NCAAF Odds Preview, Cactus Bowl: West Virginia vs Arizona State
When Arizona State and West Virginia meet in the Cactus Bowl, two teams will be looking to reverse past stories of bowl game odds futility. The Sun Devils are only 2-4 straight up and 1-5 ATS in their last six bowl games, while the Mountaineers are 1-4 both straight up and against the spread in their last five games. On January 2, one of these teams will get on a winning streak. Arizona State is a 1.5-point favorite.
Why should you bet on West Virginia (+1.5)?
West Virginia is a solid middle-level team in the Big 12. They beat Texas, Kansas and Iowa State while falling to all of the teams above them. Their two-headed running attack (Shell and Smallwood) can run roughshod over the opposition, when the other side’s running defense is not all that great. Their defense only allowed an average of 23 points per game in a conference that features such high-powered offenses as Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Why should you take the Sun Devils (-1.5)?
Arizona State is also a mid-conference team, with losses to USC, Utah and Oregon — as well as Washington State and Texas A&M. Their defense was a little more forgiving, allowing 33 points per game. They do like to blitz, though, and they tallied 44 quarterback sacks on the season. That could disrupt the West Virginia rhythm and lead to poor decisions — and interceptions.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
West Virginia is notoriously dominant at home — and notoriously poor outside the state. They lost their last three bowl games, giving up at least 38 points in each of them. I like Arizona State to win in this one, prevailing 34-17.