Free 2016 Cactus Bowl Prediction: Mountaineers vs Sun Devils Odds
The Arizona State Sun Devils (6-6) and West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5) had big expectations coming into the year, but both of these teams struggled mightily and barely ended up becoming bowl eligible, which was shocking.
These two will meet in the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl at Chase Field tonight, in a game that’s expected to come down to the wire.
2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl
Arizona State Sun Devils (6-6) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (7-5)
Date: January 2nd 2016
Time: 10:15pm ET
Venue: Chase Field in Phoenix, Arizona
NCAA Football Spread: PK
NCAA Football Total: 62.5 Points
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Neither team will be happy with where they finished this season, but don’t expect either team to come out flat. This is still a big bowl game that’ll be broadcasted live across the country and both teams will want to finish the year on a high note.
How Arizona State Will Win?
The main key for the Sun Devils is to stop Wendall Smallwood and the Mountaineers rushing offense. WVU averages 235.3 RYPG (16th) and Smallwood leads the team in carries (225), rushing yards (1447) and rushing TDs (9).
Rushel Shell will likely get a few carries as well, plus QB Skyler Howard is capable of breaking off a run or two.
Arizona State allows 124.4 RYPG (20th), although they haven’t been tested too much. ASU only played one opponent that ranked inside of the T25 in rushing yards (Arizona). The Sun Devils held the Wildcats to 109 rushing yards and dominated (52-37).
How West Virginia Will Win?
The run game may struggle, but the Mountaineers will have success through the air. Arizona State allow 321.7 PYPG, which ranks them last in the nation. Howard has had some bad games, but he has also had success against weaker pass defenses.
Shelton Gibson will need to have a big performance or else WVU will stand no chance at winning.
Gibson has 33 receptions for 744 yards and 8 TDs. He has 8 of the 21 receiving TDs for the Mountaineers, plus he has big play potential. ASU will look to slow down the pass offense by sacking Howard. ASU averages 3.67 sacks per game (3rd).
NCAA Football Handicapping Trends
- Under is 17-4 in WVU last 21 games overall.
- Under is 9-3 in WVU last 12 non-conference games.
- Over is 7-3 in WVU last 10 Bowl games.
- Over is 6-2 in ASU last 8 neutral site games.
Sun Devils vs. Mountaineers Predictions
- West Virginia Mountaineers PK
This game will come down to the wire and either team could end up winning the Cactus Bowl tonight, but my money is going to be on WVU. Dana Holgorsen will return next season and I expect his team to rally behind him in this match-up.
Four of the Mountaineers five losses have come against ranked opponents. They have dominated most of the unranked opponents they’ve played this season and while they won’t win by much, WVU will come out on top against the Sun Devils.
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