College Football Betting Preview: Washington State Cougars at Nevada Wolf Pack

Washington State Cougars at Nevada Wolf Pack
Mackay Stadium – Reno, Nevada

Friday, September 5, 2014, 10:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Washington State -3
Current Line: Washington State -3 1/2
Opening Total: 64
Current Total: 67
Opening Money Line: Washington State -120 / Nevada +100
Current Money Line: Washington State -175 / Nevada +155

Washington State is a 3.5 point favorite at Nevada Friday night.
Washington State is a 3.5 point favorite at Nevada Friday night.

The Washington State Cougars and Nevada Wolf Pack meet for only the third time ever Friday night in Reno. Washington State both previous meetings including 55-21 in Reno in 2005. Nevada will make the return trip to Pullman in 2017 to complete the home and home.

Washington State is coming off a 41-38 loss in Seattle to Rutgers last week to open the season. Nevada had a less than impressive home win over FCS school Southern Utah 28-19.

Washington State is coached by Mike Leach. The Cougars were 7.5 point favorites against Rutgers last Thursday and the total was 61. The game was in Seattle but considered a home game for Washington State. Rutgers took a 21-17 lead into halftime. A 14-3 third quarter gave the Cougars a 31-24 lead going into the fourth. Rutgers scored 10 straight points to take 34-31 lead in the fourth. Washington State took a 38-34 lead with just over 8 minutes to go. Rutgers regained the lead at 38-34 with 3:24 left. Washington State couldn’t put together a final drive and turned the ball over on downs with less than a minute left. Rutgers took a knee to escape with the hard fought upset.

Washington State 538 total yards including 532 passing yards. Rutgers had 496 total yards including 215 rushing yards. Each team had 22 first downs. Rutgers was 7/15 on third and fourth down conversions and Washington State was 8/15. The Cougars had two turnovers and the Scarlet Knights had only one. The two teams combined for 17 penalties for almost 80 yards apiece.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday completed 40 of 56 passes for 532 yards with 5 touchdowns and an interception. Vince Mayle had 12 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. Isiah Myers, Rickey Galvin, and River Cracraft each had at least 84 receiving yards and caught a touchdown pass. Myers had two touchdowns.

Nevada is coached by Brian Polian. The Wolf Pack were 24.5 point favorites against Southern Utah and the total was 47.5. Nevada could only manage a first half touchdown to take a 7-0 lead into the locker room. Nevada would score again the third quarter to expand the lead to 14-0. Southern Utah scored but missed the extra point to make it 14-6. Nevada scored two straight touchdowns to lead 28-6 in the fourth. Southern Utah scored two late touchdowns to make it 28-19. They missed a two point conversion with less than 2 minutes to go and were unable to recover the onside kick. Nevada gave up way too many big plays including a 71 yard touchdown run, a 39 yard touchdown pass and an 85 yard interception return for a touchdown.

Nevada had 547 total yards including 303 passing yards and 244 rushing yards. Southern Utah had 380 total yards including 156 rushing yards. Each team had 2 turnovers. Nevada had 30 first downs to 16 for Southern Utah. The Thunderbirds were 3/14 on third down conversions and the Wolf Pack were 14/22.

Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo completed 30 of 41 passes for 303 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for 68 yards on 15 carries with a touchdown. Don Jackson had 22 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Jerico Richardson had 13 catches for 177 yards.

Washington State is 13-2-1 ATS after a cover, 6-1 in road games, 4-1-1 in Friday games, 4-1 in September games, 14-5 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 8-3 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 5-2 after a straight up loss, 10-4 against teams with winning records, 5-2 after allowing more than 450 total yards, and 12-5 after allowing more than 40 points.

Nevada is 6-1 ATS after failing to cover, 6-14-1 in non-conference games, 3-7-1 after passing for more than 280 yards, 2-6 against teams with losing records, 1-3-1 after allowing 20 points or less, 3-12-1 after a straight up win, 1-4 after rushing for over 200 yards and gaining more than 450 total yards.

Washington State was last in rushing nationally last season, and that looks like that trend will continue as they only had 6 rushing yards in the loss to Rutgers. Nevada had some defensive lapses last week and this should be a shootout. I like Washington State to win a tough game on the road.

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