A couple of teams snapping bowl droughts kick off college football's bowl season as the Colorado State Rams and Washington State Cougars meet in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, December 21.
The last five New Mexico Bowls have played OVER on the betting totals; might we expect a shootout when coach Mike Leach's Cougars go against the Rams?
Both these teams have also been kind to their financial backers this season.
Point spread: Cougars opened as 3-point favorites; the total was 64.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 35.1-27.6 Rams
Why Washington State can cover the spread
It only took two seasons for Coach Leach to get the Cougars back to a bowl, ending a decade-long drought. The Cougars won two of their last three games to get to 6-6 and nearly got to .500 in Pac-12 play, finishing at 4-5.
Their best wins came at USC back in September, breaking an eight-game losing streak to the Trojans, and at Arizona a few weeks ago.
Also, one of Wazzu's losses came on opening weekend at Auburn, a 31-24 decision in which they outgained the BCS championship game-bound Tigers by 70 yards. On the season, the Cougars are a moneymaking 9-3 against the spread and remained steady as favorites on the New Mexico Bowl odds menu at Odds Shark.
Why Colorado State can cover the spread
It only took two seasons under coach Jim McElwain for the Rams to snap a four-year bowl drought. CSU started 2-4 this season but won five of its last seven to finish at 7-6 and 5-3 in Mountain West play.
The Rams didn't beat anybody of any particular note this season, but in their toughest game of the year at two-time defending national champion Alabama back in September, they only trailed the Tide 17-6 going into the fourth quarter and easily covered as 40-point dogs. Colorado State has also been one of the better teams to bet on this year, going 9-4 ATS.
The Odds Shark computer is picking the upset here.
Washington State, of course, moves the ball mainly through the air, averaging 365 passing yards per game. The Rams, on the other hand, are much more balanced, averaging better than 200 YPG both rushing and passing.
Colorado State also might hold a bit of an edge with its defense, which got better as the season progressed.
The Cougars played one of the toughest schedules in the country this season. That's probably why they're favored by so much. But this game should be closer than that. The underdog Rams plus the points looks like the play here.
- Past five bowl games went OVER total
- Washington State on a 10-2 ATS run dating back to last season
- Colorado State is 9-3 ATS past 12 games
- First WSU bowl game since 2003