2018 Las Vegas Bowl Betting Guide: Who Has Motivational Edge in Arizona State-Fresno State?
USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Marcus McMaryion and Manny Wilkins
2018 Las Vegas Bowl Betting Odds: Arizona State-Fresno State
- Odds: Fresno State -5
- Over/Under: 52.5
- Date: Saturday, Dec. 15
- Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
- TV: ABC
>> All odds as of Thursday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time bowl odds and win probabilities on your bets.
Herm Edwards is looking to cap a surprisingly successful first year in Tempe with a bowl victory, but he’ll have to go through Fresno State.
The Bulldogs have proven themselves as a truly elite Group of 5 team after winning the Mountain West title on the road at Boise State to end the year. Fresno State ranks 33rd in our power ratings (tied for the top G5 spot) and No. 10 in S&P+. It has an excellent quarterback in Marcus McMaryion, who ranks 12th nationally in yards per pass attempt.
Since 2006, the Mountain West has sent its winner to the Las Vegas Bowl to play the Pac-12’s sixth-best team, which has created the narrative that Fresno State should care a lot more. But that hasn’t led to any motivational problems for either conference — the Mountain West is 6-6 against the spread in this game since 2005.
Will Arizona State’s talent edge and body of work against a tough schedule win out, or does Fresno deserve the credit its getting in the market? Let’s dive in.
Odds Movement for 2018 Las Vegas Bowl
By Danny Donahue
As of Wednesday afternoon, this game is on pace to see more bets than any other bowl on Saturday. Of those bets, 64% are playing the favorite, which have accounted for 68% of the money wagered. That support has brought Fresno from -3.5 to as high as -5 around the market.
Early betting action on the total brought the number down from 52.5 to 51.5, but by Tuesday, it had shot back up to 52.5, where it sits now. Fifty-five percent of bettors have taken the under and they’ve accounted for 64% of money wagered.
Key Trend: Fresno Defense Stood Tall on the Road
By Evan Abrams
One of the biggest keys to this game will be Fresno State’s defense, which has allowed just 13.7 points per game this season, tied for the second-lowest mark in the country with Clemson. This season, Fresno State has played seven games away from home and the under is 6-1 in those games, going under the total by 13.6 points per game.
When Fresno is on the road, none of its opponents have scored more than 24 points, with five of the seven scoring fewer than 20 points.
Arizona State Missing Top Target
By Steve Petrella
Arizona State will be without star receiver N’Keal Harry as he prepares for the NFL Draft. That could be a problem against Fresno State’s excellent pass defense. The Bulldogs rank 13th in passing S&P+ defense and 18th in yards per pass attempt allowed.
Mismatch: Fresno Secondary vs. ASU Passing Attack
Steve already mentioned how the loss of Harry will hurt Arizona State’s passing attack against a very stout Fresno pass defense. (His absence will also hurt in the return game).
That pain will especially be felt on third downs against a Fresno defense that ranks in the top 25 in third-down conversion rate (.33). While ASU’s offense ranked a respectable 49th on third downs (.414), Harry was by far Manny Wilkins’ favorite target when the ASU quarterback looked to extend drives.
Harry had 46 of his 73 receptions go for first downs this season. To put that into perspective, without Harry, the Sun Devils won’t have a receiver suit up who had more than 40 total catches on the season.
Sun Devils Played Tight Games
Arizona State finished 7-5, but the Sun Devils were in almost every game this season. Their five losses (at Washington, at San Diego State, Stanford, at Colorado, at Oregon) came by a combined 30 points, all within one possession, with four on the road.
By Steve Petrella
It’s insane how close Arizona State games were this season. Nine of its 12 finished by a margin of seven points or fewer. The last three games were decided by a total of six points.
The Sun Devils fared much better as an underdog, too. They were 5-2 against the spread when getting points and 2-3 as a favorite.
Who’s More Motivated?