Ohio Bobcats vs. Nevada Wolf Pack Pick 1/3/20

by | Jan 3, 2020 | cfb

Ohio Bobcats (6-6 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. Nevada Wolf Pack (7-5 SU, 5-6-1 ATS)

When: Friday, Jan. 3, 3:30 p.m.

Where: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID

TV: ESPN

Point Spread: OHIO -8.5/NEV +8.5 (5Dimes - Bet on games at -105 instead of -110! HUGE $ Saver!)

Total: O/U 59

Outlook

The end of the schedule couldn’t have worked out more perfectly for Ohio, which got to play two of the weakest teams in the MAC to close out the season and blasted them both, routing Akron 52-3 and Bowling Green 66-24 to earn their ticket to Boise for this bowl game. Now the schedule might be working out in the Bobcats’ favor again by giving Ohio a matchup with Nevada, which is reeling after losing some of its defensive coaches and losing four defensive players from a defensive unit that already wasn’t that good. Three of the four players are suspended for the game and one, Gabriel Sewell, will play in the second half, as punishment for a brawl with rival UNLV in the season finale. As such, Ohio is seen as being in much better shape than Nevada, despite the Bobcats having to travel across the country to Idaho, as opposed to the Wolf Pack making the short trip north.

How the Public is Betting the Ohio/Nevada Game

The line has ticked up from -7 to -8.5 for Ohio, in large part because of the personnel changes for Nevada. The total has also moved up a point and a half, jumping to 59 from a 57.5 open.

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Injury Concerns

Ohio:
Wide receivers Tyler Tupa, Jerome Buckner, and Shane Hooks, are all facing undisclosed injuries and are all questionable.

Nevada:
Wide receiver Romeo Doubs is questionable with a shoulder injury, while offensive lineman Jake Nelson is questionable after recovering from a broken elbow, and linebacker Lucas Weber is questionable with an ankle issue. Defensive back Daniel Brown, defensive back Austin Arnold, and defensive tackle Hausia Sekona are suspended for their roles in a brawl with UNLV, while linebacker Gabriel Sewell is suspended for the first half for his role in a fight with UNLV.

When Ohio Has the Ball

The Bobcats are now old hats at this, having qualified for five straight bowl games and won their past two. What makes Ohio so challenging to stop is that the Bobcats trust their offense and run it well, and they have a quarterback in Nathan Rourke, who knows exactly how to get the most out of Frank Solich’s system. To date, Rourke has accounted for 32 of the Bobcats’ touchdowns and is just as adept at making plays with his legs as he is with his arm. Not only has he had a fine senior season, but he’s the Ohio career leader in passing efficiency and ranks second in program history in both rushing and passing touchdowns.

But much like the great Nebraska offenses of the past that Solich used to be the offensive coordinator for, the Bobcats are more than their quarterback. O’Shaan Allison has been the Bobcats’ best yardage back with 823 rushing yards, while De’Montre Tuggle is Ohio’s main man at finding the end zone, having scored 10 of Ohio’s 33 rushing touchdowns on the season.

When Nevada Has the Ball

What does a bell-cow running back offense look like when the bell cow isn’t really all that great? Something like Nevada’s offense, truthfully. The Wolf Pack hand the ball to Toa Taua on a regular basis, but Taua only averages 4 yards a carry and has just six touchdowns despite getting 190 carries for the season. That leaves the job of moving the ball to quarterback Carson Strong, and while Strong is accurate, he’s not all that efficient at making points happen. He only has ten touchdowns against seven interceptions, and he might be down one of his two best receivers for this game. That will put a large amount of pressure on Elijah Cooks, Nevada’s top receiver, who managed 62 catches and seven touchdowns on the season. Ohio will likely focus a lot of attention on him, making it critical for someone else to step up. However, no other Wolf Pack receiver besides Doubs has more than 350 receiving yards this season.

Betting Trends

Death, taxes, and Frank Solich covering the spread in a bowl game. Ohio has covered the number in each of its past four trips to the postseason and has covered in five of its past six contests at a neutral site. However, the Bobcats do have one cause for concern: they don’t often go to bowl games as the favorite, and they tend to struggle as the favorite. Nevada, on the other hand, is right at home in its role as the underdog. The Wolf Pack have covered in three of four as a dog, and they’re 3-1-1 ATS in their past five bowls.

As for the total, Nevada has been pretty stingy in its past seven bowl games, with the “under” going 6-1 against the O/U line. However, only one of those games has occurred since 2015, and Nevada hasn’t been known for its defense since then.

Weather Report

This won’t be great weather, but considering it’s Idaho in January, it could be a lot worse. It’ll be 44 in the City of Trees.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Nevada looks like a mess right now, and while Ohio is here because of a weak end of the schedule, it’s a good offense that knows how to put up a lot of points. Nevada doesn’t look like it’s going to be able to keep the Bobcats from scoring, and if you can’t keep this Ohio team from scoring, you’re simply not going to have much success against them. Ohio’s offense is too good for an opponent to be able to trust its defense entirely, and that’s what Nevada will have to do. With our college football picks winding down, be sure to check out our college hoops picks! We’re good!