Nebraska Cornhuskers +1½ Over 40
Arizona Wildcats -1½ Under 40
This year’s Holiday Bowl should be a classic as Bo Pelini’s No. 20 Nebraska Cornhuskers take on the Pac-10 runner up, Arizona Wildcats. The BetUS.com bookmakers have the Arizona Wildcats as -1½ point bowl favorites and the total is set at 40 points. As the pointspread is less than two points, there is no moneyline.
Arizona Wildcats finished 8-4 overall, 6-3 in the Pac-10 but only 6-6 against the spread. The offense started slow but found a lifeline when sophomore Nick Foles became the fulltime starter four games into the season. Foles passed for 2453 yards and 19 touchdowns in nine games as the starter. The Wildcats spread the ball around on the ground with two rushers, Keola Antolin and Nicholas Grigsby gaining over 550 yards this season. Arizona is solid in pass protection only yielding 11 sacks in 2009.
Arizona’s offense will need to be perfect because without a doubt Nebraska’s defense will be ready. The Cornhuskers held opponents to a stingy 11.2 points a game this year, good for second in the nation. If you don’t know the name Ndamukong Suh, you should. Suh was a Heisman Trophy runner-up and will likely go number one overall to the St. Louis Rams in the 2010 NFL Draft. At 6’4 and 310lbs, Suh is breaking the mold of what a defensive lineman can do, he’ll battle through a double-team to sack the quarterback one play and then drop back into coverage to break up a pass the next. This season he made 70 tackles and added 7½ sacks but the stat that jumps out at me is six blocked kicks in his college career.
It’s a good thing Nebraska was so dominant on defense because their offense ranked an abysmal 102nd in total yards gained. The lone bright spot for Nebraska was tailback Roy Helu, Helu rushed for 1144 yards and scored 10 TDs.
Like Nebraska, Arizona is solid against the run ranking 22nd in the nation and they will cause Cornhuskers’ quarterback Zac Lee fits, as they sacked opposing quarterbacks 34 times this season.
College Bowl Betting Trends:
- Nebraska is 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
- Nebraska is 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog.
- The under is 5-0 in Arizona’s last five games in December.
When making your Holiday Bowl Prediction you need to consider the line, I always get suspicious when I see the team that the public considers a favorite listed as an underdog. While Nebraska is only a 1½-point dog here, the public support behind the line is huge with over 60% of Holiday Bowl bettors backing the underdog Nebraska, it’s enough to make me question the line. Do the bookmakers know something the rest of us don’t? The answer to that question is yes more often than not. I’m siding with bookies this time.
Holiday Bowl Prediction: Arizona -1½