Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Odds & Picks: Tulane vs. Nevada (Tuesday, Dec. 22)
Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images. Pictured: Keon Howard (9).
- The Smurf Turf will be crowded for a special bowl game on Tuesday as the Tulane Green Wave battle the Nevada Wolf Pack in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
- The Green Wave have covered in six of their last seven games, while the Wolf Pack are only 1-3 against the spread away from home.
- Collin Wilson breaks down the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and shares a betting pick for the game below.
Tulane vs. Nevada Odds
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl returns to a familiar time slot as a pre-Christmas game after a Jan. 3 event to start 2020.
The last three MVPs have been some of the best quarterbacks in college football with Nathan Rourke, Zach Wilson and Josh Allen all taking home the honor.
Boise State and Utah State have the most appearances all-time at four, but Nevada will soon join that list.
The Wolf Pack finished 5-3 against the spread on the season, struggling away from home with a 1-3 mark against the number with all four games going under the total. Tulane finished 7-4 against the spread, covering six of its past seven games heading into Boise.
Tulane Green Wave
Not many teams have run as hot as Tulane over the final stretch of the season. The Green Wave covered 6-of-7, with the lone non-cover coming in one of the wilder games of the season against Tulsa.
The Tulane defense has been good enough to make noise in the AAC. Ranking top-35 in Defensive Success Rate, an Achilles’ heel for the Green Wave is defending pass explosiveness, as they own a rank of 124th. A Sack Rate of 22nd contributes to a defensive Havoc rank of 26th, but with the announcement of the two-deep starting lineup those numbers may not matter.
So here's the two deep for Tulane vs. Nevada in the @IDPotatoBowl. Missing for Tulane:
– AAC first team DE Cam Sample
– AAC first team Joker/LB Patrick Johnson
– DT Deandre Williams
– RB Amare Jones (Transfer) pic.twitter.com/lYentGVaik
— Fear the Wave (@FearTheWaveBlog) December 21, 2020
The offense has had plenty of success in rushing the ball, but the passing attack has not been a factor. One reason for issues in passing downs is the Sack Rate rank of 108th. Still, the rushing defense sits top-20 in Line Tards and can dominate any Group of Five team looking to run the ball.
Nevada Wolf Pack
Starting the season with five straight victories put Nevada on track to compete for the Mountain West title, but a loss in two of its final three against Hawaii and San Jose State ended that goal.
The Wolf Pack held a lead over the Spartans deep into the third quarter before consecutive punts and a fumble decided the game. Carson Strong finished the season as one of the best in the nation, ranking sixth among all quarterbacks in adjusted completion percentage.
85 yards… oh my. 😳
— Nevada Football (@NevadaFootball) December 6, 2020
Defensive lineman Dom Peterson returns to the defense, ranking second on the team in quarterback hurries and defensive stops. Nevada has been one of the most improved defenses in the Mountain West, ranking 12th in tacking and 21st against rush explosiveness. Do not look for the Wolf Pack to cause chaos, as they rank outside the top 100 in both defensive Havoc and Sack Rate.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Both teams have contrasting styles on how to move the ball, with Tulane playing a ground-based game at a 62% run ratio. That works for a Willie Fritz offense that is in the top 20 in Finishing Drives. The Green Wave have flexed muscle in the trench and been victorious at various points this season, but two new coordinators will assist in the play calls.
Offensive coordinator Will Hall has moved on as the new Southern Miss head coach, while Chris Hampton returns to the Tulane program as defensive coordinator after spending this season at Duke. New offensive coordinator Chip Long has a successful history at Notre Dame and spent this last season as an analyst, but has spend the past two weeks preparing for Nevada.
Nevada vs. Tulane Matchup Matrix
Nevada has a poor rank of 78th in offensive Finishing Drives, trumped by the Tulane defense at 44th. The Green Wave losses cannot be understated, as Chris Sample, Patrick Johnson and De’Andre Williams are three fo the top four leaders in quarterback hurries with 54 total on the season.
Taking away Tulane’s heavy advantage in sack rate should lead to extended plays for Strong in the passing game. The Green Wave secondary will be ripe for the picking, as the market moved on the total with the announcement of the defensive replacements. A first half Over total is warranted until Fritz makes halftime adjustments against the Wolfpack offense. Look for the Nevada steam and coordinator news to knock Tulane down, but a Green Wave and 1st Half over are the most logical bets of the game.
Pick: First Half Over 28.5 | Tulane -2.5