Alamo Bowl Handicapping Preview: Arizona Wildcats vs Oklahoma State Cowboys

Arizona Wildcats vs Oklahoma State Cowboys
Wednesday, 12/29/10, 9:15 PM EDT, TV:  ESPN
Opening Point Spread:  Oklahoma State -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Oklahoma State -4.5
Opening Total:  64
Current Total:  66

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are 10-0 ATS as a 3.5 to 10 point favorite entering the Alamo Bowl

Arizona enters the Alamo Bowl seeking answers after suffering a four-game losing streak to end the season.  The Wildcats are one of only four bowl-eligible teams from the Pac-10 and two of those squads are going to the BCS.  The Alamo Bowl is in its first year of an agreement with the conference and had its first pick of conference teams after the BCS and had to choose between Arizona and Washington.  “We know that with our strong Arizona connections to Texas, as well as a program like Oklahoma State on the other side, that there will be a lot of support from the University of Arizona family,” said athletic director Greg Byrne.  “It’s going to be a great time for the team and all of us connected to the university.”  The team is known for a high-octane offense that average 445.2 yards per game, second-best in school history.  Arizona is 6-5 ATS as an underdog the last three years and currently getting points on the college football lines page.

The Wildcats will be led into this contest by junior quarterback Nick Foles, who passed for nearly 3,000 yards this season despite missing two and a half games with a dislocated knee cap in October.  He will be looking to connect with junior wide receiver Juron Criner, entering Wednesday night’s contest with 73 receptions for 1,186 yards and 10 touchdowns.  Eight players have 20 or more receptions in the passing game.  The offensive unit will also hammer away at opponents with a run game that averaged 135 yards on the ground this season.

Oklahoma State will close the 2010 football season tonight and enter with a 10-2 overall record, while earning a share of its first Big 12 South championship with a 6-2 conference mark.  The team closed the regular season with a disappointing 47-41 loss to in-state rival Oklahoma, which kept the school out of the Big 12 championship game.  “I told the team that, as difficult as this loss is, this needs to be a learning experience for them,” said head coach Mike Gundy.  “I was very proud of our team and the way they competed.  I just hate that they came up a little bit short.”  Despite the loss, Oklahoma State has already made school history by winning at least nine games in three straight seasons.  The squad is a perfect 10-0 ATS as a favorite of 3.5 to 10 points the last three years.

The Cowboys are aiming to become the first team in school history to win 11 games, which many believe will provide the proper motivation to move past the regular-season finale.  Oklahoma State led the nation with 537.6 yards of total offense per game and scored at least 33 points in all but one game.  The team will be making its school-record fifth straight bowl appearance and its eighth in nine seasons.  Oklahoma State has compiled a 12-8 all-time record in bowls and 2-2 under the direction of Gundy.

Bettors will be interested in the Wildcats being 3-0 ATS in non-conference games this year, while the Cowboys are 40-16-2 ATS as a favorite.

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