line:

  • Ohio -305
  • Nevada +245
Total Points:

  • Over 56.5 (-110)
  • Under 56.5 (-110)

Just beginning my research here and I am confronted with some significant statistical polarities.

First, yards per play: Ohio averages 6.4.

This is good enough for 12th in the nation behind some really good schools including Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Clemson, and Ohio State.

The Nevada Wolf Pack out of Reno, conversely, are atrocious in this all-important category at 115th in the country with 4.7 yards per play.

In Ohio’s last three games, they have been particularly prolific averaging over 8 yards per play. That’s best in all of college football over the past three.

The Ohio Bobcats love to pound the football too. They aren’t doing all of this through the air. 58% of their offensive plays are runs.

Maybe Nevada is well equipped to stop the run, though… The Wolf Pack allows 4.3 yards per rush which ranks 63rd in college football.

That’s decent but Ohio runs for a clip of 5.3 each carry and over 200 yards per game on the ground. So, it looks like Ohio will be successful running the ball and likely eclipse the 200-yard marker.

Can Nevada stuff the box with 8 guys and rely on a stellar defensive backfield to defend the pass? Eh, not really.

Ohio averages 8.6 yards per pass which is top 20 in the nation while the Wolf Pack gives up 8.3. That puts them outside of the top 100 teams in the nation defending the air attack.

The two teams are even on paper in turnover differential, penalties per game, and special teams abilities. Seriously, though, all fingers are pointing towards Ohio smashing Nevada.

The Bobcats average 34 points a game which is pretty darn good and Nevada gives up 34 which, as you may have guessed, is pretty darn bad.

This is the gist I’m getting here.

Nevada doesn’t do anything exceptionally well. Their defense is pretty bad. They got destroyed on more than one occasion this season. I don’t really think this team deserves to be in a bowl game.

They even lost to their rivals in Vegas, the UNLV Running Rebels. 54-3 loss to Hawaii… 31-3 loss to Wyoming… 77-6 to Oregon…

Their biggest win was 17-13 over the San Diego State Aztecs a few weeks ago.

If you’re not convinced already, look at third down conversion rates over the course of the season for each school.

50% vs 35%! Good for 5th in the country and 97th…

The Bobcats have lost 4 of their 6 L’s by a margin of 3 or fewer points. I just don’t see this one even being close.

Did I mention that the Nevada Wolf Pack’s already weak defense will be without 3 starters who are suspended after fighting in the game against UNLV? Yea, there’s that.

The over bet is tempting but the Wolf Pack might be mentally broken early on and not even score in the double digits.

I’m telling you guys. This one will not be pretty… And I’m not just talking about the ugly field either.

The Bet
OHIO -8
-115

In Conclusion

Who could forget about the Idaho Potato Bowl?! I sure haven’t.

I may forget to watch it but I promise you this, I will not forget to bet on it.

A team that can move the ball in such giant chunks like the Bobcats will not be slowed down by a defense who has given up massive chunks themselves all year long.

With the three players being suspended and the 50-35% differential in 3rd down conversion rate, I just cannot bring myself to show any love to Nevada here.

They have been playing great basketball the past few years but the football team clearly shouldn’t even be in the college football “postseason.”

I think Ohio is up two scores by midway of the second quarter and never looks back.

Final score: Ohio (45) – Nevada (17)

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Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.