2015 NCAAF Bowl-Saturday games preview Part 1

Arizona VS New Mexico

– The Pac-12 and Mtn. West Conference will collide Saturday in Albuquerque at the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. As of Thursday, most betting shops had Arizona (6-6 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) installed as an 8.5-point favorite with a total of 65. The line was 9.5 at most spots on Tuesday, but the number has been slowly sliding down since then. The Lobos were +325 on the money line (risk $100 to win $325) earlier in the week, but that number was down to +300 by Thursday. For first-half wagers, the Wildcats were favored by 4.5 points with a total of 33 points.

– New Mexico (7-5 SU, 6-6 ATS) is in the postseason for the first time since 2007 and this will be the bowl debut for Bob Davie in his fourth season at the helm. The Lobos won three of their last four games both SU and ATS, with all three victories coming from the role as double-digit underdogs. They beat Utah State 14-13 as 20.5-point home underdogs before taking over the smurf turf and capturing a 31-24 win at Boise State as 31-point puppies.

– UNM’s defense gave up 638 total yards of offense to the Broncos, but it forced four turnovers and was able to get stops on three fourth-down attempts by BSU. Jhurell Pressley rushed nine times for 132 yards and one TD for the winners. QB Austin Apodaca completed 8-of-12 throws for 172 yards, while QB Lamar Jordan ran for a 19-yard TD and completed his only pass attempt for 46 yards.

– After beating BSU, UNM lost a 28-21 decision to Colorado State as a three-point home underdog. However, the Lobos bounced back in the regular-season finale to top Air Force 47-35 as 11-point home ‘dogs. Pressley exploded for 170 rushing yards and three TDs on 17 carries, while Jordan ran 12 times for 68 yards and one TD. Jordan also threw for 135 yards.

– New Mexico won outright in five of seven home games this year, going 3-4 ATS. However, we should note that UNM went 2-1 both SU and ATS in three games as a home puppy. During Davie’s four-year tenure, the Lobos are 5-9 ATS in 14 games as home ‘dogs.

– After racing out to a 5-2 start, Rich Rodriguez’s squad lost four of its last five games, including a 52-37 defeat at Arizona State as a six-point underdog in the regular-season finale. After the regular-season finale, Rodriguez’s name was linked to multiple jobs and he definitely interviewed for the South Carolina gig. According to reports and a tweet from Arizona AD Greg Byrne, Rodriguez declined an offer from the Gamecocks.

– Arizona’s defense has been a disaster, finishing No. 114 in total yards (463.2 YPG) and No. 106 in scoring defense (35.7 PPG). This unit had to play nearly the entire season without junior MLB Scooby Wright, who was a first-team All-American and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2014. Wright injured his foot in September and played in only two regular-season games. However, he is expected to return and play on Saturday. He finished last season with 14 sacks and 29 tackles for loss.

– Arizona star RB Nick Wilson won’t be available on Saturday, however. Wilson, who rushed for 1,375 yards and 16 TDs while garnering third-team All Pac-12 honors as a true freshman in 2014, missed three games this year and was given only six carries in each of the last three games he played. Wilson finished 2015 with a team-best 736 rushing yards for eight TDs with a 5.5 yards-per-carry average.

– Arizona is going bowling for a fourth straight season under Rodriguez, who has led the Wildcats to a 2-1 SU record and a 1-2 ATS mark in three postseason games. In 2012, UA failed to cover in a 49-48 win over Nevada at the New Mexico Bowl. Two years ago, the Wildcats smashed Boston College 42-19 as seven-point favorites at the AdvoCare V100 Bowl. Then last season, they dropped a 38-30 decision to Boise State as three-point ‘chalk’ at the Fiesta Bowl.

– Arizona’s offense is led by sophomore QB Anu Solomon, who missed the regular-season finale at Arizona State with a head injury. He also missed most of the 56-30 home loss to UCLA after leaving the game early with a concussion. Nevertheless, Solomon completed 63.0 percent of his passes for 2,326 yards with an 18/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He ran for 186 yards and two scores. For his career, Solomon has a stellar 46/13 TD-INT ratio.

– Arizona posted a 2-0 spread record in a pair of road ‘chalk’ situations this year. During Rodriguez’s tenure, the Wildcats are 5-2 ATS as road favorites.

– UNM’s last bowl appearance came in this same event in 2007 when it blasted Nevada 23-0 as a 2.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The Lobos had lost four straight bowl games prior to that, including the 2006 New Mexico Bowl to San Jose State (20-12) as three-point favorites.

– The ‘over’ cashed at a 9-3 overall clip for Arizona this year, hitting in each of its last two regular-season games. The Wildcats saw their games average combined scores of 72.4 points per game.

– The ‘under’ went 7-5 overall for UNM, but the ‘over’ hit at a 4-3 clip in its home outings. The Lobos have seen their games average combined scores of 56.3 PPG. They saw the ‘under’ go 4-1 in their last five contests.

– Kickoff is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

December 19, 2015 by : Posted in College Football No Comments

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