College Football New Mexico Bowl Betting Picks: Colorado State Rams vs Washington State Cougars

2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State Rams vs Washington State Cougars

University Stadium – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Saturday, December 21, 2013, 2:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Washington State -4 1/2
Current Line: Washington State -4 1/2
Opening Total: 66
Current Total: 65
Opening Money Line: WSU -170 / CSU +145
Current Money Line: WSU -185 / CSU +160

Washington State and Colorado state kick off the 2013 Bowl season in the New Mexico Bowl Saturday in Albuquerque.
Washington State and Colorado State kick off the 2013 bowl season in the New Mexico Bowl Saturday in Albuquerque.

The 2013-14 Bowl season kicks off Saturday in Albuquerque as the Colorado State Rams and Washington State Cougars meet in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Colorado State went 7-6 overall in the Mountain West. The Rams are making their first bowl appearance since the 2008 New Mexico Bowl where they beat Fresno State 40-35. CSU is 5-6 all time in bowl games. The 2008 win snapped a three game post season losing streak for the Rams.

Washington State went 6-6 in the Pac 12. The Cougars are 6-4 all time in bowl games, but haven’t played in a bowl game since the 2003 Holiday Bowl. WSU beat Texas 28-20 in that game. Washington State and Colorado State have never met on the gridiron before.

Colorado State is coached by Jim McElwain. The Rams have home wins over Cal Poly 34-17, UTEP 59-42, Nevada 38-17, and Air Force 58-13 to close out the regular season, along with road wins over Wyoming 52-22, Hawaii 35-28, and New Mexico 66-42. Colorado State won 3 of their last four games to become bowl eligible.  CSU has a loss to Colorado 41-27 in Denver, plus road losses to Tulsa 30-27, Alabama 31-6, and Utah State 13-0, along with home losses to San Jose State 34-27 and Boise State 42-30. The Rams are 9-4 ATS and the total is 8-3-1 this season. CSU easily covered the 17 point spread against Air Force and the game went over the 62 point total.

Colorado State is outscoring teams 35-29 this season. The Rams are #28 in scoring and #79 in points allowed out of 125 FBS teams. Colorado State is averaging 461.2 yards per game including 258.5 passing and 202.7 rushing yards. The Rams are #39 or better in all three categories. On defense, CSU is allowing 417.3 yards per game including 265.4 passing and 151.9 rushing yards per game. The Rams are #79 in total defense and #111 in pass defense nationally. CSU is +2 in turnovers with 19 takeaways. The Rams average 48 penalty yards per game and opponents average 36. Colorado State is 92/213 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 86/229. The Rams have forced 27 sacks and allowed 20 this season. CSU is 43/50 scoring in the red zone with 35 touchdowns and opponents are 34/41 with 24 touchdowns. The Rams have a punt return for a touchdown and a fumble return for a TD, but have allowed a kick return and a fumble return for touchdowns.

CSU quarterback Garrett Grayson has completed 62.2% of his passes for 3,327 yards with 21 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, along with 61 carries for 109 yards and 2 touchdowns. Running back Kapri Bibbs has 254 carries for 1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 53 yards. Chris Nwoke has 101 carries for 398 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 6 catches for 73 yards and a touchdown. Donnell Alexander has 64 carries for 397 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 18 catches for 161 yards and a touchdown. Little used running back Davon Riddick is questionable with an ankle injury.

Receiver Rashard Higgins has 64 catches for 795 yards and six touchdowns. Joe Hansley has 48 catches for 557 yards and a touchdown, along with 61 rushing yards. Hansley also has a punt return for a touchdown and threw a touchdown pass as well. Tight end Crockett Gilmore has 43 catches for 533 yards and 2 touchdowns. Kivon Cartwright has 25 catches for 411 yards and 6 touchdowns. Charles Lovett, Thomas Coffman and Jordon Vaden will also get some targets. Vaden has 2 touchdown catches. Four defensive players are listed as questionable or out for the Rams.

Washington State is coached by Mike Leach. The Cougars have  road losses at Auburn 31-24, Oregon 62-38 and Washington 27-17 to close out the regular season, along with home losses to Stanford 55-17 in Seattle, Oregon State 52-24 and Arizona State 55-21. Washington State has road wins at USC 10-7, California 44-22 and Arizona 24-17 along with home wins over Southern Utah 48-10,  Idaho 42-0 and  Utah 49-37. The Cougars are 9-3 ATS and the total is 6-5-1 this season. Washington State was a 17.5 point underdog against Washington and the game stayed under the 66 point total.

Washington State is being outscored 31-30 this season. WSU is #92 in points allowed and #60 in scoring. The Cougars are averaging 423.2 total yards per game including the nation’s 4th best passing attack at 364.5 yards per game. The rushing game is #125 out of 125 teams at 58.7 yards per game. On defense Washington State is allowing 446.6 yards per game, including 261.3 passing yards and 185.2 rushing yards per game. Washington State is #102 in total defense, #108 against the pass and #85 in rush defense. Despite forcing 27 turnovers this season, the Cougars are -4 in turnovers because they have 31 giveaways. Washington State is averaging 47 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 47. The Cougars are 85/207 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 77/202. The Cougars have forced 19 sacks and allowed 27 this season. Washington State is 36/46 scoring in the red zone with 29 touchdowns and opponents are 35/44 with 26 touchdowns. Washington State has 4 pick sixes and a fumble return for a touchdown this season and has allowed 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns.

Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday has completed 62.8% of his passes for 4,187 yards with 28 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. Back-up Austin Apodaca  has thrown for 187 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions along with 7 carries for 20 yards, all in garbage time of blowouts.

Running back Marcus Mason has 83 carries for 424 yards and 2 touchdowns along with 49 catches for 372 yards and 2 touchdowns. Teondray Caldwell has 47 carries, 257 yards and a touchdown, along with 25 catches for 132 yards. Jeremiah Laufasa has 34 carries, 155 yards and 7 rushing touchdowns, along with 9 catches.

Receiver Gabe Marks has 69 catches, 770 yards and 6 touchdowns. Dom Wiilams has 39 catches 644 yards and 7 touchdowns. Vince Mayle has 40 catches, 501 yards and 6 touchdowns. Kristoff Williams has 44 catches for 418 yards. River Cracraft, Rickey Galvin, and Bobby Ratliff all have at least 27 catches and two touchdown catches.  Twelve Cougars have at least 10 catches this season. Four defensive players are listed as questionable or out Saturday.

Colorado State is 4-0 ATS in non-conference games and after allowing 20 points or less, 5-1 after gaining 450 total yards or more, 4-1 after a straight up win of 20 points or more, 9-3 overall, 18-7-1 after rushing for 200 yards or more, 5-2 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 3-7 against Pac 12 teams, 2-5 in neutral site games, and 1-5 after scoring more than 40 points.

Washington State is 4-0 ATS after scoring 20 points or less, 3-0-1 in non-conference games, 5-1 after a straight up loss, 14-3 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 4-1 overall and on grass, 10-3 against teams with winning records, 3-1-1 against Mountain West teams, 7-3 after rushing for less than 100 yards and passing for more than 280 total yards.

This should be a high scoring game between two teams with explosive offenses and suspect defenses. The two quarterbacks should have a field day against the weak secondaries. An entertaining high scoring shootout is about the best you can hope for in a third tier bowl game. However, don’t tell Colorado State and Washington State this is a subpar game. Both teams are excited to be here after long bowl absences. I like Washington State to win on a late touchdown pass from Halliday.

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