Nevada (-8.0) 35 UTAH ST. 30
Nevada has found their stride offensively and the Wolf Pack are now averaging 7.0 yards per play (against a schedule of average defensive teams that would allow 5.4 yppl to an average team) and figure to move the ball well against a sub-par Utah State defense that's 0.5 yppl worse than average in 4 games against Division 1A foes (6.0 yppl allowed to teams that would average 5.5 yppl against an average team) and has allowed an average of 36 points in 3 games against good offensive teams (Utah, Texas A&M, and BYU).
All 3 of those games were on the road and Utah State should play a bit better defensively at home, although my math model does project 35 points for the Wolf Pack in this game.
That probably won't be enough points for Nevada to cover an inflated spread that is based partly on Utah State's upset loss at New Mexico State last week. The Aggies actually out-gained New Mexico State 6.0 yards per play to 3.6 yppl in that game, so that result was simply random negative variance that has given us line value on the side of Utah State this week. Utah State should be able to keep up with Nevada given their huge edge when they have the ball.
The Aggies have been 0.5 yppl better than average offensively in 4 games against 1A teams, averaging 5.6 yppl against teams that would allow 5.1 yppl to an average attack, and Nevada's defense has allowed 6.2 yppl to teams that would combine for just 5.2 yppl against an average defensive team.
Even if you take out their horrible first game against Notre Dame (8.4 yppl allowed) the Wolf Pack would still rate at 0.8 yppl worse than average defensively. Utah State should score enough points to stay within striking range and I'll consider Utah State a Strong Opinion at +10 points or more.
Read more on my website www.drbobsports.com
I have 6 NCAA Best Bets and 6 NCAA Strong Opinions this week, and 1 NFL Best Bet and 1 NFL Strong Opinion!
Read an article about me in the Wall Street Journal