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Western Michigan vs. Nevada Odds, Picks: How to Live Bet Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl

Western Michigan vs. Nevada Odds, Picks: How to Live Bet Monday’s Quick Lane Bowl article feature image

Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images and Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Western Michigan Broncos linebacker Zaire Barnes (3) and Nevada Wolf Pack running back Toa Taua (35).

Western Michigan vs. Nevada Odds

Monday, December 27
11 a.m. ET
Western Michigan Odds
-110o / -110u
Nevada Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Quick Lane Bowl
Monday, Dec. 27 · Detroit, MI

I have loved and I have lost. I have had hope and I have been crushed. Riding the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

No, I’m not talking about my ex-girlfriends. I’m talking about bowl season. And now it’s time for Western Michigan vs. Nevada in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Bowl season is always a wonderful time of the year as we are distracted from the fact that it’s slowly coming to an end. For anyone who says there are too many bowls, you are the worst and I hope you stub your toe.

If you’re like me, you have been consuming as much football as possible. If you’re even more like me, you’ve been scrambling to keep up with COVID-19 news, transfers, and coaching changes while finding value to fire off some bets.

This game has been no different, as we’ve seen a plethora of coaching changes and transfers leading up to it. With so many changes that have caused a massive swing in the spread, let’s take a deep dive into this one and see which side comes out on top.

Western Michigan Broncos

Western Michigan Offense

Western Michigan will be coming into this one fielding pretty much the same team that finished with a 7-5 record. With consistency being more important than ever come bowl season, this will be a high-powered offense looking to pick up a second bowl win in school history.

With Nevada giving up nearly 400 yards per game and ranking near dead last in defending the run, WMU will look to gash it on the ground with its terrific rushing metrics.

Ranking top-20 in both Rush Success and Line Yards, WMU’s stud running back, Sean Tyler, will look to end the season on a high note. He’s run for 1,004 yards and nine touchdowns at a 6.1 yards per carry average — a man possessed.

Even if Nevada somehow musters up the ability to limit the run, it will find it difficult to focus on both aspects of offense, as Western is one of the more complete units in college football.

The Broncos rank top-30 in both Pass Success and pass blocking, and quarterback Kaleb Eleby has been the catalyst. Eleby has shredded opposing offenses to the tune of 3,115 yards, 21 touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Eleby will look to mix it up once again and connect with his No. 1 target in Skyy Moore. Moore ended the season with 1,256 yards and 10 touchdowns, top numbers in both categories for the team.

Western Michigan Defense and Special Teams

I was a lot more worried about the success of the defense if Nevada quarterback Carson Strong was playing. With Strong out, WMU should comfortably limit the Wolf Pack offense.

Nevada will look to go heavier on the rush without its star quarterback — especially with Nevada running back coach Vai Taua now taking over as the interim head coach.

With defensive metrics of 63rd in Def. Rush Success and 29th in Def. Line Yards, Western will be equipped to force early outs.

The real cause of concern is limiting the big play and its performance on special teams. Both areas have been the Achilles’ heel to the Broncos. WMU ranks 111th in defending big plays, 130th in special teams, and 116th in PFF tackling.

If the defense comes in sharp and focused, then WMU should cruise to a victory. If we see it slip as we have at times this season, then it will keep Nevada in this game until the clock strikes zero.

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Nevada Wolf Pack

Nevada Offense

With star quarterback Strong building a strong case with his NFL Draft stock (pun intended) and head coach Jay Norvell leaving for Colorado State, this is not the same Wolf Pack team coming into the Quick Lane Bowl.

A sad case indeed, but that’s the reality of today’s bowl game mentality. Whether you agree or disagree with player opt-outs, we still need to find a way to cap this game and bring home a winner.

Before Strong opted out, this was a top-five unit in Pass Success. With Strong no longer leading the charge, Nevada will look to run more, which may cause some headaches.

If Nevada does turn more toward the run game — the team ranks 128th in rush rate — then it will need to rely on explosive plays. Ranking 108th in Rush Success and 106th in Line Yards, this is not a unit capable of relying on success in the ground game for four quarters.

The opportunity is there to find success on the ground if they can bust out big play after big play. WMU ranks near dead last in rush explosiveness allowed and defending the big play.

If the Broncos can’t tackle and keep the play in front of them, Nevada will be able to stay within the number.

Nevada Defense

Speaking of the run game, Nevada better be prepared to stop the Western Michigan rush, or else it may be getting run through all game. While WMU is top-20 in rushing metrics, Nevada is 113th in Def. Rush Success and 115th in Def. Line Yards.

Worse yet, the pass defense isn’t ideal, either, with below-average ranks in both Def. Pass Success and pass rush.

Western is one of the more versatile offenses in football, posing a huge challenge to the Wolf Pack defense. With the Broncos being able to change it up and attack opponents through the air or on the ground, Nevada’s 63rd-ranked PFF tackling grade will be key in keeping everything in front of the defense.

But not all hope is lost, as Nevada does excel at keeping opposing offenses out of the end zone when they get past the 40, ranking 39th in Def. Finishing Drives.

Western Michigan vs. Nevada Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Western Michigan and Nevada match up statistically:

Western Michigan Offense vs. Nevada Defense
Rush Success17113
Line Yards14115
Pass Success2872
Pass Blocking**3078
Big Play3121
Finishing Drives5639
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Nevada Offense vs. Western Michigan Defense
Rush Success10863
Line Yards10629
Pass Success510
Pass Blocking**1086
Big Play12111
Finishing Drives6045
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling11663
Middle 85320
SP+ Special Teams13066
Plays per Minute10823
Rush Rate60.2% (29)35.8% (128)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Western Michigan vs. Nevada Betting Pick

It’s never easy to wager actual dollars on bowl season with uncertainty in who’s playing, COVID-19 news. But this does create some value if you can get a sense of where the number may go.

I grabbed Western Michigan early pre-Strong news at +3.5. Now, the Broncos are as high as -7.

With Strong, Nevada’s offense would be able to keep pace with the high-powered Western Michigan offense. Without him, the Wolf Pack may be a shell of their former selves.

The success of Nevada will come down to if it can take advantage of WMU’s poor big-play defense, as it needs to rely on big runs. Western is also horrific at special teams, presenting more opportunities for Nevada to capitalize as well.

I just don’t think that’s enough for me to back Nevada.

If you were unable to get Western Michigan early, then I would take this at -3 or better live. With so much uncertainty in Nevada’s offense, it will be safer to watch a couple of drives to see how much success it finds under a new regime.

I will also look to add a live over if Western Michigan starts out slow, knowing the offense can score at will and that its special teams coverage can gift Nevada a score or two.

Pick: Live Bet Western Michigan -3 or better

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