Missouri Tigers At Nevada Wolf Pack Preview And Pick

BangTheBook .comContributor ISeptember 25, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 5: Danario Alexander #81 of the University of Missouri Tigers hauls in a pass against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the State Farm Arch Rivalry on September 5, 2009 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Tigers beat the Fighting Illini 37-9.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

NCAA Football Betting Preview by Jay of BangTheBook.com
Missouri Tigers (3-0) at Nevada Wolf Pack (0-2)
Friday September 25th, 9:00PM Eastern

Bookmaker opening line – Missouri -7, 60 O/U

The Nevada Wolf Pack have had a rough few weeks to the start of their season dropping their first two games on the road. However, the Wolf Pack are determined to get the season turned around when they host the Missouri Tigers from the Big 12 this Friday night.

The two teams met last season, but it was not a pretty football game as the Tigers tanked the Wolf Pack 69-17 in Columbia. However, the Tigers are preparing for a much bigger test this time around as Nevada will be hungry to score their first victory of the season in front of the home crowd.

Nevada has already suffered two losses this season dropping to Notre Dame and Colorado State. The Wolf Pack was actually shut out by the Fighting Irish 35-0 before losing 35-20 to the Rams. The biggest problem thus far in the year has been the defense. The Wolf Pack have allowed just less than 900 yards of total offense in just two games and that is against offenses that could be considered just average. The Wolf Pack defense has yet to force a turnover and ranking towards the bottom of the conference in all major statistical categories.

The defense will have to play better this Friday night if they are to avoid any blowout losses similar to last year’s battle. The main focus will be on the pass defense since Missouri is one of the pass happy teams from the Big 12 that loves to move the ball through the air and it will be interesting to see if Nevada will be up to the challenge. The Wolf Pack defense ranked in the bottom of the WAC in all defensive categories last season and they have not shown things will change thus far in 2009.

The Wolf Pack has allowed at least 30 points scored in each of their games and that may be tested again against the Tigers offense. The defense is an experienced group, but have just not had the results needed. The Wolf Pack gave up over 300 yards against the pass last season and their concerns in the secondary have continued.

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Entering the season quarterback Colin Kaepernick was coming off a big sophomore campaign and was expecting to have another brilliant season. Kaepernick threw for 2,849 yards while rushing for another 1,100 plus on the ground. The dual threat behind center gave some Wolf Pack fans breakout type expectations.

However, the Nevada offense has been running in place. The team is only averaging 107 yards per game as a team and only 133 per game through the air. To make matter worse, Kaepernick has thrown four interceptions and only one touchdown. The Wolf Pack was expecting much better results this season. They should be able to make some things happen this Friday night. The Wolf Pack will likely spread the ball and pick some gaps to move the ball on the ground, but if they don’t find a way to score more points it could be another long day.

Missouri is off to a quick 3-0 start, but they have not played any ranked teams so far this year so many people are still trying to figure out just how good the Tigers are. The Tigers have put up some points early in the year averaging 39 points per game.

Missouri is led by their passing offense that is averaging 276 yards per game through the air. QB Blane Gabbert has filled in well after Chase Daniel was among the best in the conference last season. Gabbert has thrown for 747 yards while completing a strong 68 percent of his passes. Even more impressing is the Tigers quarterback has thrown eight touchdowns and not a single interception.

If Gabbert continues to throw touchdowns without turning the ball over, the Tigers could have a bigger year than many expected around the Big 12. The biggest assets to the offensive may lie in the senior wide outs. WR Jared Perry and WR Danario Alexander have combined for over 550 yards and six touchdowns on the season. Alexander is the biggest target standing at 6'5" making him very difficult to defend.

However, Perry has experienced the most production this season averaging just less than 20 yards per catch and also leads the team with four touchdowns. It may be no surprise that the Big 12 represented team is run by a talented passing attack, but the Tigers are also playing pretty solid defense. Their defense will be the difference and the reason this game could get ugly again this Friday night despite being on the road.

Football Pick – Missouri -7


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