Arizona Bowl 2020: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for Ball State vs. San Jose State

Jake RillFeatured Columnist IDecember 30, 2020

San Jose State quarterback Nick Starkel (17) plays against Boise State in an NCAA college football game for the Mountain West championship, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

It's already been an impressive season for San Jose State. The Spartans are 7-0 after they beat Boise State in the Mountain West Championship game for their first conference championship since they joined the Mountain West ahead of the 2013 season.

San Jose State takes on Ball State in the Arizona Bowl at Arizona Stadium in Tucson on Thursday afternoon. It'll be the Spartans' first appearance in a bowl game since they beat Georgia State in the 2015 Cure Bowl.

Ball State lost its season opener against Miami (Ohio), but it then won six straight games. The Cardinals' last victory was a 38-28 win over Buffalo in the MAC Championship game. Now, they're playing in their first bowl game since the 2014 GoDaddy Bowl. Ball State enters the Arizona Bowl with an 0-7 all-time record in bowl games.

Here's everything you need to know about this year's Arizona Bowl, along with some daily fantasy tips for the matchup.


Arizona Bowl Information

Date: Thursday, Dec. 31

Start Time: 2 p.m. ET


Live Stream: CBS Sports app



Spread: San Jose State (-9.5)

Over/Under: 64 points

Moneyline: San Jose State -360 (bet $360 to win $100); Ball State +270 (bet $100 to win $270)

Via DraftKings Sportsbook


Daily Fantasy Tips

Starkel's Experience Makes Him Top QB Play

Nick Starkel has had a long college career. The quarterback started at Texas A&M from 2016-18. Then, he spent a season at Arkansas in 2019 before transferring to San Jose State. The leader of the offense announced on Tuesday that he's returning in 2021.

Before that, Starkel is poised to have a big showing in the Arizona Bowl. He's coming off one of his best performances of the year, with 453 yards and three touchdowns in the Mountain West Championship game. Over seven games, he's passed for 1,906 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Ball State is allowing 441.7 total yards per game, including 295.9 through the air. That means Starkel should have no trouble airing it out to rack up yardage. And he's passed for multiple touchdowns in all but one of San Jose State's games, so expect him to do so again.

Starkel's college career has been an interesting one. The next chapter should be leading San Jose State to an Arizona Bowl victory with a big performance, one that makes him a desirable quarterback for daily fantasy.


Ball State's Evans Could Be Sleeper Play at RB

Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

Ball State will be without its leading rusher for the Arizona Bowl, as senior running back Caleb Huntley decided to opt out of the rest of the season prior to the MAC Championship game. That should give redshirt sophomore Tye Evans plenty of opportunities out of the backfield against San Jose State.

Evans has rushed for 344 yards and a touchdown in five games this season, with his lone score coming in a win over Western Michigan on Dec. 12. He followed that up with a strong showing against Buffalo in the MAC title game, where he had 18 carries for 94 yards.

The Spartans give up 109.7 rushing yards per game, and while that's not a ton, the Cardinals could end up having a decent day on the ground, especially if San Jose State tries to limit the passing attack. Evans has been a reliable performer when he's been on the field this season, and he should get plenty of touches in this matchup.

So, if you're needing a running back who could potentially break through with a big game, Evans is certainly worth consideration.


Deese's Touchdown Potential Makes Him Intriguing at TE

John Locher/Associated Press

If San Jose State is successful in the passing game, Starkel could get the ball to quite a few of his offensive playmakers. And that's likely to include senior tight end Derrick Deese Jr., who has five touchdowns in seven games this season.

Deese has gotten into the end zone in each of the Spartans' past two games. And after being held to one catch in three straight games, he broke through with his biggest showing of the year in the MAC Championship game, hauling in seven passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.

In the Arizona Bowl, Deese seems likely to keep his touchdown streak going, as he's had no trouble getting into the end zone against most defenses this season. And if he can carry over the momentum from San Jose State's last game, he could be poised for another big performance.

Although Deese's season yardage totals aren't the most impressive, don't be surprised if he has another big game, making him worthy of daily fantasy consideration.

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