College Football Odds & Picks for Nevada vs. San Jose State: Value On Wolf Pack In Mountain West Battle
Darryl Oumi/Getty Images. Pictured: Nevada quarterback Carson Strong.
- The San Jose State Spartans will "host" Nevada in a Mountain West battle in the Wolf Pack's home state.
- COVID-19 has forced the Spartans to move from California just as it did against Hawaii last week, but this one could positively impact Nevada.
- Mike Ianniello breaks down the game and shares a betting pick below.
Nevada vs. San Jose State Odds
|Nevada Odds||+2.5 [BET NOW]|
|San Jose State Odds||-2.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+104/-125 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||59 [BET NOW]|
|Time||Friday, 10 p.m. ET|
|TV||CBS Sports Network|
The San Jose State Spartans host the Nevada Wolf Pack on Friday at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
Due to Santa Clara (Calif.) County's COVID-19 restrictions, San Jose State is not able to host any games at home, so the Mountain West Conference moved the game to UNLV's old stadium.
In sneakily one of the best games of the weekend, San Jose State (5-0) and Nevada (6-1) battle in a game that will allow the winner to likely face Boise State in the MWC championship game.
Neither team has ever played for a conference championship before.
Both programs are having their best seasons since the formation of the Mountain West, which has us set up for a thrilling matchup.
Nevada Wolf Pack
This Nevada team is led by its big-play passing attack and sophomore quarterback Carson Strong. In his second year as the Wolf Pack's starter, Strong has picked up right where he left off last season.
Strong leads the Mountain West in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns this season. His 21 touchdowns are 10 more than the next closest quarterback in the conference. The key for the young quarterback has been his ability to control his rocket of an arm, throwing just four interceptions.
Helping Strong lead this high-powered offense has been a talented wide receiver room. Receiver Romeo Doubs leads the Mountain West in receptions (44), receiving yards (126.4 per game) and touchdowns (nine). He is second in the conference in yards per catch (20.1), only falling behind his teammate, speedy freshman Tory Horton.
50-yard bomb from Carson Strong to Romeo Doubs 🎯
Nevada (+103) takes a 23-21 lead over SDSUpic.twitter.com/UgAqsLHBVc
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) November 21, 2020
The Wolf Pack also utilize 6-foot-6 tight end Cole Turner extremely well. His 40 catches and six touchdowns are the most among tight ends in the conference.
The San Jose State defense will likely get more attention in this one, but the Wolf Pack defense has been really solid as well, and it's actually better than the Spartans in terms of Success Rate.
Nevada ranks 33rd in the country in defensive Success Rate. The Wolf Pack did struggle last week against Fresno State, allowing 599 total yards. But it was the first time they had allowed over 365 yards all season.
The Bulldogs racked up 485 yards passing in the game, something Nevada shouldn't have to worry about as much with San Jose State, which has found more success on the ground as of late.
San Jose State Spartans
San Jose State started the year throwing the ball all over the place with quarterback Nick Starkel. The former Arkansas quarterback threw for 467 yards and five touchdowns against New Mexico on Oct. 31.
Well, ever since then, the Spartans have leaned more on their running game and found success doing so. Last week against Hawaii, San Jose State managed just 180 yards through the air but rumbled for 293 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. The Spartans have averaged more than six yards per carry in each of their last two games.
Tyler Nevens and Kairee Robinson have shared the load for the Spartans this season, and they will need to pound it early to establish the run against the Nevada defense in order to open up the defense for Starkel.
Starkel has done a great job in the San Jose offense this year, but he needs to protect the football a little better. He has thrown an interception in three of his four full games this season.
The Spartans' defense has been terrific this year. They rank 30th in total defense, 35th in Defensive Success Rate, and 12th in scoring defense, surrendering just 17 points per game.
San Jose State returned eight of its top 11 tacklers from last season and has been especially good against the run, allowing just 3.2 yards per carry on the ground. It held Air Force and its triple option to 206 yards rushing and hasn't allowed more than 150 yards rushing since. They are one of the best tackling teams in college football.
Where the Spartans are the most vulnerable is against the pass. They rank 44th in passing defense despite playing relatively weak passing attacks. Strong and the Wolf Pack passing attack will be their toughest test of the season.
Betting Analysis & Pick
On paper, these two teams are so similar to each other. Nevada averages 31.3 points per game and allows 21.9 points on defense. San Jose State averages 30.4 points per game on offense and allows 17.0.
Nevada averages just 22.9 more yards per game on offense than SJSU and allows just 13.9 more yards per game on defense.
These teams rank 69th and 66th in Offensive Success Rate, respectively, and 33rd and 35th in Defensive Success Rate.
When you have two teams that are this close on paper, it comes down to a couple of little things.
Strong will be the best player on the field. The Nevada quarterback has been the best signal-caller in the conference and leads the eighth-most explosive offense in the country. He protects the football and will be able to make plays against the San Jose secondary.
A huge concern for San Jose State is all the uncertainty it has dealt with catching up. The Spartans have had to relocate for two consecutive home games due to COVID-19 restrictions in Santa Clara County. Last week, they had to move their "home game" out to Hawaii and will now play a "home game" in Nevada. At some point, that chaos is going to have an adverse effect.
Given everything going on with San Jose State, the best bet is to take the points with Nevada. The Wolf Pack can easily win this game, so I like the value with them getting a field goal.
Pick: Nevada +3.5 (down to +2).