GoDaddy Bowl Picks: Arkansas State vs. Ball State

Tuesday, December 17, 2013 4:03 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 4:03 PM UTC

Too bad there aren't betting odds available for which bowl games will attract the smallest crowds in the stands, and the fewest viewers camped in front of television sets. If there was, the GoDaddy Bowl would be my pick to take both honors.
<p><span style="font-size:1em">That's not to take anything away from the Arkansas State Red Wolves and Ball State Cardinals who meet in the contest formerly known as the Mobile Alabama Bowl and GMAC Bowl. Yet another postseason contest teleivised by ESPN, kickoff is set for a few minutes past 9 PM (ET) on January 5 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium.</span></p> <p style="text-align:center"><span style="font-size:1em"><em><span>Join <a target="_blank" title="Join SBR's NCAAF Bowl Contest at SBR Forum." href="/college-football/free-picks/sbr-forum-s-ncaaf-bowl-contest-a-35479/">SBR's NCAAF Bowl Contest </a>and make the most of this year's Bowl season.</span></em><br /></span></p> <p><st1:place style="font-size:1em"><st1:placename>Ball</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place><span style="font-size:1em"> is giving up 9 at most sports books, some sporting spreads of -8.5. The total opened at 61, but that number is now up to 63.5 on SBR's live <a target="_blank" title="Free NFL Picks &amp; Betting Odds" href="/betting-odds/college-football/">college football odds</a>.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">Several factors come together to make this first meeting between the schools a tough sell. First and foremost, neither </span><st1:placename style="font-size:1em">Arkansas</st1:placename><span style="font-size:1em"> </span><st1:placetype style="font-size:1em">State</st1:placetype><span style="font-size:1em"> nor </span><st1:place style="font-size:1em"><st1:placename>Ball</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place><span style="font-size:1em"> is a 'national brand.' The GoDaddy Bowl is also the second such contest in </span><st1:state style="font-size:1em">Alabama</st1:state><span style="font-size:1em"> that weekend, the other being the BBVA Compass Bowl up in </span><st1:city style="font-size:1em">Birmingham</st1:city><span style="font-size:1em">, so you're splitting local dollars. It's also taking place Sunday evening when most folks are preparing to send their kids back to school and themselves back to work after the holidays, not to mention most of the nation's focus that weekend will be on the first round of the NFL playoffs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size:1em">About the only reason most heterosexual males that aren't fans of either team, or don't have action on the outcome, will tune in is the chance to catch a scantily-clad Danica Patrick in a GoDaddy commercial.</span></p> <p><b>Wolves Making 3rd-Straight Appearance In <st1:place><st1:city>Mobile</st1:city></st1:place></b></p> <p>The fourth official GoDaddy Bowl has a familiar face as <st1:place><st1:placename>Arkansas</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place> makes its third consecutive appearance. The Red Wolves clipped <st1:place><st1:placename>Kent</st1:placename> <st1:placename>State</st1:placename></st1:place> last January, 17-13, as 3 point favorites in a game that never got past the halfway mark of a 63.5 point total. <st1:place>Northern Illinois</st1:place>, a slight underdog, pasted a 38-20 score on the Wolves the previous January in another game that fell short of the total.</p> <p><st1:place><st1:placename>Arkansas</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place> (7-5 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) is making this trip with its third different head coach in as many seasons. Bryan Harsin, who was in his first season at <st1:placename>Arkansas</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype>, has resigned to take the <st1:place><st1:placename>Boise</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place> job vacated by Chris Petersen's decision to go to work for the Washington Huskies. John Thompson, who served as the defensive coordinator under Harsin, has been named the ASU interim head coach for this game.</p> <p>The Red Wolves shared Sun Belt honors with UL-Lafayette this season, each with 5-2 conference marks. <st1:placename>Arkansas</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype> had a chance to win the league crown for itself, but dropped a 34-31 decision at <st1:place>Western Kentucky</st1:place> in the season finale.</p> <p><b>Cardinals' Air Show Meets Wolves' Ground Attack</b></p> <p>While <st1:place><st1:placename>Arkansas</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place> looks to generate offense on the ground (207 ypg, 29th in country), the Cardinals will be moving the chains primarily through the air. <st1:placename>Ball</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype> (10-2 SU, 8-4 ATS) averaged over 333 yards per contest via the pass, ninth in the nation and more than vaunted programs like <st1:city>Clemson</st1:city>, <st1:state>Florida</st1:state> State and <st1:state>Oregon</st1:state> produced.</p> <p>Head coach Pete Lembo's attack is directed by senior <st1:personname>Keith</st1:personname> Wenning who wraps up a fine career at <st1:place><st1:placename>Ball</st1:placename> <st1:placetype>State</st1:placetype></st1:place> with this contest. Wenning was only 67 yards shy of the 4,000-yard passing mark with a 34/6 TD-to-interception ratio to rank 12th in passing rating. It helps when you have a receiver like Willie Snead who hauled in 97 of Wenning's 296 completions, good enough for 1,429 yards and 14 scores. Jordan Williams also eclipsed the 1,000 yard receiving mark with 68 catches and 10 touchdowns.<span style="font-size:1em"> </span></p> <p>Defense was not the strength of either the Red Wolves or Cardinals during the 2013 campaign, and both teams are statistically vulnerable to the other's offensive prowess. Still, I don't see this total being reached and will offer the 'under' for my<span> </span><a target="_blank" title="Free NCAAF Picks &amp; Betting Odds" href="/college-football/">college football picks</a>.<span style="font-size:1em"> </span></p> <p><b>My pick:</b> Arkansas State-Ball State Under 63.5</p> <p> <b>Reg. Season:</b> 31-15 (+14.5)</p> <p>[gameodds]6/252333/?r3=43-19-349/dec&amp;r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]</p>
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