• Paul Compton

Cactus Bowl: Arizona State vs West Virginia

West Virginia has been kind of an undervalued team this season, in my opinion, mostly because of some bad losses versus the better Big 12 conference-mates they had to play on the road this year. Then, in their final game at KSU they lost again, in spite of a statistically superior game. That sets up some value on the Mountaineers in this game. I recommended a play on them at +2.5 and the line is mostly down to a pick now. Both teams run a pretty up-tempo offense, especially WVU, but I don't think either team will have above average success offensively in this game. WVU's defense is actually pretty good, ranked 12th, versus their 39th ranked offense, while ASU's offense and defense rank pretty near each other at 49th and 46th. The only statistical match up advantage for either team will be for WVU's passing game versus ASU's 103rd ranked pass defense. ASU's blitz happy defense either sacks the QB or gives up big plays. As such it has made for a slightly inefficient defense, giving up an average of 33.7 points per game versus an FBS average of 32.0 ppg based on the yards allowed. WVU's defense allows 3.4 points less per game based on yards to point averages, by comparison. My only concern with backing WVU in this game is the in-season passing trends for both teams. WVU finished on a downward trend, with 5 "worst" games in their final 8, versus only 1 "best." ASU's passing game was really average for most of the season but finished with three really good games. If those trends hold ASU can win this game. Shoot, maybe I'll buy off my WVU play after all, lol.

Recommended Investment: WVU +2.5 (-105) 1%